Dreamgirls led the Oscar race with eight nominations this morning but the hit musical was shut out of the best picture and director categories. It also took three nominations in the best song category, meaning that it could only win five Oscars at most.

Best picture nominees were Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel, Martin Scorsese's The Departed, Clint Eastwood's Japanese-language Letters From Iwo Jima, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Little Miss Sunshine and Stephen Frears' The Queen.

In the directing category, Scorsese, Inarritu, Eastwood, Frears will compete with Paul Greengrass for United 93. It's Scorsese's sixth directing nomination, Frears' second and Eastwood's fourth. Inarritu and Greengrass are first-time nominees in this category.

In the foreign-language category, the nominated films were After The Wedding (Denmark), Days Of Glory (Algeria), The Lives Of Others (Germany), Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico) and Water (Canada). Pedro Almdovar's Volver which was considered a favourite in this category was shut out of the list, despite scoring a best actress nomination for Penelope Cruz.

Babel took seven nominations including two in the supporting actress category for Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza, while tying on six nominations apiece were the Spanish-language Pan's Labyrinth which scored in screenplay and cinematography categories and The Queen which won nods for Helen Mirren as best actress and Peter Morgan for best original screenplay.

Leonardo DiCaprio won a best actor nomination for Blood Diamond, not The Departed, and he goes up against Forest Whitaker for The Last King Of Scotland, Will Smith for The Pursuit Of Happyness, Peter O'Toole for Venus and Ryan Gosling in the indie favourite Half Nelson. It marks DiCaprio's third nomination, Smith's second and O'Toole's eighth. O'Toole has never won an acting Oscar, although he was awarded an honorary trophy in 2003.

Sacha Baron Cohen, a Golden Globe winner for Borat, did not win a best actor nomination and must satisfy himself with a best adapted screenplay nod.

Cruz and Mirren are joined in the best actress category by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, Judi Dench in Notes On A Scandal and Kate Winslet in Little Children. Winslet's nomination is her fifth, a remarkable achievement for the 31-year-old actress. It's the third nomination for Mirren, the sixth for Dench and, entering uncharted territory in Oscar history and surpassing Katharine Hepburn's 13 nods, the 14th for Meryl Streep.

Djimon Hounsou won his second Oscar nomination in the best supporting actor category for Blood Diamond and he will face off with Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine, Jackie Earle Haley in Little Children, Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls and Mark Wahlberg, beating out his cast-mate Jack Nicholson, in The Departed.

In the supporting actress category, Golden Globe winner Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls is joined by 10-year-old Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine, Cate Blanchett in Notes On A Scandal and the two Babel actresses.

Best documentary feature nominees were Deliver Us From Evil, Jesus Camp, An Inconvenient Truth, Iraq In Fragments and My Country, My Country, while in the best animated feature category, the nominees are Cars, Happy Feet and Monster House.

The nominees are:

Best Picture
The Departed
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Best Director
Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Babel
Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima
Paul Greengrass, United 93
Stephen Frears, The Queen
Martin Scorsese, The Departed

Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Peter O'Toole, Venus
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Best Actress
Penelope Cruz, Volver
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Helen Mirren, The Queen
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Kate Winslet, Little Children

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed

Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

Best Original Screenplay
Letters From Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

Best Adapted Screenplay
Children of Men
The Departed
Little Children
Notes on a Scandal

Best Animated Film
Happy Feet
Monster House

Best Foreign-Language Film
After The Wedding
Days of Glory (Indigenes)
The Lives of Others
Pan's Labyrinth

Achievement In Art Direction
The Good Shepherd
Pan's Labyrinth
Pirates Of The
Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
The Prestige

Achievement In Cinematography
The Black Dahlia
Children Of Men
The Illusionist
Pan's Labyrinth
The Prestige

Achievement In Costume Design
Curse Of The Golden Flower
The Devil Wears Prada
Marie Antoinette
The Queen

Best Documentary Feature
Deliver Us From Evil
An Inconvenient Truth
Iraq In Fragments
Jesus Camp
My Country, My Country

Best Documentary Short Subject
The Blood Of Yingzhou District
Recycled Life
Rehearsing A Dream
Two Hands

Achievement In Film Editing
Blood Diamond
Children Of Men
The Departed
United 93

Achievement In Makeup
Pan's Labyrinth

Original Score
The Good German
Notes On A Scandal
Pan's Labyrinth
The Queen

Original Song
'I Need To Wake Up' - An Inconvenient Truth
'Listen' - Dreamgirls
'Love You I Do' - Dreamgirls
'Our Town' - Cars
'Patience' - Dreamgirls

Best Animated Short Film
The Danish Poet
The Little Matchgirl
No Time For Nuts

Best Live Action Short Film
Binta And The Great Idea (Binta Y La Gran Idea)
Eramos Pocos (One Too Many)
Helmer & Son
The Saviour
West Bank Story

Achievement In Sound Editing
Blood Diamond
Flags Of Our Fathers
Letters From
Iwo Jima
Pirates Of The
Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Achievement In Sound Mixing
Blood Diamond
Flags Of Our Fathers
Pirates Of The
Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Achievement In Visual Effects
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Superman Returns

More to follow