Chicago takes centre stage, once again, for Oscar nominations

Story by Jack Foley

SURPRISES were few and far between as the nominations for the 75th Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday, with Golden Globe favourites Chicago, Gangs of New York and The Hours leading the way with 32 nominations between them.

All three films will square up for the coveted Best Film award, along with Peter Jackson’s lavish Lord of the Rings sequel, The Two Towers, and Roman Polanski’s Palme d’Or winner, The Pianist, while their stars and directors will battle it out in the remaining categories.

Rob Marshall’s Chicago heads the nominees list, however, with a staggering 13 - although whether that will prove an unlucky number remains to be seen.

Of its stars, Renee Zellweger is up for best actress, while Catherine Zeta-Jones and Queen Latifah will vy for best supporting actress. However, while co-star John C Reilly secured a best supporting actor nod, its main star, Richard Gere, failed to convert his Golden Globe success into an Oscar nomination.

That category (best actor) will be contested by Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York), Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt), Adrien Brody (The Pianist), Nicolas Cage (Adaptation) and Sir Michael Caine (The Quiet American).

Fighting Zellweger for the best actress honour, meanwhile, is Golden Globe winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours), Diane Lane (Unfaithful), Salma Hayek (Frida) and Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven), which is a virtual re-run of many awards ceremonies.

Meryl Streep, who had been tipped to secure a nomination for The Hours in the best actress category, failed to do so, but did record her 13th nomination for best supporting actress in Adaptation, the latest movie from the highly-creative Being John Malkovich team.

And talking of multiple nominations, Jack Nicholson's best actor nomination is the 12th nomination of his career, setting a record for any man at the Oscars.

A triumph would mean that he has won four Academy Awards in four decades, having first won in 1976 for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. But he faces stiff competition from Daniel Day-Lewis, the man he pipped to the accolade at the recent Golden Globes.

Gangs of New York, meanwhile, received an impressive 10 nominations, despite the mixed critical reaction it received from the American press. Its director, Martin Scorsese, is still looking for his first Academy Award after six nominations.

He faces off against Chicago’s Rob Marshall, The Hours' Stephen Daldry, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, for Talk To Her, and The Pianist’s Roman Polanski.

Another actress with her eye on the record books is Julianne Moore, who is nominated in both the best actress and best supporting actress categories for Far From Heaven and The Hours respectively. If she wins, it will be the first time any actress has done this at the Academy Awards.

Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers is one of three films with six nominations, mainly in technical categories; the other two are Salma Hayek’s labour of love, Frida, and Sam Mendes' Road To Perdition, whose nominations include a posthumous mention for late cinematographer, Conrad L Hall.

The awards will be handed out at a glittering ceremony at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on Sunday, March 23.

The main nominations in full:
Best Picture

Chicago
Gangs of New York
The Hours
The Pianist
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Best Director
Stephen Daldry (The Hours)
Rob Marshall (Chicago)
Pedro Almodovar (Talk To Her)
Roman Polanski (The Pianist)
Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York)

Best Actor
Adrien Brody (The Pianist)
Nicolas Cage (Adaptation)
Sir Michael Caine (The Quiet American)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York)
Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt)

Best Actress
Salma Hayek (Frida)
Nicole Kidman (The Hours)
Diane Lane (Unfaithful)
Julianne Moore (Far From Heaven)
Renèe Zellweger (Chicago)

Best Supporting Actor

Chris Cooper (Adaptation)
Ed Harris (The Hours)
Paul Newman (Road to Perdition)
John C Reilly (Chicago)
Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can)

Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates (About Schmidt)
Queen Latifah (Chicago)
Julianne Moore (The Hours)
Meryl Streep (Adaptation)
Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago)

Best Original Screenplay

Far From Heaven
Gangs of New York
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Talk to Her
Y Tu Mama Tambien

Best Adapted Screenplay

About a Boy
Adaptation
Chicago
The Hours
The Pianist

Best Animated Film
Ice Age
Lilo & Stitch
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
Spirited Away
Treasure Planet

Best Art Direction

Chicago
Frida
Gangs of New York
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Road To Perdition

Best Cinematography
Chicago
Far From Heaven
Gangs Of New York
The Pianist
Road to Perdition

Best Costume Design
Chicago
Frida
Gangs of New York
The Hours
The Pianist

Best Documentary

Bowling For Columbine
Daughter From Danang
Prisoner of Paradise
Spellbound
Winged Migration

Best Documentary Short
The Collector of Bedford Street
Mighty Times: The Legend of Rosa Parks
Twin Towers
Why Can't We Be a Family Again?

Best Editing
Chicago
Gangs of New York
The Hours
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Pianist

Best Foreign Language Film

El Crimen del Padre Almaro (Mexico)
Hero (China)
The Man Without a Past (Finland)
Nowhere in Africa (Germany)
Zus & Zo (The Netherlands)

Best Makeup

Frida
The Time Machine

Best Original Score

Catch Me If You Can (John Williams)
Far From Heaven (Elmer Bernstein)
Frida (Elliot Goldenthal)
The Hours (Philip Glass)
Road to Perdition (Thomas Newman)

Best Music (Song)
Burn it Blue (Frida)
Father and Daughter by Paul Simon (The Wild Thornberry's Movie)
The Hands That Built America by U2 (Gangs of New York)
I Move On (Chicago)
Lose Yourself by Eminem (8 Mile)

Best Sound
Chicago
Gangs of New York
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Road to Perdition
Spider-Man

Best Visual Effects

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Spider-Man
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

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