'Benjamin Button' Leads Oscar Race With 13 Nods

Brad Pitt (computer aged) as Benjamin Button i i

Brad Pitt ages backward — and gracefully, the Oscar nominators seem to think — in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The film took 13 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor. hide caption

itoggle caption
Brad Pitt (computer aged) as Benjamin Button

Brad Pitt ages backward — and gracefully, the Oscar nominators seem to think — in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The film took 13 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

More Oscar Talk

Web Chat: Early Thursday, Bob Mondello dropped in on the Monkey See blog to talk Oscar. Check out the conversation — and weigh in.

Talk of the Nation: Neal Conan debriefed Monkey See blogger Linda Holmes about today's nominations.

Dev Patel and Freida Pinto in "Slumdog Millionaire" i i

Slumdog Millionaire, a romantic melodrama set in Mumbai, claimed 10 nominations. Ishika Mohan/Fox Searchlight hide caption

itoggle caption Ishika Mohan/Fox Searchlight
Dev Patel and Freida Pinto in "Slumdog Millionaire"

Slumdog Millionaire, a romantic melodrama set in Mumbai, claimed 10 nominations.

Ishika Mohan/Fox Searchlight

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button leads the 2009 Oscar pack with 13 nominations, including nods for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

The other Best Picture nominees: Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire.

Slumdog, the rags-to-riches romance about a Mumbai orphan, claimed 10 nominations.

Left out in the cold: the latest Batman epic, The Dark Knight, and Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino. Partisans of both films had hoped to find them listed among the Best Picture nominees.

The surprise that did make the list: The Reader, a Holocaust drama starring Kate Winslet. It ended up in the No. 5 spot that many had thought could go to The Dark Knight.

The late Heath Ledger did earn a Best Supporting Actor nomination, as widely expected, for his indelible turn as The Joker in The Dark Knight. But the movie was shut out in the other high-profile slots, taking home chiefly technical nominations in such categories as cinematography, visual effects and editing.

Winslet's Best Actress nomination came for The Reader — another surprise, at least to those who had expected her to get the nod for Revolutionary Road.

There were two joyful surprises for indie-film connoisseurs: Melissa Leo earned a Best Actress nomination for her beleaguered, immigrant-smuggling mother in the fiercely unsentimental drama Frozen River, while Richard Jenkins — who drew near-universal raves for his performance as a woebegone widower in the immigration-themed indie film The Visitor — picked up the Best Actor nomination many had said he deserved. He joined shoo-ins Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Sean Penn (Milk) and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) alongside Benjamin Button's Brad Pitt in that category.

Morning Edition co-host Renee Montagne talks to film critic Kenneth Turan about the morning's surprises — and its disappointments.

The complete list of nominees for the 81st Academy Awards was announced at 8:30 a.m. ET. Actor Forrest Whitaker joined the head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to unveil the list.

The 81st Academy Awards Winners and Nominees

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Slumdog Millionaire led the trophy tally at the 81st Academy Awards with eight wins, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography. Read the list of Oscar winners (in ALL CAPS) and nominees.

Best Picture: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

Actor: Richard Jenkins, The Visitor; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon; SEAN PENN, MILK; Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler.

Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married; Angelina Jolie, Changeling; Melissa Leo, Frozen River; Meryl Streep, Doubt; KATE WINSLET, THE READER.

Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk; Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt; HEATH LEDGER, THE DARK KNIGHT; Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road.

Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Doubt; PENELOPE CRUZ, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA; Viola Davis, Doubt; Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler.

Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon; Gus Van Sant, Milk; Stephen Daldry, The Reader; DANNY BOYLE, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

Foreign Film: The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany; The Class, France; DEPARTURES, JAPAN; Revanche, Austria; Waltz With Bashir, Israel.

Adapted Screenplay: Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; John Patrick Shanley, Doubt; Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon; David Hare, The Reader; SIMON BEAUFOY, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

Original Screenplay: Courtney Hunt, Frozen River; Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky; Martin McDonagh, In Bruges; DUSTIN LANCE BLACK, MILK; Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, WALL-E.

Animated Feature Film: Bolt, Kung Fu Panda, WALL-E.

Art Direction: Changeling, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, The Dark Knight, The Duchess, Revolutionary Road.

Cinematography: Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, The Reader, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

Sound Mixing: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, WALL-E, Wanted.

Sound Editing: Iron Man, THE DARK KNIGHT, Slumdog Millionaire, WALL-E, Wanted.

Original Score: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat; Defiance, James Newton Howard; Milk, Danny Elfman; SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, A.R. RAHMAN; WALL-E, Thomas Newman.

Original Song: "Down to Earth" from WALL-E, Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman; "JAI HO" from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, A.R. RAHMAN and GULZAR; "O Sava" from Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam.

Costume: Australia, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, THE DUCHESS, Milk, Revolutionary Road.

Documentary Feature: The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), Encounters at the End of the World, The Garden, MAN ON WIRE, Trouble the Water.

Documentary (short subject): The Conscience of Nhem En, The Final Inch, SMILE PINKI, The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306.

Film Editing: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Frost/Nixon, Milk, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

Makeup: THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Animated Short Film: LA MAISON EN PETITS CUBES, Lavatory — Lovestory, Oktapodi, Presto, This Way Up.

Live Action Short Film: Auf der Strecke (On the Line), Manon on the Asphalt, New Boy, The Pig, SPIELZEUGLAND (TOYLAND).

Visual Effects: The Dark Knight, THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, Iron Man.

Academy Award winner previously announced this year: Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (Oscar statuette): Jerry Lewis

From The Associated Press

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