Violent dark drama "No Country for Old Men" and oil epic "There Will Be Blood" led the Oscar field with eight nods each Tuesday when nominations for the 80th annual Academy Awards were announced.
Oscar winner US actress Kathy Bates (L) and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis announce the 80th Academy Awards nominations.
The two films were nominated for best picture along with British romance-tragedy "Atonement," teenage pregnancy comedy " Juno" and crime drama "Michael Clayton."
The best actor nominees were George Clooney ("Michael Clayton"); Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood"); Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"); Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah") and Viggo Mortensen ("Eastern Promises").
British actor Day-Lewis won this year's Golden Globe as best actor in a drama for his portrayal of a driven, murderous oil man in "There Will Be Blood." He also won a best actor Oscar winner for the 1989 film "My Left Foot."
The best actress category could come down to a contest between veteran Julie Christie for her portrayal of an Alzheimer's patient in "Away from Her" and Ellen Page for her role in "Juno" as a sharp-tongued teen confronting an unplanned pregnancy.
Christie, a British actress who has attained legendary status, won the best actress Oscar for the 1965 film "Darling," while Canadian actress Page will turn 21 on Feb. 21, three days before the Oscars ceremony.
Other nominees for best actress are Cate Blanchett ("Elizabeth: The Golden Age"), Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") and Laura Linney ("The Savages").
The best director nominees customarily mirror the best picture nominees, but that was not the case this year. Julian Schnabel was nominated for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," which was not a nominee, while "Atonement" director Joe Wright was bypassed.
Along with Schnabel, the nominated directors were Jason Reitman ("Juno"); Tony Gilroy ("Michael Clayton"); brothers Joel and Ethan Coen ("No Country for Old Men") and Paul Thomas Anderson ("There Will Be Blood").
Nominated for best foreign language film were "Beaufort" from Israel, "The Counterfeiters" from Austria, "Katyn" from Poland, " Mongol" from Kazakhstan and "12" from Russia.
The Academy Awards show are scheduled for Feb. 24 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Organizers have said the ceremony will be held as scheduled even if the current writers strike is not settled by then.
In the absence of a settlement between the writers and Hollywood studios, actors would probably boycott the Oscars to avoid crossing picket lines, making the ceremony a dreary affair, rather than the movie industry's most glamorous night.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA), which organized the strike, has rejected Academy requests for waivers to use writers and clips from motion pictures and past Oscar shows.
However, it was reported that WGA leaders and entertainment industry moguls were holding informal talks that could set the groundwork for resumed negotiations, leading to a possible settlement.
(Xinhua News Agency January 23, 2008)