And the Oscar rival is - my ex-wife

Avatar and the Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker lead the field in this year's Oscars race, pitting James Cameron against his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow.

The science fiction epic Avatar and the Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker lead the field in this year's Oscars race, pitting James Cameron against his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. Both films earned nine Academy Award nominations - including best picture. The former couple will also go head-to-head in the best director category. The list of nominees was announced yesterday in Los Angeles. For the first time since 1943, 10 films were named as contenders for best picture instead of the usual five.

Also in the running are The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, A Serious Man, Up and Up In The Air. Simon Hunter, the president of the New York Film Academy Abu Dhabi, said: "In the past few years, the Academy Awards have been criticised for not being populist enough and choosing films that had not been terribly successful at finding audiences. With Avatar doing really well this year, this is obviously a bit of a departure."

Front runners for the best actor award are likely to be Jeff Bridges, for his portrayal of an alcoholic singer in Crazy Heart, and Colin Firth as an academic mourning the death of his partner in A Single Man. They will go up against George Clooney (Up In The Air), Morgan Freeman (Invictus) and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker). In the best actress category, newcomers Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe picked up their first nominations for An Education and Precious, respectively. Sandra Bullock received her first nod for The Blind Side. They will battle it out with the Academy Award veterans Dame Helen Mirren (The Last Station) and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia). The 82nd Annual Academy Awards will be presented on March 7.

Best Picture "The Hurt Locker" "Avatar" "The Blind Side" "District 9" "An Education" "Inglourious Basterds" "Up in the Air" "Precious" "A Serious Man" "Up" Best Director Kathryn Bigelow -- "The Hurt Locker" James Cameron -- "Avatar" Quentin Tarantino -- "Inglourious Basterds" Jason Reitman -- "Up in the Air" Lee Daniels -- "Precious" Best Actor Jeff Bridges -- "Crazy Heart" George Clooney -- "Up in the Air" Colin Firth -- "A Single Man" Morgan Freeman -- "Invictus" Jeremy Renner -- "The Hurt Locker" Best Actress Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side"; Helen Mirren, "The Last Station" Carey Mulligan, "An Education" Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' By Sapphire" Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia". Best Supporting Actor Matt Damon, "Invictus" Woody Harrelson, "The Messenger" Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station" Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones" Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds" Best Supporting Actress Penelope Cruz, "Nine" Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air" Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Crazy Heart" Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air" Mo'Nique, "Precious" Original Screenplay Mark Boal, "The Hurt Locker" Quentin Tarantino, "Inglourious Basterds" Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman, "The Messenger" Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "A Serious Man" Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Tom McCarthy, "Up" Adapted Screenplay Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, "District 9" Nick Hornby, "An Education" Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, "In the Loop" Geoffrey Fletcher, "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, "Up in the Air" Best Animated Feature "Coraline" "Fantastic Mr. Fox" "The Princess and the Frog" "The Secret of Kells" "Up" Foreign Language Film "Ajami", Israel; "El Secreto de Sus Ojos", Argentina "The Milk of Sorrow", Peru "Un Prophete", France; "The White Ribbon", Germany Art Direction "Avatar" "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," "Nine" "Sherlock Holmes" "The Young Victoria" Cinematography "Avatar" "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" "The Hurt Locker" "Inglourious Basterds" "The White Ribbon" Sound Mixing "Avatar" "The Hurt Locker" "Inglourious Basterds" "Star Trek" "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" Sound Editing "Avatar" "The Hurt Locker" "Inglourious Basterds" "Star Trek" "Up" Original Score "Avatar", James Horner "Fantastic Mr. Fox", Alexandre Desplat "The Hurt Locker", Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders "Sherlock Holmes", Hans Zimmer "Up" Michael Giacchino. Original Song "Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog", Randy Newman "Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog", Randy Newman "Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36", Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas "Take It All" from "Nine", Maury Yeston "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart", Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett. Costume "Bright Star" "Coco Before Chanel" "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" "Nine" "The Young Victoria" Documentary Feature "Burma VJ" "The Cove" "Food, Inc." "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers" "Which Way Home" Documentary (short subject) "China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province", "The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner" "The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant" "Music by Prudence" "Rabbit a la Berlin" Film Editing "Avatar" "District 9" "The Hurt Locker" "Inglourious Basterds" "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" Makeup "Il Divo" "Star Trek" "The Young Victoria" Animated Short Film "French Roast" "Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty" "The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)" "Logorama" "A Matter of Loaf and Death" Live Action Short Film "The Door" "Instead of Abracadabra" "Kavi" "Miracle Fish, "The New Tenants" Visual Effects "Avatar" "District 9" "Star Trek"