The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
Producer Barrie Osborne partnered with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh on the entire Lord Of The Rings trilogy and has been nominated for all three episodes. As part of a select band that includes Jackson, he wears a tattoo bearing the elven legend for the number 10. "When I began working on this project five years ago nobody knew each other and now we're like family - and although we'll probably never all work together again you don't lose touch with these people. We were driven by Tolkien's books, but a trilogy of this size will probably never be made again because who would take such a risk'"
Howard Shore wrote the score for all three episodes of The Lord Of The Rings, a task that took him three years and four months to complete. He won the 2002 Academy Award for The Fellowship Of The Ring and last weekend picked up the best score Golden Globe for Return Of The King. "It's gratifying to have the movie honoured in this way from our colleagues at the Academy. We tried to make the best movie we could and felt a great responsibility to put the book on the screen as best we could."
"Obviously we're extremely proud of the recognition from our peers today," Rolf Mittweg, New Line's president and chief operating officer of worldwide distribution and marketing, said. "To get 11 nominations like this is an extremely rewarding experience."
Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World
Tom Rothman, chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, said he was especially proud of the 10 nominations received for the studio's period naval adventure. "I was working for [the film's producer] Samuel Goldwyn Jr when he optioned Patrick O'Brian's stories over a decade ago and when I came to Fox I called him and we brought it over here. It's a credit to Samuel that this got as far as it did. What these nominations say is that ambition will be rewarded, that it's OK to aim high and that you can make a big adventure film with the sweep and grandeur of old big screen Hollywood entertainment and still keep the story rooted in character.
For veteran producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr, the process of bringing Patrick O'Brian's world to the big screen has been a labour of love - undeterred by an interesting caveat from the author himself. "I fell in love with Patrick O'Brian's books and bought the option about 14 years ago. Patrick came out here so we could spend some time together and told me, "You've made a mistake because my books weren't written with cinema in mind." But I'm happy to say I stayed with it and I'm pleased with the recognition."
Mystic River, The Last Samurai
Mystic River picked up six nominations in leading categories, including best picture, best director for Clint Eastwood and acting nods for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. The Last Samurai earned four nods, the most prominent of which was best supporting actor for Ken Watanabe. "We are very excited about the nominations and very proud of our nominees in each category," Alan Horn, president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros, told Screen International. "We're very happy that Ken Watanabe got singled out for The Last Samurai, which is a big film for us, and proud of all the nominations for Mystic River."
Lost In Translation
Sofia Coppola is personally in the running for three out of four of Lost In Translation's nominations, namely best picture (as producer), director and screenplay: "It's sad that Scarlett [Johansson] didn't get nominated as the movie was just two performances and we wouldn't have a best picture without her," she said. "As for the fact that I'm the third woman director to be nominated in history, I was pretty amazed when I found that out this morning. It's pretty surprising but hopefully there will be many more soon."
HBO/Fine Line's festival darling American Splendor, which dips into the idiosyncratic world of comic book creator Harvey Pekar, earned an original screenplay nomination for the husband and wife team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. The nomination continues what the writer-directors have previously referred to as one of the most amazing rides of their lives. "It has been a labour of love and for good or for bad we have been inspired by Harvey and also connected very deeply with him." Robert added: "This film's like the little engine that keeps on going. It's a piece of Americana that people are not used to seeing in movies and we're elated."
Jude Law's best actor nomination is the most high profile of Cold Mountain's seven and his measured performance establishes him as one of Hollywood's leading men. He previously earned a best supporting actor nomination for The Talented Mr Ripley in 2000. "Cold Mountain was an extraordinary experience for everyone involved and it is very gratifying to see that others have enjoyed our work as much as we did," he said in a statement. "To be nominated for my performance, which is only one role among many, is a huge honour."
Regular Anthony Minghella collaborator Gabriel Yared is aiming for his second Oscar statuette after winning for best original dramatic score for The English Patient in 1997. "I would have loved Anthony Minghella to be nominated because it is thanks to him that we're all here. At the same time I know he has no ego and is very happy for his 'family' to be up there. He was the first to call to congratulate me and I thank him for all his support during my work and I'm thrilled by this good news."
The Fog Of War
Remarkably for a man whose name is synonymous with documentary, Errol Morris, the creator of The Thin Blue Line and Mr Death, has just picked up his first ever nomination for The Fog Of War. "I am delighted to be nominated. I have waited for a nomination on this day many times in the past and I wondered if it would ever happen. We now see documentary in a much broader sense than before. The documentary is not one thing; it is many things, incorporating many different styles, many different ways of telling stories based on real people and real events. When I first started making them I thought of myself as a documentary heretic because what I was doing was so much at odds with many of the other documentaries that were being produced at the time. For me, my films were the opposite of cinema verite and people would say I wasn't concerned with the truth. Concern for the truth is not a matter of style - in all my films my hope has been to try to understand what really happened."
The Fog Of War, Zelary, The Triplets Of Belleville
The Fog Of War was released in the US through Sony Pictures Classics, which picked up another three nominations for The Triplets Of Belleville and the Czech Republic's foreign language nominee Zelary. "We're thrilled that The Fog Of War has got some recognition," company co-president Tom Bernard said. "It's such an important movie in today's political climate. We're also delighted to see nominations for The Triplets Of Belleville and Zelary. We try to back good movies from around the world and to have a documentary, a foreign language Czech film and an animated title is a good representation of what we try to do."
Nathaniel Kahn waited a long time before he felt he was ready to shoot My Architect, a moving exploration of the life of his father and legendary architect Louis Kahn that has earned the film-maker a best documentary nod. "As documentary makers we always look for stories that are really compelling and I waited a while until I was ready to do this one. The main thing you hope for is that the film will get seen, which is why it's so gratifying that people have begun to support documentaries over the past few years. I hope more and more that people will regard both fiction and non-fiction films as movies."
Longtime Tim Burton collaborator Danny Elfman is yet to win an Academy Award although he did earn the distinction of being nominated twice in 1998 - for Good Will Hunting in the original dramatic score category and Men In Black in the musical or comedy section. "I pretty much wrote the score backwards and started with a 12-minute cue at the end of the movie that contained all the fragments and ideas I needed to express. Having worked with Tim for 18 years I have got to know him pretty well. In a bad collaboration the director will push you in a direction you don't want to go and in a good one he will push you in a direction you do want to go, and that's what happens between me and Tim - he pushes me to come up with something extra."
Girl With A Pearl Earring, The Cooler
Tom Ortenberg, president of Lions Gate Films Releasing, says the studio is now the go-to destination for passion projects: "We're very happy and grateful for three nominations for Girl With A Pearl Earring and sensed we'd be a contender. For Eduardo Serra to be nominated alongside big studio titles in such a competitive field as cinematography is very rewarding and our best supporting actor nominee Alec Baldwin has been a dream to work with and gives such a visceral performance in The Cooler. This confirms our position as the leading independent film studio. We've received 15 nominations in the last six years and take a back seat to nobody in our ability to campaign and receive awards recognition."
Girl With A Pearl Earring
Dien Van Straalen earned a best costume design nomination for her work on Girl With A Pearl Earring, an assignment that offered challenges simply because there was so little source material. Speaking from the set of The Libertine, Laurence Dunmore's account of the life of the Earl of Rochester that stars Johnny Depp that is currently filming in England, she said: "It was always hard to find the right fabrics and get the costumes together because there weren't many references beside the paintings, so I had to use my imagination. The Dutch look was quite different from England and France back then because it was quite puritanical. I wanted people to look like they were wearing clothes, not costumes, and it was challenge."
For Eduardo Serra, cinematographer on Girl With A Pearl Earring, much of the pleasure of working on Peter Webber's film derived from the opportunity to use plenty of natural light to recreate the world of Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer. Speaking from Germany, where he is working on Kevin Spacey's Bobby Darin project Beyond The Sea, he said: "It is such an enjoyable achievement to get this nomination for a film without special effects because it allowed me to work around light and shows it is possible to have different types of films. I genuinely didn't expect this and am very happy."
Capturing The Friedmans
Andrew Jarecki may have picked up a best documentary nomination but that doesn't mean Capturing The Friedmans has lost its knack for stirring controversy. "I'm really pleased about the nomination and the timing of this is interesting because I'm encouraged by the fact that Jessie Friedman has been able to use the material we used in the film to lobby to have his conviction overturned. It shows that documentaries really can make a difference."
The Triplets Of Belleville:
Speaking en route from Los Angeles to Montreal Benoit Charest, who shared a best original song nomination for The Triplets Of Belleville with the film's director Sylvain Chomet said: "It isn't in every life that you get nominated for an Oscar, so naturally I'm surprised and excited. I met Sylvain in Montreal when he suggested the idea and the rest is history."
Thomas Newman had been nominated six times for a best original score Academy Award before today's latest nod for Finding Nemo. "Working on Finding Nemo was a scary and wonderful experience because unlike live action, where you can rely on moods to sustain feelings for a while, in animation things are always changing. I have learned never to expect anything because you always wonder if you will be nominated and then it doesn't happen, so this is great."
Jim Sheridan, the director and co-screenwriter with daughters Naomi and Kirsten of In America, was celebrating his original screenplay nomination in Los Angeles when he spoke to ScreenDaily.com: "Writing the screenplay was a difficult process because the more personal you get the more universal it becomes. It's a very emotional film and mythological in the way it deals with the Irish coming to America. It was a very humbling process when your kids write about and you go, 'Is that what they think'' It's like getting a report card on yourself. Everybody thinks I have a problem separating fantasy from reality but I sometimes think fantasy has a problem separating from me."
Screen Producers Ireland issued a statement following In America's three nominations, a portion of which read: "In America was predominantly shot in Ireland using a highly skilled Irish crew of some 200 people. It will act as proof of what Ireland has to offer, both as a location for film, and as a hotbed of talent. For an Irish film to receive three Oscar nominations is a phenomenal achievement. This achievement also shows that the Government's faith in Irish film, shown by extending Section 481, is merited and to be applauded."
Something's Gotta Give
Days after her Golden Globe win for best actress in a musical or comedy for Something's Gotta Give, Diane Keaton picked up a best actress Academy Award nod. "My initial reaction was disbelief," she said in a statement. "To be getting this kind of recognition at this time in my life is just a fantastic honour."
After learning she had earned a best actress nomination for her role in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's stirring drama 21 Grams, Naomi Watts found the whole experience rather disarming. "This is like an out-of-body experience - I have to call home and connect with the core," the Australian actress told ScreenDaily.com. "I had an initial wave of excitement and now I just want to tell all my friends and family. I agreed to do this movie before the script was written because I loved the work of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and [writer] Guillermo Arriaga and thought Amores Perros was a beautiful film. My character Cristina goes through unimaginable emotional pain and I feel lucky to have had the chance to play her."
Something's stirring in Sweden. Mikael Hafstrom's boarding school drama Evil picked up a best foreign language film nomination, which the director says dovetails with his country's reputation as a wellspring of exciting young talent. "This is a very unusual day. Yesterday evening we won the Swedish Oscar equivalent and today I get called to say we have an Oscar nomination. I fell in love with this project because it touched on so many important issues and gave me the chance to work with so many great actors. We have a new generation of film-makers coming through in Sweden and hopefully this nomination will provide another energy boost."
City Of God
Daniel Rezende earned a best editor nomination for his work on the Brazilian box office hit City Of God. "An editor can't ever be good without an excellent director, screenplay, photography and actors," Rezende said in a statement. "So I am glad and honoured to have worked with such a good crew."
Braulio Mantovani is in the running for a best adapted screenplay Oscar for City Of God. "I really wasn't expecting this. I'm extremely honoured with this nomination and wanted to thank the Academy for acknowledging my work," Mantovani said in a statement. "I just wanted to say that the script is a tool that would not work without the talent of [director] Fernando Meirelles, the entire cast and the crew."
The Barbarian Invasions
Denys Arcand's The Barbarian Invasions was a hit at Cannes last year and now has a best foreign language film nomination for Canada and a best original screenplay nod: "I am delighted, obviously, with the best foreign language film nomination, and I am deeply touched that my script has been recognised as one of the best original screenplays," Arcand said in a statement. "I am truly grateful."