The Oscar Race is On
January 25, 2005

Hollywood's elite woke up early Tuesday for the 77th Annual Academy Award nominations, as the Academy not only honored this year's best but also bid farewell to an Oscar legend. "To the man who was our voice for so many years on the Academy Awards," Academy president Frank Pierson observed. "Johnny Carson, good night, and sleep well."

The Hollywood legend may have passed the torch, but "Extra's" Jerry Penacoli met up with the new batch of hopeful Oscar icons this morning, starting with Jamie Foxx, who received both a Best Actor nomination for "Ray" and a Best Supporting Actor nomination for "Collateral."

"It'll never be like this again, man," Jamie said. "It should be a beautiful night, and if we were to win, I'd split that trophy a million different ways."

So who'll be Jamie's date for the night? Oprah? Halle? "I've always joked with Halle about how I'm going to sweep her off her feet," Jamie revealed. "We could do it. That would be real hot. That would be a romantic evening."

But Jamie admitted that both ladies will, in fact, have to take backseat to his 10-year-old daughter: "My daughter's going to go."

"The Aviator" flew high Tuesday morning, leading all films with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, a Best Actor nod for Leonardo DiCaprio, a Best Director nod for Martin Scorsese and Best Supporting Actor and Actress nominations for Alan Alda and Cate Blanchett.

Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" was pure gold with seven nominations, with Hilary Swank receiving a Best Actress nod, a nomination for Morgan Freeman for Best Supporting Actor and Best Director and Best Actor nods for Eastwood.

"I just do the best I can on every project," Eastwood told us. "Some of them are written better, they have that appeal, or they have that moment."

"Finding Neverland" also walked away with seven nominations, including Best Picture and a Best Actor nod for Johnny Depp.

And we can't forget the little film that could. "Sideways" earned a Best Picture nomination, and Virginia Madsen received a Best Actress nod. "There was my head and I was like, 'Oh my God!'" Madsen recalled. "It was so surreal, and I just started screaming and jumping up and down."

And Virginia's son is already out crusading for his mom. "She's going to win an Academy Award," he told us.

"Hotel Rwanda" earned two Oscar nominations, Don Cheadle for Best Actor and Sophie Okonedo for Best Supporting Actress.

Also toasting Oscar were "Sideways'" Thomas Hayden Church in the Best Supporting Actor category and Kate Winslet, who received a Best Actress nod for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

But amidst all the excitement over this morning's announcements, the nominees paused to remember Johnny. This year's show will contain a tribute to the king of late night, when the Academy Awards are handed out February 27th.

The Top Nominees:

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Don Cheadle - HOTEL RWANDA
Johnny Depp - FINDING NEVERLAND
Leonardo DiCaprio - THE AVIATOR
Clint Eastwood - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Jamie Foxx - RAY

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Alan Alda - THE AVIATOR
Thomas Haden Church - SIDEWAYS
Jamie Foxx - COLLATERAL
Morgan Freeman - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Clive Owen - CLOSER

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Annette Bening - BEING JULIA
Catalina Sandino Moreno - MARIA FULL OF GRACE
Imelda Staunton - VERA DRAKE
Hilary Swank - MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Kate Winslet - ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Cate Blanchett - THE AVIATOR
Laura Linney - KINSEY
Virginia Madsen - SIDEWAYS
Sophie Okonedo - HOTEL RWANDA
Natalie Portman - CLOSER

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
THE INCREDIBLES
SHARK TALE
SHREK 2

DIRECTING
THE AVIATOR
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
RAY
SIDEWAYS
VERA DRAKE

BEST PICTURE
THE AVIATOR
FINDING NEVERLAND
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
RAY
SIDEWAYS


LINKS
See the complete nominee list
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