Morgan Freeman knows this isn’t his defining role. Mention the five-time Oscar nominee – he won once, for his supporting turn in 2004’s Million Dollar Baby – and most people are reminded of the 1994 prison drama The Shawshank Redemption, or maybe Driving Miss Daisy (1989), the role that elevated him from respected character actor to household name.
Nominations for the 82nd annual Academy Awards were announced this morning at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, and though there were few surprises in the major categories – one notable exception being The Blind Side, a surprise contender for Best Picture in this year's expanded category – the races should be tighter and less predictable than in years past. The following is a list of the nominees, with the presumed favorite denoted by an asterisk. Conventional wisdom can change in a hurry, though – just ask Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee, whose movie was erroneously considered a shoo-in for the top prize that went to Crash in 2006 – before the ceremony's official telecast on Sunday, March 7.
Invictus takes its title from a poem by Britain’s William Ernest Henley, first published in 1875, that Nelson Mandela recited while imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of his 27 years in captivity. It is Latin for “unconquered,” an apt summation of Clint Eastwood’s workmanlike drama about the power of sport to promote unity in post-apartheid South Africa.