Kate Winslet, The Reader

The Weinstein Company

They may be Hollywood's biggest and brightest, but the new class of Oscar nominees aren't necessarily the most effusive.

Take Brad Pitt, who, while quick to express his gratitude for both his Best Actor nomination and the leading 13 nods nabbed by The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, kept his thanks short and sweet.

"This is a great honor for the movie, and I'm especially happy for David Fincher, for without him there would be no Ben Button," Pitt said.

Pitt's offscreen sidekick Angelina Jolie also gave props to her director, and claimed that the experience itself was prize enough.

"Working with Clint Eastwood was a reward in itself that will last me a lifetime," said the Changeling Best Actress nominee, who also gave a shoutout to Animated Feature contender Kung Fu Panda, which her "entire family loves so much."

"To receive a nomination from the Academy on top of that is a privilege beyond any expectation. It has been an exceptional year for acting, and I am honored to be in the company of these talented actors whose performances all deserve this recognition."

Speaking of that competition...

Kate Winslet, who despite some expectations of a twofer scored just a single nomination for Best Actress in The Reader, took care to explain that, despite her recent reign as awards season's golden girl, she did not take her kudos for granted.

"I'm extremely happy to have been nominated," she said. "And very fortunate...I'm genuinely thrilled not just for myself but for the wonderful Stephen Daldry and David Hare. These nominations are a testament to their unwavering commitment to this film."

She also paid tribute to the film's late producers, who will surely receive their moment in the spotlight once more come Oscar night.

"Surely Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack are smiling down on us today!"

Somebody who diverted from the boilerplate thank-yous was Best Supporting Actor nominee Josh Brolin.

"It feels surreal," Brolin, up this year for his role in Milk, said. "I just got a call from [onetime costar] Javier Bardem in Spain and he was flipping out and screaming.

"The reality is I got up at 5:55 here in Utah and looked at the clock and figured the nominations were announced and it didn't happen. I said to myself, 'That's okay, I can deal with it.' Then I realized there's a one-hour time difference."

Happy endings all around, then.

"When I think about my life a few years ago, being happy just to feed my kids, never in a million years would I have imagined I would be up at 5 in the morning getting phone calls saying I was nominated for an Academy Award."

Also sharing her nomination moment with a pal was The Wrestler's Marisa Tomei, up this year for Supporting Actress.

"The best thing is that it was my best friend from New York who called and told me. She was so happy, she was crying...The beauty of the whole thing is that it wasn't my publicist who called."

One nominee who needed no wake up call was Doubt's Viola Davis, who will vie against Tomei in the Supporting Actress category come Feb. 22.

"I didn't sleep all night," she said. "I screamed in my husband's ear and drank some champagne. When you're acknowledged like this, you feel confident that you've reached people and you're on the right path."

Gus Van Sant, whose Milk earned eight nominations, including nods for Best Director and Best Motion Picture, was in no rush to hear his good news.

"I was sleeping because that's my technique, and I just got it on my phone when I turned it on. It's just as good as the first time. Well, almost as good…It's really great for the movie and for the progress of [titular hero] Harvey's efforts as a gay politician."

Also sharing in the surprise was Lead Actor contender Richard Jenkins, up for the relatively unseen indie The Visitor.

"This nomination is such an unexpected honor and I am grateful to the Academy for the recognition," he said. "I've been awed by the work of my fellow nominees this year and am truly humbled to be in their company.

"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."

Then there was Melissa Leo, nominated for Lead Actress in Frozen River, who provided possibly the most practical reaction to news of her nomination.

"It's delightfully surprising. I had no expectations," she said. "What does all of this mean? Four letters: W-O-R-K."

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