'Brokeback Mountain' Leads Academy Awards Field with 8 Nominations
1/31/2006 1:32 PM PT
By DAVID GERMAIN, AP MOVIE WRITER
The cowboy love story "Brokeback Mountain" led the Academy Awards field Tuesday with eight nominations, among them best picture and honors for actor Heath Ledger and director Ang Lee.
Also nominated for best picture were the Truman Capote story "Capote"; the ensemble drama "Crash"; the Edward R. Murrow chronicle "Good Night, and Good Luck"; the assassination thriller "Munich."
The Johnny Cash biography, "Walk the Line," considered a likely best picture nominee, was shut out, though Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon earned acting nominations for the film.
George Clooney picked up three nominations: as supporting actor for his role as a steadfast CIA undercover agent in "Syriana" and best director and co-writer for his Edward R. Murrow tale "Good Night, and Good Luck."
Along with best-actor contender Ledger, and directing nominee Lee, "Brokeback Mountain" scored nominations for Michelle Williams as supporting actress, Jake Gyllenhaal as supporting actor and Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana for their screenplay adaptation of Annie Proulx's short story.
The acting categories were a mix of familiar Oscar faces such as past winners Judi Dench and Charlize Theron, veterans like Clooney, Witherspoon, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn and Felicity Huffman gaining their first academy attention, and young performers such as Williams and Amy Adams.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, the best-actor favorite for his remarkable impersonation of author Truman Capote in "Capote," joined Ledger in the best-actor category. Hoffman has triumphed at earlier film honors, including the Golden Globes.
Along with Hoffman, Ledger and Phoenix, the other nominees were Terrence Howard as a small-time hood turned rap singer in "Hustle & Flow" and Strathairn as newsman Murrow in "Good Night, and Good Luck."
The best-actress race presumably will shape up as a two-woman contest between Huffman in a gender-bending role as a man about to undergo sex-change surgery in "Transamerica" and Witherspoon as singer June Carter, Cash's musical companion and future wife, in "Walk the Line."
Huffman won the Golden Globe for best dramatic actress, while Witherspoon earned the Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy. Witherspoon beat Huffman on Sunday for the best-actress prize at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Also nominated for the best-actress Oscar were Dench as a society dame who starts a nude stage revue in 1930s London in "Mrs. Henderson Presents"; Keira Knightley as the romantic heroine of the Jane Austen adaptation "Pride & Prejudice"; Charlize Theron as a mine worker who leads a sexual-harassment lawsuit against male co-workers in "North Country."