[ 2007-01-24 10:14 ]
"Dreamgirls" led the Oscar field with eight nominations on Tuesday, but
its historic omission from the coveted best picture and directing
categories instantly transformed the race for Hollywood's top honors into
a wild guessing game.
Musical drama "Dreamgirls" led the Oscar field with eight
nominations on Tuesday, but its historic omission from the coveted best picture and directing categories instantly
transformed the race for Hollywood's top honors into a wild guessing game.
The event's organizer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said
it was the first time in the awards' 79-year history that the leading nominee
failed to earn a best picture nomination.
"Babel," a globe-spanning exploration of clashing cultures and tragic
coincidences, secured seven nominations, followed by Spanish-language adult
fairy tale "Pan's Labyrinth" and the British royals drama "The Queen" with six
"Babel," "The Queen" and "The Departed" will compete for best picture
alongside Clint Eastwood's Japanese-language World War Two saga "Letters from
Iwo Jima" and the low-budget comedy hit "Little Miss Sunshine."
The Academy Awards will be held on February 25 in Hollywood.
Scorsese, Eastwood, and "Babel" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu of
Mexico, will face off for best director with British filmmakers Stephen Frears
for "The Queen" and Paul Greengrass for the September 11 docudrama "United 93."
Greengrass and Inarritu are first-time nominees.
Scorsese, 64, has been nominated six times for directing but has never won.
He was considered the frontrunner two years ago with "The Aviator," but lost out
to Eastwood and his dark-horse
contender "Million Dollar Baby."
"Departed" producer Graham King told Reuters he would like Scorsese to end
his losing streak but the director was "completely driven by film and the art of
filmmaking" rather than by awards.
The film, Scorsese's follow-up to "The Aviator," was initially envisaged as a
bloody thriller with no Oscar pretensions. But rave reviews and the best ticket
sales of Scorsese's career made it an awards frontrunner. Scorsese won the
Golden Globe for the film last week.
But movie pundit Tom O'Neil said Eastwood and his low-profile "Iwo Jima" --
with U.S. ticket sales of just $2.4 million -- have "once again ambushed the
Oscar race when Martin Scorsese was out front," and was now the one to beat.
Most Oscar pundits had expected "Dreamgirls" to be among the main contenders,
but its omission from the top two races was "a shocking thumbs-down," said
O'Neil, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times Web site theenvelope.com.
The film's highest-profile mentions were in the supporting acting races,
where veteran comic Eddie Murphy and newcomer Jennifer Hudson, a former
contestant on television's "American Idol" talent
show, received their first nominations.
Rolling Stone magazine critic Peter Travers said the best picture race was
now a toss-up. If Oscar voters find
the Scorsese and Eastwood films too violent, "The Queen" too British and "Babel"
too multilingual, "Little Miss Sunshine" could win. The low-budget comedy was
recently named best picture by the Producers Guild of America, a group whose
choices are often echoed by the Oscars.