'Rings' Receives 11 Oscar Nominations
By DAVID GERMAIN, AP Movie Writer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," the final chapter in Peter Jackson's majestic fantasy trilogy, led the Academy Awards race Tuesday with 11 nominations, including best picture and director.
The Napoleonic era naval adventure "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" was right behind with 10 nominations, among them best picture and director.
Bill Murray, Diane Keaton, Sean Penn and Charlize Theron were among the leading acting nominees.
Other best-picture nominees for the 76th annual Oscars included "Lost in Translation," about two lonely Americans in Tokyo; the brooding murder thriller "Mystic River"; and the horse-racing drama "Seabiscuit."
Along with best picture and director, the nominations for "Return of the King" included original score and song, visual effects, film editing and adapted screenplay for the script based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic.
"Return of the King" led last weekend's Golden Globes with four wins, including best dramatic picture and director, and its broad critical and fan support give the film the inside track at the Oscars.
Besides Jackson and "Master and Commander" director Peter Weir, the directing nominees included Sofia Coppola for "Lost in Translation," only the third woman ever nominated for best director. The previous nominees were Lina Wertmuller for 1976's "Seven Beauties" and Jane Campion for 1993's "The Piano." Both lost.
Coppola, the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, also earned an original-screenplay nomination for "Lost in Translation."
The other directing nominees: Clint Eastwood for "Mystic River" and a surprise choice, Fernando Meirelles for the Brazilian film "City of God."
The most notable snub came for the Civil War saga "Cold Mountain," which failed to get nominations for best picture, director Anthony Minghella, or lead actress Nicole Kidman. The film did get seven nominations, including best actor for Jude Law as a Confederate deserter making his way home to his sweetheart in "Cold Mountain." Renee Zellweger landed a best actress nomination for her role as a no-nonsense Confederate woman in the film.
Along with Law, best actor nominees are Johnny Depp as a wily buccaneer in "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"; Ben Kingsley as an Iranian immigrant fighting for possession of a home in "House of Sand and Fog"; Bill Murray as a has-been actor shooting a commercial in Japan in "Lost in Translation"; and Sean Penn as an ex-hoodlum out for revenge over his daughter's death in "Mystic River."
Nominees for lead actress included a surprise pick, Keisha Castle-Hughes as a New Zealand girl who bucks tradition to become leader of her Maori tribe in "Whale Rider."
The other best actress nominees were Diane Keaton as a down-on-love playwright unexpectedly romanced by two men in "Something's Gotta Give"; Samantha Morton as an Irish immigrant mother in "In America"; Charlize Theron as real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in "Monster"; and Naomi Watts as a grieving wife and mother seeking vengeance in "21 Grams."
Contenders for supporting actor are Alec Baldwin as a sleazy casino owner in "The Cooler"; Benicio Del Toro as an ex-con whose effort to go straight ends in tragedy in "21 Grams"; Djimon Hounsou as a standoffish artist dying of AIDS in "In America"; Tim Robbins as a man tormented by childhood abuse in "Mystic River"; and Ken Watanabe as a samurai battling Western influences among his countrymen in "The Last Samurai."
Besides Zellweger, supporting actress nominees are Shohreh Aghdashloo as a compassionate Iranian immigrant in "House of Sand and Fog"; Patricia Clarkson as an acerbic mother coping with breast cancer in "Pieces of April"; Marcia Gay Harden as a suspicious wife in "Mystic River"; and Holly Hunter as a single mom trying to rein in her defiant daughter in "thirteen."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated all six Golden Globe acting winners for Oscars. Penn and Theron won the Globes for dramatic lead roles, Murray and Keaton won for comedy leads and Robbins and Zellweger took the supporting-actor prizes.
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