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Photos: The world of ‘Avatar’

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  1. 'Star Wars' for a new generation?

    The most talked-about film of 2009-2010 is James Cameron's sci-fi epic "Avatar." Its fantasy world on the planet Pandora has been compared to the "Star Wars" universe. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Hero in blue, and as himself

    Sam Worthington portrays Jake Sully, a paralyzed veteran who finds joy, and the use of his legs, when his consciousness is transplanted into a lab-grown "Avatar," a giant body made to resemble the Na'vi people of the planet Pandora. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Behind blue skin

    Actress Zoe Saldana's real face was never seen in "Avatar," but her character, Neytiri, domainates the screen. She plays one of the Na'vi, a race of 10-feet-tall, blue-skinned creatures who live in harmony with nature. (20th Century Fox, Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Tanked

    Jake meets his avatar, a genetically engineered hybrid of human DNA mixed with DNA from the natives of Pandora. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Trying out the new bod

    Frustrated by his paralysis in his human body, Jake can't wait to get started walking and running once he's awake in the fully functioning body of his Avatar. The Avatar was created to work with Jake's twin brother, a scientist, but when he is killed, an untrained Jake steps in. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Battle ready

    The humans on Pandora are well prepared for war. Their weapons include 16-foot-tall Amplified Mobility Platform suits as well as heavily armed gunships, which are paired against the simple arrows of the Na'vi. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. What a sight

    The humans are awed by the natural beauty of Pandora, which includes floating mountains, enormous trees that can house hundreds, and breathtaking flora. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. High in the sky

    Pandora's majestic floating mountains dwarf a massive gunship. A real Chinese mountain called the Southern Sky Column provided inspiration for the filmmakers, and the Chinese have since renamed it "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain." (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Plotting an attack

    Col. Miles Quaritch, right, plays on Jake's military background to try and enlist him to help bring down the Na'vi. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. The guys with the ties are never good

    Scientist Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), right, faces off numerous times against Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi), the Pandora station supervisor. Weaver's character reportedly was at once point named Shipley, an homage to her fierce character, Ellen Ripley, in Cameron's 1986 film "Aliens." (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Hang on tight

    The Thanators are just one of the numerous native species on Pandora. James Cameron described the creatures as "panthers from hell." (Weta / 20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Going against orders

    Helicopter pilot Trudy Chacon (Michelle Rodriguez, a.k.a. Ana Lucia on "Lost") is a great help to the Na'vi in their climactic battle to save their planet. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Stomping grounds

    Col. Quaritch drives the AMP Suit, a formidable weapon in the humans' battle against the Na'vi. Fans of Cameron's "Aliens" may remember a similar suit being worn by Sigourney Weaver's Ripley as she fought to protect young surviving colonist Newt. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. A film 15 years in the making

    "Avatar" director James Cameron reviews a scene with Sigourney Weaver, Joel David Moore and Sam Worthington. Cameron wrote an 80-page treatment for the film back in 1994, but says he had to wait for technology to catch up with his vision for the film. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 1/31/2010 4:56:16 PM ET 2010-01-31T21:56:16

As awards season winds down and the Academy Awards near, "Avatar" has emerged as a favorite. Can "The Hurt Locker," "Up in the Air" or "Inglourious Basterds" compete with the box-office behemoth? Oscar nominations will be announced Feb. 2 and the ceremony will take place March 7.

A summary of the top film honors leading up to the Oscars:

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‘Avatar’

  • Best Picture: Golden Globe (for drama), New York Film Critics Online
  • Best Director, James Cameron: Golden Globe
  • Best Cinematography: Critics Choice
  • Best Art Direction: Critics Choice
  • Best Editing: Critics Choice
  • Best Visual Effects: Critics Choice
  • Best Sound: Critics Choice

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‘The Beaches of Agnes’

  • Best Documentary: National Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association (co-winner)

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‘The Blind Side’

  • Best Actress, Sandra Bullock: Golden Globe (drama), Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice (co-winner)

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‘Bright Star’

  • Best Supporting Actor, Paul Schneider: National Society of Film Critics (co-winner)

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‘Coraline’

  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘The Cove’

  • Best Documentary: Producers Guild, National Board of Review, Los Angeles Film Critics Association (co-winner)

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‘Crazy Heart’

  • Best Actor, Jeff Bridges: Golden Globe (drama), Screen Actors Guild, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Critics Choice
  • Best Score: Los Angeles Film Critics Association
  • Best Original Song, "The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)" by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett: Golden Globe

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‘District 9’

  • Best Production Design: Los Angeles Film Critics Association
  • Best Makeup: Critics Choice

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‘An Education’

  • Best Actress, Carey Mulligan: National Board of Review

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‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’

  • Best Animated Film: New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Critics Association
  • Best Actor, George Clooney: New York Film Critics Circle
  • Best Production Design, Nelson Lowry: National Society of Film Critics

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‘Julie & Julia’

  • Best Actress, Meryl Streep: Golden Globe (comedy or musical), New York Film Critics Circle, Critics Choice (co-winner)

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‘The Hangover’

  • Best Picture: Golden Globe (comedy or musical)
  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘The Hurt Locker’

  • Best Picture: Producers Guild, National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Critics Choice, Boston Society of Film Critics
  • Best Director, Kathryn Bigelow: National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Critics Choice, Directors Guild of America
  • Best Actor, Jeremy Renner: National Society of Film Critics
  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘Inglourious Basterds’

  • Best Ensemble: Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice
  • Best Supporting Actor, Christoph Waltz: Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, National Society of Film Critics (co-winner), New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Critics Choice
  • Best Screenplay, Quentin Tarantino: Critics Choice

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‘In the Loop’

  • Best Screenplay: New York Film Critics Circle

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‘Invictus’

  • Best Actor, Morgan Freeman: National Board of Review (co-winner)
  • Best Director, Clint Eastwood: National Board of Review

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‘It's Complicated’

  • Best Ensemble: National Board of Review

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‘The Lovely Bones’

  • Best Young Actor/Actress, Saoirse Ronan: Critics Choice

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‘The Messenger’

  • Best Supporting Actor, Woody Harrelson: National Board of Review
  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘Of Time and the City’

  • Best Nonfiction Film: New York Film Critics Circle

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‘Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire’

  • Best Supporting Actress, Mo'Nique: Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Critics Choice
  • Stanley Kramer Award: Producers Guild
  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘A Prophet’

  • Best Foreign Language Film: National Board of Review

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‘Seraphine’

  • Best Actress, Yolande Moreau: National Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association

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‘A Serious Man’

  • Best Original Screenplay: National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics
  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘Sherlock Holmes’

  • Best Actor, Robert Downey Jr.: Golden Globe (comedy or musical)

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‘A Single Man’

  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘Sugar’

  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘Summer Hours’

  • Best Foreign Language Film: National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association

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‘Up’

  • Best Animated Film: Golden Globe, Producers Guild, Critics Choice
  • Best Original Score, Michael Giacchino: Golden Globe
  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘Up in the Air’

  • Best Picture: National Board of Review, Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association
  • Best Actor, George Clooney: National Board of Review (co-winner), New York Film Critics Circle
  • Best Supporting Actress, Anna Kendrick: National Board of Review
  • Best Screenplay, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner: Golden Globe National Board of Review, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Critics Choice
  • Top 10: American Film Institute

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‘The White Ribbon’

  • Best Foreign Language Film: Golden Globe
  • Best Cinematographer, Christian Berger: National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association

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‘The Young Victoria’

  • Best Costume Design: Critics Choice

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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