Science fiction film Avatar and war movie The Hurt Locker lead the way at this years Academy Award with nine nominations each. The battle will see Avatars James Cameron go head-to-head with his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, who made The Hurt Locker, in the best director category. Other films featured in the best film category include Up in the Air, The Blind Side, Precious and District 9. British nominees include Colin Firth, Dame Helen Mirren and Carey Mulligan. For the first time since 1944, the Oscars feature 10 best-picture contenders instead of the usual five. The list also included animated movie Up, A Serious Man, Inglourious Basterds and An Education. Firth is up for his first Oscar for his role as a gay academic mourning the death of his partner in fashion designer Tom Fords debut feature film A Single Man. BBC The star will go up against George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman and Jeremy Renner. BBC List of nominees HOLLYWOOD, California (AFP) - Nominees in selected major categories for the 82nd annual Academy Awards announced here Tuesday: 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 Actor in a Leading Role Jeff Bridges Crazy Heart George Clooney Up in the Air Colin Firth A Single Man Morgan Freeman Invictus Renner The Hurt Locker Best Actress in a Leading Role: Meryl Streep Julie & Julia Sandra Bullock The Blind Side Carey Mulligan An Education Helen Mirren The Last Station Gabby Sidibe Precious Best Actor in a Supporting Role Waltz Inglourious Basterds Woody The Messenger Christopher The Last Station Matt Damon Invictus Stanley Tucci The Lovely Bones Best Actress in a Supporting Role Penelope Cruz Nine MoNique Precious Anna Kendrick Up in the Air Vera Farmiga Up in the Air Maggie Gyllenhaal Crazy Heart Best Director Bigelow The Hurt Locker James Cameron Avatar Tarantino Inglourious Basterds Jason Reitman Up in the Air Lee Daniels Precious Best Foreign-Language Film Ajami Israel El Secreto de Sus Ojos Argentina The Milk of Sorrow Peru Un Prophete France The White Ribbon Germany Best Animated Feature Film Coraline Up Fantastic Mr Fox The Princess and the Frog The Secret of Kells