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<I>King</I> Leads Oscar Race With 11 Nominations

27 Jan, 2004 By: Gregg Kilday


Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, from New Line Cinema, led the pack among nominations for the 76th Annual Academy Awards, with a commanding 11 nominations.

But if that film's dominance was preordained when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its nominations Tuesday morning, there were also plenty of unpredictable curveballs.

Cold Mountain, touted as an early favorite, earned noms for best actor Jude Law and best supporting actress Renee Zellweger, but its other leading lady, Nicole Kidman, was left out in the cold and the movie, even though it received seven noms, was frozen out of the best picture and best directing races.

Instead, Seabiscuit, the long-distance runner that was first released in July, nosed into the best picture heat, which also includes Rings; Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World, which earned 10 nominations; Mystic River, which picked up six noms; and Lost in Translation, which scored four.

City of God, the gritty Brazilian film by Fernando Meirelles, was a surprise contender, earning a best director nomination for Meirelles, an adapted screenplay slot for Braulio Mantovani and noms for its cinematography and film editing. Its showing was all the more impressive given that last year the film was submitted as the official foreign language entry from Brazil, but failed to win a foreign film nomination.

In the best actor category, Johnny Depp managed to swashbuckle his way into the contest, thanks to his idiosyncratic performance in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. He will face off against Law, playing a Civil War soldier struggling to return home in Cold Mountain; Ben Kingsley, portraying an immigrant Iranian fighting to defend his home in House of Sand and Fog; Bill Murray, starring as an actor adrift in Tokyo in Lost in Translation; and Sean Penn, who portrays a man facing the disappearance of his daughter in Mystic River.

In the best actress category, the Academy chose to honor 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes, who plays a young Maori girl who challenges tribal prejudices in Whale Rider. She is the youngest actress ever nominated in the category, which also includes Diane Keaton, receiving her fourth nomination for appearing as an older woman who unexpectedly finds love in Something's Gotta Give; Samantha Morton, who heads a family of Irish immigrants in In America; Charlize Theron, who transforms herself into serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster; and Naomi Watts, who stars as a woman confronting unimaginable loss in 21 Grams.

First-time nominees dominated the best supporting actor category: They include Alec Baldwin for The Cooler, Djimon Hounsou for In America and Ken Watanabe for The Last Samurai. Although he was nominated in 1996 for directing Dead Man Walking, Tim Robbins received his first acting nomination for Mystic River. And Benecio Del Toro, a winner in 2001 for his performance in Traffic received his second acting nomination for 21 Grams, in which he plays a reformed con trying to go straight.

A new name -- Shohreh Aghdashloo, who portrays an Iranian wife struggling to adjust to life in America in House of Sand and Fog -- appeared in the list of best supporting actresses. She joins Patricia Clarkson, for her portrayal of a mother, coping with cancer, in Pieces of April; Marcia Gay Harden, who plays the wife of a man haunted by his past in Mystic River; Holly Hunter, who appears as a contemporary mom coping with a rebellious teen in Thirteen; and Zellweger, who headlines as a mountain woman in the Civil War south in Cold Mountain.

Sofia Coppola, the writer-director of Lost in Translation, made history in the directing category. She is the first American woman ever elected to that exclusive club. Only two other women -- Italy's Lina Wertmuller (Seven Beauties) and New Zealand's Jane Campion (The Piano) -- have previously been nominated.

And if Coppola were to win for directing, for original screenplay or for producting Translation -- she's nominated in all three categories -- her family would become only the second family to boast three generations of Oscar winners, since her grandfather Carmine and her dad Francis Ford, are themselves winners. The only other family which represents three generations of winners to date is the Houstons -- Walter, John and Anjelica.

In the directing category, Coppola's competition includes City of God's Meirelles and Return of the King's Jackson, as well as Peter Weir, for Master and Commander and Clint Eastwood for Mystic River.

Virtually all of the nominees for best original screenplay come from specialty film companies: Miramax Films' The Barbarian Invasions, written by Denys Arcand, and Dirty Pretty Things, written by Steven Knight; Fox Searchlight's In America, written by Jim Sheridan and his daughters Naomi Sheridan and Kirsten Sheridan, and Focus Features' Lost in Translation, written by Coppola. Even the fifth nominee, Finding Nemo, with its screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds from a story by Stanton, comes from outside of the studio system since it was produced by Pixar Animation Studios.

The nominees for adapted screenplay are: American Splendor, written by Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman; City of God, written by Mantovani; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson; Mystic River, written by Brian Helgeland, and Seabiscuit, written by Gary Ross.

The foreign language film nominees are: Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions, from Canada; Mikael Hafstrom's Evil, from Sweden; Yoji Yamada's The Twilight Samurai, from Japan; Ben Sombogaart's Twin Sisters from the Netherlands; and Ondrej Trojan's Zelary from the Czech Republic.

The trio of films competing for best animated feature are Walt Disney Pictures' Brother Bear, Pixar's Finding Nemo and The Triplets of Belleville, released by Sony Pictures Classics.This year's Oscar ceremonies are set to take place Feb. 29.

Complete list of 76th annual Academy Award nominations

BEST PICTURE
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lost in Translation, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Mystic River, Seabiscuit

ACTOR
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl; Ben Kingsley, House of Sand and Fog; Jude Law, Cold Mountain; Bill Murray, Lost in Translation; Sean Penn, Mystic River

ACTRESS
Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider; Diane Keaton, Something's Gotta Give; Samantha Morton, In America; Charlize Theron, Monster; Naomi Watts, 21 Grams

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alec Baldwin, The Cooler;Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams; Djimon Hounsou, In America; Tim Robbins, Mystic River; Ken Watanabe, The Last Samurai

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog; Patricia Clarkson, Pieces of April; Marcia Gay Harden, Mystic River; Holly Hunter, Thirteen; Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain

DIRECTOR
Fernando Meirelles, City of God; Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation; Peter Weir, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; Clint Eastwood, Mystic River

FOREIGN FILM
The Barbarian Invasions, Canada; Zelary, Czech Republic; The Twilight Samurai, Japan; Twin Sisters, The Netherlands; Evil, Sweden

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman, American Splendor; Braulio Mantovani, City of God; Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; Brian Helgeland, Mystic River; Gary Ross, Seabiscuit

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Denys Arcand, The Barbarian Invasions; Steven Knight, Dirty Pretty Things; Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds, Finding Nemo ; Jim Sheridan & Naomi Sheridan & Kirsten Sheridan, In America ; Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Brother Bear; Finding Nemo; The Triplets of Belleville

ART DIRECTION
Girl With a Pearl Earring, The Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Seabiscuit

CINEMATOGRAPHY
City of God, Cold Mountain, Girl With a Pearl Earring, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Seabiscuit

SOUND MIXING
The Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Seabiscuit

SOUND EDITING
Finding Nemo, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

ORIGINAL SCORE
Big Fish, Danny Elfman; Cold Mountain, Gabriel Yared; Finding Nemo, Thomas Newman; House of Sand and Fog, James Horner; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Howard Shore

ORIGINAL SONG
"Into the West" from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Fran Walsh, Howard Shore and Annie Lennox; "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" from A Mighty Wind, Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole; "Scarlet Tide" from Cold Mountain, T Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello; "The Triplets of Belleville" from The Triplets of Belleville, Benoit Charest and Sylvain Chomet; "You Will Be My Ain True Love" from Cold Mountain, Sting

COSTUME
Girl With a Pearl Earring, The Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Seabiscuit

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Balseros, Capturing the Friedmans, The Fog of War, My Architect, The Weather Underground

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
Asylum, Chernobyl Heart, Ferry Tales

FILM EDITING
City of God, Cold Mountain, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Seabiscuit

MAKEUP
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Boundin', Destino, Gone Nutty, Harvie Krumpet, Nibbles

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
Die Rote Jacke (The Red Jacket), Most (The Bridge), Squash, (A) Torzija (1/8A 3/8 Torsion), Two Soldiers

VISUAL EFFECTS
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Oscar Winners Previously Announced This Year

HONORARY ACADEMY AWARD
Blake Edwards

GORDON E. SAWYER AWARD (TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT)
Peter D. Parks

ACADEMY AWARD OF MERIT (TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT)
Digidesign

ACADEMY AWARD OF MERIT (TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT)
Bill Tondreau

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