updated 01/24/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/24/2012 AT 8:45 AM ET
Comedy counts in Hollywood, for once, with two surprise nominations for Bridesmaids, for Supporting Actress Melissa McCarthy and Best Screenplay writer Kristen Wiig, according to this year’s Oscar nominations, announced early Tuesday at the Beverly Hills headquarters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
As anticipated – given earlier honors from critics’ group and the Golden Globes – nominations in the Best Picture category included those for director Alexander Payne’s family drama set in Hawaii The Descendants (five nods) and the love letters to early movies, The Artist, with 10 nominations, and Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, with 11. In all, nine films received Best Picture nominations.
For Best Actress, Michelle Williams was cited for her turn as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn, as was Meryl Streep, who plays former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, in The Iron Lady.
Streep’s nomination is her 17th – an all-time Academy record. (Both Jack Nicholson and Katharine Hepburn received 12 nominations; he won three times and she won four.) Streep has won twice, as Best Supporting Actress for 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer, and as Best Actress for 1982’s Sophie’s Choice.
Also going for the gold: Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, who played housekeepers in 1960s Mississippi in last year’s popular summer drama and Best Picture nominee The Help, as well as costar Jessica Chastain.
For a complete list of nominations, click here.
The 84th Annual Academy Awards will air live from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre on ABC, Sunday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. ET. Billy Crystal, returning for the first time in eight years, will serve as host, for the ninth time.