As expected, Sam Mendes' American Beauty led the pack in the nominations for the 72nd annual Academy Awards with eight nominations including those for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay.

But the Academy came up with some major surprises including six nominations for box office behemoth The Sixth Sense including Best Picture and Best Director, and seven for Miramax Films' The Cider House Rules including Best Picture and Best Director. And The Green Mile - another movie which had failed to win much recognition from other bodies - bagged a surprise Best Picture nomination.

The Cider House Rules - which had been all but excluded from critics awards and the Golden Globes - was a triumphant coup for Miramax which also managed to bag Meryl Streep her 12th nomination for Music Of The Heart (an achievement that puts her on a par with Katherine Hepburn). However, one of the morning's biggest surprises was the exclusion of The Talented Mr. Ripley - which Miramax co-produced with Paramount - from major categories.

Also coming away with less than expected were The Hurricane which scored only one nomination for Denzel Washington's performance, The End Of The Affair which took a Best Actress nod for Julianne Moore but failed to get notice in direction or screenplay categories and Angela's Ashes which managed a single nomination - for John Williams' score.

But if The Cider House Rules and The Green Mile highlighted the conservative preferences of the Academy, the Best Director nomination for Spike Jonze for Being John Malkovich showed its more daring side. The quirky comedy also won Supporting Actress and Screenplay nominations. And the nominations for Sean Penn and Samantha Morton in Woody Allen's Sweet And Lowdown were also somewhat surprising, given the film's limited box office exposure.

Other more predictable nominees were Michael Mann's The Insider which won seven nominations including Picture, Director and Actor; Tom Cruise winning his third Oscar nomination, this time as a supporting actor, for Magnolia; and actresses Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny for Boys Don't Cry. As always, foreign talent figured strongly in the key categories.

  • Britain's Sam Mendes won his first directing nomination for his first film and is easily the frontrunner to win that category.
  • Sweden's Lasse Hallstrom - who bagged a Best Director nomination in 1987 for My Life As A Dog - won a second for The Cider House Rules.
  • Indian-born M Night Shyamalan walked off with two nominations - for directing and writing The Sixth Sense.
  • Australian actors Russell Crowe (The Insider) and Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense) won their first nominations.
  • Britain's acting community was well represented by Janet McTeer (Best Actress), Michael Caine and Jude Law (Best Supporting Actor) and Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress).
  • Britain's Mike Leigh won his third Oscar nomination for his original screenplay to Topsy-Turvy.
  • Overlooked yet again for Best Actor was Jim Carrey, who won Golden Globes from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for his performances in The Truman Show and this year's Man On The Moon, but failed to get an Oscar nomination for either film
  • Britain's Anthony Minghella - snubbed in the director category - nevertheless scored a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for The Talented Mr. Ripley. He lost in the same category in 1996 for The English Patient.
    (Distributors are listed in parenthesis. In case of two companies listed, the first name mentioned refers to the US theatrical distributor and the second to either the foreign sales company or the international distribution entity )


    A Jinks/Cohen Company Production
    Prods: Bruce Cohen, Dan Jinks

    A FilmColony Production
    Prod: Richard N. Gladstein

    THE GREEN MILE (Warner Bros/Universal Pictures International)
    A Castle Rock Production
    Prods: David Valdes, Frank Darabont

    THE INSIDER (Buena Vista)
    A Touchstone Pictures Production
    Prods: Michael Mann, Pieter Jan Brugge

    THE SIXTH SENSE (Buena Vista/Spyglass)
    A Hollywood Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment Production
    Prods: Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Barry Mendel


    Sam Mendes

    BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (USA Films/Universal Pictures International)
    Spike Jonze

    Lasse Hallstrom

    THE INSIDER (Buena Vista)
    Michael Mann

    THE SIXTH SENSE (Buena Vista/Spyglass Entertainment)
    M. Night Shyamalan

    Russell Crowe in THE INSIDER (Buena Vista)
    Richard Farnsworth in THE STRAIGHT STORY (Buena Vista/Le Studio Canal Plus)
    Sean Penn in SWEET AND LOWDOWN (Sony Pictures Classics/Intermedia)
    Kevin Spacey in AMERICAN BEAUTY (DreamWorks/UIP)
    Denzel Washington in THE HURRICANE (Universal/Beacon)

    Annette Bening in AMERICAN BEAUTY (DreamWorks/UIP)
    Janet McTeer in TUMBLEWEEDS (New Line)
    Julianne Moore in THE END OF THE AFFAIR (Columbia)
    Meryl Streep in MUSIC OF THE HEART (Miramax)
    Hilary Swank in BOYS DON'T CRY (Fox Searchlight)

    Michael Caine in THE CIDER HOUSE RULES (Miramax)
    Tom Cruise in MAGNOLIA (New Line)
    Michael Clarke Duncan in THE GREEN MILE (Warner Bros/Universal Pictures International)
    Jude Law in THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (Paramount/Miramax)
    Haley Joel Osment in THE SIXTH SENSE (Buena Vista/Spyglass Entertainment)

    Toni Collette in THE SIXTH SENSE (Buena Vista/Spyglass Entertainment)
    Angelina Jolie in GIRL, INTERRUPTED (Columbia)
    Catherine Keener in BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (USA Films/Universal Pictures International)
    Samantha Morton in SWEET AND LOWDOWN (Sony Pictures Classics/Intermedia)
    Chloe Sevigny in BOYS DON'T CRY (Fox Searchlight)


    ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER (Sony Pictures Classics/United Artists Films)
    An El Deseo S.A./Renn/France 2 Cinema Production
    Dir: Pedro Almodovar

    A Galate Films/France 2 Cinema/Les Productions de la Gueville/Les Productions JMH/Antelope (UK) Limited/National Studio Ltd/Bac Films Production
    Dir: Eric Valli

    EAST-WEST (Sony Pictures Classics/UGC)
    A UGC YM Production
    Dir: Regis Wagnier

    SOLOMON AND GAENOR (Sony Pictures Classics/FilmFour International)
    An Apt Film and Television Company Production
    Dir: Paul Morrison

    UNDER THE SUN (Svensk Filmindustrie)
    A Sweetwater AB Production
    Dir: Colin Nutley