Rourke, Hathaway Top Oscar Freshman Class

While stars such as Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet have had their fair share of Academy Award nominations over the years, for some, Thursday morning’s announcements marked their first shot at Oscar gold.

In the Best Actor category, three men are first-time nominees – Richard Jenkins, known for his supporting role on television’s “Six Feet Under,” was nominated for his performance as a lonely professor who has his life changed by his friendship with two illegal immigrants in “The Visitor”; Frank Langella for “Frost/Nixon,” in which he plays the embattled former president; and Mickey Rourke, for his comeback role as battered professional wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson in “The Wrestler.”

VIEW THE PHOTOS: 2009 Academy Award Nominees

Josh Brolin earns his first nod for Best Supporting Actor in “Milk,” though he’s rubbed shoulders with Oscar before — last year, he starred in Best Picture winner “No Country For Old Men” but wasn’t nominated, while co-star Javier Bardem picked up an award for Best Supporting Actor.

Also in the Best Supporting Actor category is “Revolutionary Road” star Michael Shannon – the film’s only acting nomination, despite Best Actor and Actress nominations at the Golden Globes for leads Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, respectively. Kate, a previous Oscar nominee, was nominated for Best Actress this year for “The Reader.”

On the women’s side, Anne Hathaway is a first-timer for her role as a recovering addict in “Rachel Getting Married.”

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Anne Hathaway

“It is such a thrill to be recognized in this category with these remarkably talented women,” Anne told Access Hollywood in a statement. “This is a great day to be an actress!”

She’s joined in the Best Actress category by Oscar neophyte Melissa Leo, who plays a desperate mom transporting illegal immigrants in “Frozen River.”

Mothers are a popular theme at the Oscars this year, with two actresses getting their first nominations for parental roles in the Best Supporting Actress category – Viola Davis, who has a brief but moving role in the somber religious drama “Doubt,” and Taraji P. Henson, who adopts Benjamin Button after he’s left on her doorstep as a prematurely elderly baby in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

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