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Brokeback Mountain gets eight Oscar nods

Brokeback Mountain gets eight Oscar nods

The cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain led the Academy Awards field Tuesday with eight nominations, among them Best Actor and Best Picture honors for Heath Ledger and director Ang Lee. Also nominated for Best Picture were the Truman Capote story Capote; the ensemble drama Crash; the Edward R. Murrow chronicle Good Night, and Good Luck; and the assassination thriller Munich. The Johnny Cash biography, Walk the Line, considered a likely Best Picture nominee, was shut out, although Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon earned acting nominations for the film. Three films were tied with six nominations each--Crash; Good Night, and Good Luck; and Memoirs of a Geisha, though Geisha was shut out in the top categories. Munich, which had fallen off many awards analysts' Best Picture picks after a lukewarm reception, scored well, with five nominations, including Best Director for Steven Spielberg. King Kong, directed by Lord of the Rings creator Peter Jackson, earned only technical nominations, losing out in the major categories. George Clooney picked up three nominations: as Supporting Actor for his role as a steadfast CIA undercover agent in Syriana, as Best Director and for his part as cowriter in his Edward R. Murrow tale Good Night, and Good Luck. Along with Best Actor contender Ledger and directing nominee Lee, Brokeback Mountain scored nominations for Jake Gyllenhaal as Supporting Actor, Michelle Williams as Supporting Actress, and Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana for their screenplay adaptation of Annie Proulx's short story. The acting categories were a mix of familiar Oscar faces such as past winners Judi Dench and Charlize Theron, veterans like Clooney, Witherspoon, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, and Felicity Huffman gaining their first Academy attention, and young performers such as Williams and Amy Adams. Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Best Actor favorite for his remarkable impersonation of author Truman Capote in Capote, joined Ledger in the Best Actor category. Hoffman has triumphed at earlier film honors, including the Golden Globes. Along with Hoffman, Ledger, and Phoenix, the other nominees were Terrence Howard as a small-time hood turned rap singer in Hustle & Flow and Strathairn as newsman Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck. The Best Actress race presumably will shape up as a two-woman contest between Huffman in a gender-bending role as a transgender woman about to undergo a sex change n Transamerica; and Witherspoon as singer June Carter, Cash's musical companion and future wife, in Walk the Line. Huffman won the Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Actress, while Witherspoon earned the Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. Witherspoon beat Huffman on Sunday for the Best Actress prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Also nominated for the Best Actress Oscar were Dench as a society dame who starts a nude stage revue in 1930s London in Mrs. Henderson Presents; Keira Knightley as the romantic heroine of the Jane Austen adaptation Pride & Prejudice; and Charlize Theron as a mine worker who leads a sexual harassment lawsuit against male coworkers in North Country. Brokeback Mountain led a wave of lower-budgeted independent films that scored big in the nominations, instead of the studio fare that normally dominates the Oscars. Other than Munich, most bigger-budget movies that had been on the Best Picture radar, such as Walk the Line, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Cinderella Man, were overlooked in the top Oscar category. The year's biggest hit, Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith, earned only one nomination (for makeup) but was shut out otherwise, including the Visual Effects category, a blow to George Lucas and his Industrial Light and Magic outfit, which has pioneered special effects. The visual effects nominees were The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; King Kong; and Spielberg's War of the Worlds. With key prizes at earlier Hollywood honors under its belt, Brokeback Mountain heads into the March 5 awards as the Best Picture front-runner, potentially the first film with explicit gay themes to claim the grand prize at the Oscars. The film stars Ledger and Gyllenhaal as Western roughnecks who share a summer of love while tending sheep together in the 1960s, then carry on a lifelong romance they conceal from their families. Williams costars as Ledger's wife, who overlooks her husband's affair to try to hold her family together. Weisz, playing a humanitarian aid worker in The Constant Gardener, won the Supporting Actress prize at the Golden Globes and SAG awards, giving her the inside track for the same honor at the Oscars. Along with Weisz and Williams, Supporting Actress nominations went to newcomer Adams as a big-hearted Southern waif in Junebug; Catherine Keener as To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee in Capote; and Frances McDormand as a miner coping with debilitating disease in North Country. Besides Gyllenhaal and Clooney as a bullheaded CIA agent in Syriana, nominees for Supporting Actor were Matt Dillon as a racist cop in Crash; Paul Giamatti as boxer Braddock's manager in Cinderella Man; and William Hurt as a ruthless mobster in A History of Violence. Hurt was a bit of surprise since he only appears for a few minutes at the end of the film in a scene-stealing role. Lee, who won the Directors Guild of America honor Saturday for Brokeback Mountain, is the clear favorite to win the Best Director Oscar. Brokeback Mountain has earned top honors from many earlier Hollywood awards, among them the Golden Globes, the Directors Guild of America, and key critics groups. The SAG Awards on Sunday threw up a potential roadblock for Brokeback Mountain, which was shut out for the ceremony's five acting awards. Brokeback Mountain had been viewed as a likely winner of the guild's award for Overall Cast Performance, a prize that went to Crash instead. But while the cast award is the guild's equivalent of a Bes Picture honor, six of the previous 10 SAG winners failed to take the top prize on Oscar night, including Sideways last year.

ABC will broadcast the Oscars live March 5 from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, with Jon Stewart as host. (AP)

Here is a complete list of nominees for the 78th annual Academy Awards:

Picture: Brokeback Mountain; Capote; Crash; Good Night, and Good Luck; Munich

Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain; Bennett Miller, Capote; Paul Haggis, Crash; George Clooney, Good Night, And Good Luck; Steven Spielberg, Munich

Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote; Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow; Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain; Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line; David Strathairn, Good Night, And Good Luck

Actress: Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents; Felicity Huffman, Transamerica; Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice; Charlize Theron, North Country; Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Supporting Actor: George Clooney, Syriana; Matt Dillon, Crash; Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man; Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain; William Hurt, A History of Violence

Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Junebug; Catherine Keener, Capote; Frances McDormand, North Country; Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener; Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain

Original Screenplay: Paul Haggis, Crash; George Clooney and Grant Heslov, Good Night, And Good Luck; Woody Allen, Match Point; Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale; Stephen Gaghan, Syriana

Adapted Screenplay: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback Mountain; Dan Futterman, Capote; Jeffrey Caine, The Constant Gardener; Josh Olson, A History of Violence; Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Munich

Animated Feature: Howl's Moving Castle, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Animated Short: Badgered, The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, 9, One Man Band

Art Direction: Good Night, And Good Luck; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; King Kong; Memoirs of a Geisha; Pride & Prejudice

Cinematography: Batman Begins; Brokeback Mountain; Good Night, And Good Luck; Memoirs of a Geisha; The New World

Costume Design: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Memoirs of a Geisha, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Pride & Prejudice, Walk the Line

Documentary Feature: Darwin's Nightmare, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, March of the Penguins, Murderball, Street Fight

Documentary Short: The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club, God Sleeps in Rwanda, The Mushroom Club, A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin

Film Editing: Cinderella Man, The Constant Gardener, Crash, Munich, Walk the Line

Foreign Language Film: Don't Tell (Italy), Joyeux Noel (France), Paradise Now (Palestine), Sophie Scholl--The Final Days (Germany), Tsotsi (South Africa)

Makeup: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Cinderella Man; Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith

Score: Brokeback Mountain, The Constant Gardener, Memoirs of a Geisha, Munich, Pride & Prejudice

Song: "In the Deep," Crash; "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," Hustle & Flow; "Travelin' Thru," Transamerica

Live-Action Short: Ausreisser (The Runaway), Cashback, The Last Farm, Our Time Is Up, Six Shooter

Sound Editing: King Kong, Memoirs of a Geisha, War of the Worlds

Sound Mixing: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; King Kong; Memoirs of a Geisha; Walk the Line; War of the Worlds

Visual Effects: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; King Kong; War of the Worlds

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