The Academy Awardnominations, announced this morning in Los Angeles, produced a few surprisesbut as expected were dominated by The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship OfThe Ring which scored 13 nominationsand A Beautiful Mind which scoredeight. Other big winners were Robert Altman's Gosford Park which was nominated in seven categories includingbest picture and director, and Todd Field's In The Bedroom which was nominated in five major categories,including best picture, although Field himself was excluded from the bestdirector list.
Baz Luhrmann's MoulinRouge was the fifth best picture nominee and took a total of eight nominations butagain Luhrmann didn't make the director shortlist. Neither Field norLuhrmann go away empty-handed, however, Field winning a screenplay nominationand Luhrmann, as one of the producers, a best picture nomination.
The tally of 13 nominations by The Fellowship Of The Ring has only ever been bettered by All About Eve in 1950 and Titanic in 1997 which both scored 14. As expected, it was named in all technical categories but even took an acting nod in the best supporting actor category for Ian McKellen as Gandalf.
Meanwhile in the foreignlanguage film category, alongside expected nominees France's Amelie and Bosnia/Herzegovina's No Man'sLand, Norway's Elling, India's Lagaan and Argentina's Son Of The Bride made the shortlist. While it was the 32ndnomination for France in this category, it was only the fifth for Argentina,the fourth for Norway, the third for India and the first for Bosnia &Herzegovina.
Joining favourites Shrek and Monsters Inc in the inaugural best animated feature category wasParamount's Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
Ridley Scott won his thirddirecting nomination for Black Hawk Down and David Lynch got his third for Mulholland Drive, displacing Field and Luhrmann in the category whichotherwise went with the best picture nominees: Robert Altman for GosfordPark, Ron Howard for A BeautifulMind and Peter Jackson for TheFellowship Of The Ring. It isAltman's fifth directing nomination after MASH, Nashville, The Player and Short Cuts and there were sighs of relief from the USA Films camp when his namewas announced since he was curiously omitted from the recent DGA Awardsshortlist. Altman won the Golden Globe last month.
It's a first for bothJackson and Howard in the directing category, although both have previousnominations, Jackson as the screenwriter of Heavenly Creatures in 1994 and Howard as the producer of Apollo 13 in 1995. Jackson won a total of three nominationsfor his producing and writing duties on The Fellowship, the most of any individual this year.
The Academy opted forsentimental favourites in the best actor category, shortlisting Sean Penn as thementally challenged Sam in I Am Samand Will Smith for his energetic performance as Muhammad Ali in Ali. They join Russell Crowe, who wins his thirdconsecutive best actor nomination for A Beautiful Mind, Denzel Washington who gets his fifth actingnomination for Training Day andBritain's Tom Wilkinson for In The Bedroom. Wilkinson had been considered an outsider, althoughmany view his performance as the film's best and the heart and soul of the drama.
Omitted from the best actornominees were - notably - Billy Bob Thornton for either The ManWho Wasn't There or Monster'sBall and Gene Hackman who won theGolden Globe as best actor in a comedy or musical for The Royal Tenenbaums. It's the first time in history that twoAfrican American actors (Washington and Smith) have gone up against each otherin this category.
Meanwhile Nicole Kidmanfinally won her first Oscar nomination for Moulin Rouge, although many expected it for her other performancein The Others. The tide probablyturned in favour of the former when she won the Golden Globe as best actress ina musical or comedy for Moulin Rouge and lost in the drama category for The Others.
Also clinching their firstnominations were Halle Berry for Monster's Ball and Renee Zellwegger for Bridget Jones'sDiary. Judi Dench scored her fourthnomination in five years for Iris and Sissy Spacek - probably thefavourite in this category - got her sixth for In The Bedroom. Actresses who failed to make the final cut includedNaomi Watts for Mulholland Drive,Tilda Swinton in The Deep End,Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blondeand Cate Blanchett in anything.
In the supportingcategories, Golden Globe winner Jim Broadbent took his first nomination forplaying John Bayley in Iris, andKate Winslet scored her third for playing young Iris Murdoch in the same film.
Broadbent was joined byfellow Brits Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast) and Ian McKellen (The Fellowship Of The Ring) as well as Ethan Hawke, a surprise nominee for TrainingDay and Jon Voight for playing HowieCoss