Oscar is being unusually generous to movies and moviemakers with Austin ties this year. Sandra Bullock, University of Texas alumnus Wes Anderson and former Austin musician Ryan Bingham were each nominated for a golden statuette Tuesday.
Bullock is up for best actress for her feisty mother in the sports melodrama "The Blind Side," a role that won her a Golden Globe Award last month. The movie is also nominated for best picture, a surprise even considering that the best picture category was opened from five to 10 nominees this year. "The Blind Side" was directed by Longview native John Lee Hancock.
Anderson's "Fantastic Mr. Fox," a stop-motion adaptation of the Roald Dahl children's book, was nominated for best animated feature film. Anderson, a Houston native, earned a degree in philosophy at UT in 1990.
Bingham is co-nominated with T Bone Burnett for best original song, "The Weary Kind," which is the theme song for "Crazy Heart." The song won a Golden Globe last month. In "Crazy Heart," Jeff Bridges plays a hard-drinking, past-his-prime country music legend. Bridges has said his performance, down to the necklace his character wears, was inspired by iconic late Austin musician Stephen Bruton.
Bridges, who won a Golden Globe award for his "Crazy Heart" performance, is also nominated for the best actor Oscar. He's playing Marshal Rooster Cogburn in the Coen brothers' remake of the 1969 western "True Grit," which films this spring in the Austin area.
Several Oscar nominees made their local premieres at Austin film festivals last year. The Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker," up for nine Academy Awards, including best picture, played South by Southwest in March. The Coen brothers' "A Serious Man," also nominated for best picture, showed at Fantastic Fest in September. And best picture nominees "Precious," "Up in the Air" and "An Education" screened at the Austin Film Festival in October.
"The Messenger" also premiered at the Austin Film Festival. Its co-star Woody Harrelson, a Midland native, is nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar.