Jeremy Renner Recalls Explosive Role

When the Academy Award nominations were announced Tuesday, "The Hurt Locker" was nominated nine times, including a nomination for best picture and a best actor nod for its star Jeremy Renner.

Renner, who plays an army sergeant and bomb-disposal expert in the Iraq War drama, admits that he couldn't contain himself when he first heard the news.

"I jumped on Anthony Mackie because I was watching it with him. He held me up for about 10 minutes as I squeezed him like a monkey. He held me up through the entire movie anyway. There's nothing new there. It's great. It's awesome," Renner told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

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With such a small cast, there is a powerful cohesion among the actors.

"I think especially with Anthony and Brian and myself, we clung to each other. Kathyrn (Bigelow, the director) gave us full freedom to do what we needed to do. We desperately needed each other through this whole thing," he explained.

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"Hurt Locker's" director Kathyrn Bigelow, whose previous films include "Point Break" and "Near Dark," may make history with the film.

She will be competing against her ex-husband, James Cameron for best director at the Academy Awards - an accolade no woman has ever won.

Bigelow is the fourth woman ever to be nominated in the category (previous nominees include Sofia Coppola for 2003's "Lost in Translation," Jane Campion for 1993's "The Piano," and Lena Wertmuller for 1975's "Seven Beauties").

"The Hurt Locker" beat out Cameron's "Avatar" at the Directors Guild of America Awards and the Producers Guild of America Awards.

"Why do you think she was so good at directing this kind of movie?" Smith asked.

"That's an easy one. She's a painter. She's a warrior," Renner said. "She empowered all of her actors and everyone around her to do their job because she thinks that they're the best at their job. She empowered everyone with trust. It was infectious. All she had to do -- it was a lot, but capture it in the way she does."

Taking on the role of a bomb expert in the middle of the desert, wearing a 100-pound suit, wasn't a simple task -- but Renner made it look easy.

Smith noted his "amazing attitude" and walk, which made it seem like the suit was weightless.

"I don't know. I just walked the way I walked in it," a humble Renner said.

Renner's walk told a lot about the man behind the suit.

"Absolutely. I agree with you. Then it became something visually -- Kathryn recognized it," he said. "You walk a certain way in that thing. The suit informed me, it was the character in a lot of ways, being isolated in the helmet and all you hear is your own breath. It's kind of peaceful and lovely even though it's hell inside of it."

Renner will be wearing a different kind of suit at the Academy Awards.

So who will be Renner's date be at the Oscars?

"I'm going to have to take my mom without a question," he said.

"The Hurt Locker" is currently available on DVD.