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Zhang Yimou's Movie Gets Oscar Nomination
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The musical Dreamgirls led the list of Academy Award nominations announced in Los Angeles Tuesday in the musical Dreamgirls. It was nominated in eight categories but was shut out of the most important Best Picture category in favor of Babel, The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen.

Chinese director Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower received a nomination for Costume Design but the movie is out of race for Best Foreign Language Film which After the Wedding (Denmark), Days of Glory (Algeria), The Lives Of Others (Germany), Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico) and Water (Canada) will compete for. Another Sino-American film The Painted Veil got no nominations though it won an award for its music at the Golden Globes last week.

Nominated for best actor are Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond, Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson, Peter O'Toole for Venus, Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happiness and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.

Whitaker, who won the Golden Globe last week for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, is considered the front runner in the race for best actor but O'Toole, who portrays an aging actor who becomes infatuated with a young girl, could be a sentimental favorite. He's been nominated seven times but never won an Oscar. 

Vying for best actress is Penelope Cruz for Volver, Judi Dench for Notes on a Scandal, Helen Mirren for The Queen, Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada and Kate Winslet for Little Children.

Mirren, who collected a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the days following the death of Princess Diana, is an early favorite.

The failure of Dreamgirls to make the list of best picture nominees was a surprise for the much-hyped film which won the Golden Globe last week for best film in the musical/comedy category.

Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson each earned supporting acting nominations for Dreamgirls which was also nominated for costume design, art direction, sound mixing and has three nominations for best original song.

Babel, the Golden Globe-winning drama following the global repercussions of a single rifle shot, earned seven nominations. In addition to best picture the film is up for best director for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, best supporting actress for both Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi, film editing, original score and original screenplay.

Little Miss Sunshine - a comedy about a family's trip from Albuquerque, New Mexico to California so their daughter can compete in a beauty pageant - was a surprise winner at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday.

The low-budget, sweet-and-sour comedy made a splash at last year's Sundance Film Festival earning four nominations including best picture, best supporting actress, best supporting actor and best original screenplay.

Martin Scorsese earned his sixth Oscar nomination as best director for The Departed and he's never won the prize. Also up for best director are Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Babel, Stephen Frears for The Queen and Paul Greengrass for United 93.

Oscar nominations were announced in Beverly Hills by Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and former Oscar nominee Salma Hayek. The 79th annual Oscar ceremony is to be held February 25 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

(Xinhua News Agency January 24, 2007)

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