Modesto’s Jeremy Renner, who played a starring role in the critically acclaimed movie “The Hurt Locker,” was nominated for an Oscar Award for best actor.
The movie was nominated for a total of nine Oscars, including best picture, best original screenplay and Kathryn Bigelow was nominated for best director.
The Oscar nominations went out this morning at 5:30.
Renner, the 39-year-old Beyer High graduate, won the nomination for his portrayal of Staff Sgt. William James, an explosives technician.
"To get the best actor along with four actors who have inspired me throughout my career, and as men they are the definiton of class, is just a wonderful thing," he told The Bee this morning. "No matter what happens, it’s something I’ll take with me to my grave and know that this is something they can never take away from me.”
Also up for best actor are Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart"); George Clooney ("Up in the Air"); Colin Firth ("A Single Man"); and Morgan Freeman ("Invictus").
His nomination was met with an explosion of cheers in Modesto, where his mom, Valerie Cearley, his dad, Lee Renner, and sister Kym Vieira, watched together with eager anticipation.
Renner said he plans to take Cearley as his Oscar date at the Los Angeles ceremonies on March 7. She joked that she will have to go to the gym every day before then.
Renner called the experience: “Nerve wracking, tremendous and unbelievable.”
The family celebrated by eating waffles and eggs together. Their breakfast was interrupted every few minutes by calls from friends offering congratulations and TV stations asking for interviews.
Renner was on NBC’s “Today” show this morning with Bigelow and co-star Anthony Mackie.
“It’s awesome,” he told the NBC audience. “Really, really awesome.”
When "Today" co-host Matt Lauer asked him to size up his competition, Renner quipped: “I have to break some serious legs. What’s wrong with this picture?”
The cast, along with Lauer and co-host Meredith Vieira, broke into laughter.
Bridges beat out Renner for lead actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Critics Choice Awards.
"The Hurt Locker" and the science-fiction sensation “Avatar” lead the Academy Awards with nine nominations each. "Avatar" also is up for best picture and director for James Cameron, Bigelow's ex-husband.
"The Hurt Locker" also was nominated for best cinematography, sound mixing, sound editing, original score and film editing.
For the first time the Oscars feature 10 best-picture contenders instead of the usual five.
Also nominated for best-picture Tuesday: “District 9”; the animated comedy “Up”; the World War II saga “Inglourious Basterds”; the football drama “The Blind Side”; the recession tale “Up in The Air,” the 1960s drama “A Serious Man,” and the teen tales “An Education,” and “Precious.”
Acting nominees include Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side,” Mo’Nique for “Precious” and Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds.”
Oscar nominees are chosen in most categories by specific branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, such as actors, directors and writers. The academy’s full membership of about 5,800 was eligible to vote for best-picture nominations and can cast ballots for the winners in all categories at the Oscar ceremony itself.