Nominees were celebrating from Los Angeles to Mumbai to London on Thursday as news of the Academy Awards nominations flashed around the world.
Speaking from the Indian premiere of Slumdog Millionaire in Mumbai, producer Christian Colson said local celebrations over the ten nominations earned by the film - which was also shot in Mumbai - were 'intense. It was crazy enough anyway and now it's gone bonkers.'
'We came with five Europeans and worked with a cast and crew of 400 people from Mumbai,' said Colson of the film's shoot. 'It's very thrilling for the people here and a thrill for us too.'
The nominations haul, he suggested, will 'generate even more awareness and help the film raise its profile both in the US and around the rest of the world.' It might also, he said, put an end to local criticism of the film's depiction of India: 'The controversy is pretty minor. It lasted for a few hours today and will be pretty much obliterated by tomorrow's headlines.'
In a statement, Slumdog Millionaire composer A R Rahman (nominated in the original score and original song categories) said he was 'overjoyed...and deeply grateful that the Academy has embraced the music of this film.'
In Los Angeles, Milk producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen said their film's eight-nomination tally was 'pretty extraordinary.'
Acknowledging parallels between the story of Harvey Milk and recent political events in California and the rest of the US, Jinks said: 'We wanted as many people as possible to see the movie and this validation from the Academy will go an awful long way towards making that happen.'
'Our primary concern was with audiences,' added Cohen. 'On that level alone this is huge with us.'
Milk director Gus Van Sant said in a statement that the nominations 'ensure that Harvey Milk's legacy will live on.'
In other statements, the film's screenwriter Dustin Lance Black said the nominations 'are life-saving.' Actor Josh Brolin added that 'The subject matter is so timely and important right now because of what is happening in California with Prop 8.'
The film's original score composer Danny Elfman said: 'This is very exciting because it's about the greater good....I'm excited, but not for me, for Milk, because I think the film is important.'
And editor Eliot Graham added: 'I knew signing on that working with Gus would be extraordinary and that the story was worth telling. It became a special film that I'm proud to be a part of.'
WALL-E director Andrew Stanton said he was thrilled about the animated film's six nominations, noting that it is 'probably the most unconventional' of all Pixar's acclaimed projects.
Stanton said he was not disappointed by the fact that the film did not, as some had suspected it might, get a best picture nomination. 'The run on this film in awards season has been so amazing it's obvious to me how much people like the film and that it's regarded as a real film. Not getting a best picture nomination doesn't rob me of that knowledge.'
Ben Burtt, nominated for WALL-E in both the sound editing and sound mixing categories, said he 'couldn't have asked for a more exciting project' to work on.
Responding to the five nominations for Frost/Nixon, nominated director Ron Howard said he was 'thrilled for the movie. I'm personally gratified, but really excited, maybe even relieved, for Frank [Langella, nominated as the film's lead actor]. It's something that's been a long time coming and he really deserves it.'
Howard added that having previously missed out in the directing category for his best picture-nominated Apollo 13 there were 'no assurances in my mind' that he would get a directing nomination this time round. 'I was tossing and turning last night,' he reported.
Frost/Nixon producer Eric Fellner said in a statement that the nominations were 'a tribute to Ron Howard and our partners on Frost/Nixon at Imagine Entertainment, to our writer Peter Morgan and to the brilliant performances of Frank Langella and Michael Sheen.'
Speaking from London, Morgan said that while he had been anxious about his own nomination, 'I was really genuinely nervous' about whether the film would be nominated in the best picture category. 'It seems that people really love the movie,' Morgan noted, 'but you never dare to take it for granted.'
Donna Gigliotti, one of the producers of The Reader, said the film's five nominations caught her by surprise: 'I was expecting nothing, so I was very casual about watching the television.'
Though the Academy has yet to decide which three of The Reader's producers will be named in the film's best picture nomination, Gigliotti again paid tribute to fellow producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, both of whom died during production. 'Anthony and Sydney are the foundation on which this film is built,' she said. 'I'm only sorry that they are not here to share in this terrific moment.'
Kate Winslet issued a statement saying she was 'extremely happy to have been nominated' in the best lead actress category for The Reader. 'And very fortunate. Playing Hanna Schmitz will always remain one of the biggest challenges I've ever been blessed with.'
David Hare, nominated in the adapted screenplay category, said The Reader's nominations were 'a great boost, because it means a whole lot of people who wouldn't have given the film a chance will now give it a go. And that's what the Oscars are there for.'
Addressing recent criticism of the film in the UK press, Hare added: 'The response that we're getting from people coming out of the cinema is just completely at odds with some very unrepresentative response from some print journalists in broadsheet newspapers. That the Academy should side with the audience rather than with a few rather self-publicising critics obviously is extremely gratifying.'
Chris Menges got word of his cinematography nomination for The Reader at his farm in Wales. 'It's very exciting because you put your heart and soul into the work,' he said.
And Roger Deakins, who shared the cinematography nomination because he started shooting the film, said: 'I'm really pleased for Chris Menges, who took over for me and did the bulk of the film. What Chris did is amazing. The whole film flows as a piece and yet the material I shot was interspersed through the film.'
Viola Davis, whose best supporting actress nomination was one of five for Doubt, said she was 'stunned' by the recognition. 'I'm not a screamer, but I screamed.'
Her goal, she said, had been to 'create someone who was real. Whenever you do that it reaches people and touches something in their lives.'
Nominated in the same category as Davis for her performance in Vicky Christina Barcelona, Penelope Cruz said that although she had been nominated for an Oscar before she still found it 'Very exciting. It's always a surprise, not the kind of thing you get used to. It's such an honour and I'm so grateful to Woody [Allen, the film's writer-director] for giving me such a beautiful character.'
Anne Hathaway, nominated in the best actress category for her performance in Rachel Getting Married, released a statement saying it was 'a thrill to be recognized in this category with these remarkably talented women.'
In the same category, Melissa Leo got one of the two nominations for Frozen River. Her statement said: 'Being a part of this movie was a dream come true by itself and now to be nominated for an Academy Award; its just unbelievable.'
Richard Jenkins, a best actor nominee for The Visitor, said in a statement that his nomination was 'an unexpected honour.... Having been an actor for many years now, I am moved by the fact that something like this can happen at this point in my career, particularly for a film that has meant so much to me.'
Reacting to his fourth best original screenplay nomination, this one for Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh said in a statement that 'once again I'm honored and delighted that the quality of writing I and my actors work so hard to achieve has been recognized and respected by my fellow writers in the Academy.'
Irish writer Martin McDonagh, recognized for In Bruges in the original screenplay category, gave his 'heartfelt thanks to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, particularly the writers' branch, for their support.'
Also from Ireland, Steph Green, director of best live action short nominee New Boy, said in a statement that he and producer Tamara Anghie were 'humbled by the Academy's recognition of our film.'
Byron Howard, co-director with Chris Williams of best animated feature nominee Bolt, heard the Oscar news in Spain, where the film is about to open. 'Chris and I aren't used to being out in the limelight,' admitted Howard, a longtime animator for whom Bolt was a directing debut. 'It's weird for us not to be in dark rooms drawing.'
Copenhagen-based director James Marsh, whose Man On Wire is nominated in the best documentary category, was similarly disoriented by his taste of awards buzz. 'If you make documentaries it's not a world you expect to be a part of,' Marsh confessed, 'so it's doubly thrilling - and kind of funny as well - to think you're part of that world, at least for a day.'
Marsh hoped that the recognition will help his film 'reach an even bigger audience...[and] perhaps have a second life in cinemas.'
Several makers of the projects nominated for best foreign language film were also hoping to gain wider audiences with Oscar's help.
Referring to the inauguration this week of new US President Barack Obama, Uli Edel, Los Angeles-based director of The Baader Meinhof Complex, joked that his initial reaction to the nomination was, 'First Obama and now this. It was very thrilling when a friend called me. I hope it will help the movie here in the States.'
Bernd Eichinger, the film's producer, said in a statement that he and Edel were 'absolutely thrilled. For both of us this is a very personal film and making it has been an intense journey.'
Laurent Cantet, director of The Class, said he hoped the nomination will 'help me make the films I want to make and to make them the way I want to make them. I won't have to justify myself anymore. I'm always looking for the liberty I had on this film.'
Ari Folman, director of Waltz With Bashir, said his film's nomination was well received at home in Israel. 'We are a small community of filmmakers, struggling most of the time, so it's big news,' Folman reported.
Yojiro Takita, director of Departures, said in a statement that an Oscar 'is probably the dream of every filmmaker. Departures is a story set in Japan, but it deals with the universal theme of death and loss which all human beings face and in doing so transcends language barriers and cultural backgrounds.'
Paul Colichman, co-head of Regent Releasing, the US distributor that recently acquired Departures, said a nomination 'certainly gives you visibility that you didn't have before. It's such a lovely picture and thanks to this nomination we believe a lot of audiences will get a chance to experience it and enjoy it.'
Nominees in the Academy's craft categories enjoyed a relatively rare moment in the limelight when the nominations were announced.
Albert Wolsky, the two-time Oscar winning costume designer whose work this year on Revolutionary Road earned one of the film's three nominations, said Academy recognition is 'always a major thrill, especially the first day. It's a great joy and that never changes.'
Debra Schutt, nominated (for the first time) in the art direction category for her work as Revolutionary Road's set decorator, said it was nice to hear about the recognition on a movie set, 'except that I'm not getting very much work done.' Voters and audiences, she suggested, have responded to the fact that the film is 'a very quiet ensemble work, it's not showy.'
Michael Carlin, art director on The Duchess, heard about his 'quite thrilling' first nomination on location in Prague. His goal on the drama, he said, was 'to make a period film that felt a bit modern, a bit less constrained.'
UK-based Rebecca Alleway, the set decorator who shares the art direction nomination for The Duchess with Carlin, said she was 'still pinching myself, it seems very, very surreal.' The film, she said, 'is not dressed for the sake of being dressed. You either get it or you don't get it. I'm really chuffed that obviously people did get it.'
Nominated for his costume design work on The Duchess, Michael O'Connor, also based in the UK, suggested that awards voters have been responding to the way that the film's costumes are more than just sumptuous: 'They say the costumes serve the script and the story,' O'Connor said.
In a statement, Alexandre Desplat, nominated for his score for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, said: 'When you love movies, having an Oscar nomination is a magic moment. Benjamin Button is a film for ever and I thank the Academy for recognizing it.'
And in his statement, James Newton Howard, nominated for his score for Defiance, said: 'I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to [ Defiance director] Ed Zwick and [score soloist] Joshua Bell. This story had personal meaning to me, and I am deeply honoured to have been nominated.'
Among US distributors celebrating was Sony Pictures Classics (SPC), distributor of three films - Rachel Getting Married, Frozen River and Waltz with Bashir - that earned five nominations between them.
SPC co-head Michael Barker said Frozen River in particular 'is the Cinderella story of the year,' with nominations for both Melissa Leo and, in the original screenplay category, Courtney Hunt.
He added, however, that he had hoped for a best animated feature nomination for Waltz with Bashir and for recognition of Jenny Lumet for her Rachel Getting Married screenplay and Kristin Scott Thomas for her performance in I've Loved You So Long.
'We're overjoyed,' said Barker, 'but it's slightly bittersweet because it seems those other people were deserving as well.'
Responding to This Way Up' s nomination in the animated short film category, writer and director Adam Foulkes said 'The film has had a great festival run, particularly with audience awards who seem to have really picked up on the comedy. But an Oscar nomination is on a whole new level. We're really excited about developing our work into features and this has been a great process for us as directors and for Nexus as a studio.' Smith and his co-director Alan Smith were previously named Screen International's Stars Of Tomorrow.