Oscar nominations include both surprises and snubs

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations early Tuesday morning, which included both surprises and snubs in their picks.

The Academy’s rule that anywhere from five to ten films could be nominated for Best Picture marks this year the first time in the history of the Oscars that nine films have been nominated for the category.

The biggest surprise came in the form of a nomination for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which drew a gasp from the audience when the film was announced. The film has been overlooked in previous awards shows and the Academy’s decision to honor the film shows them once again playing it safe with their choices. The film is one of the lowest reviewed films in recent years to have secured a Best Picture nomination. The Tree of Life also secured a surprising nomination, providing some relief for fans who were afraid the poetic film would be snubbed.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, instead, was left off the Best Picture category, despite picking up PGA, DGA and WGA nominations. The film undoubtedly scared off old-fashioned Academy voters and failed to match any of these nominations, and instead picked up a surprising and deserving nomination for Rooney Mara.

In the category of Best Actor, George Clooney, Jean Dujardin and Brad Pitt all picked up their expected nominations. Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Fassbender, who were considered safe bets, were left out of the race. Gary Oldman, instead, received his first Oscar nomination for his performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, while Demián Bichir picked up a nomination for his little seen independent film, A Better Life.

Terrence Malick worked miracles with a nomination for Best Director over other hopefuls such as David Fincher, Tate Taylor and Steven Spielberg. The filmmaker was nominated alongside expected nominees Michel Hazanavicius, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen.

The 84th Annual Academy Awards will be held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on February 26, 2012.