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Feature: Academy Awards 2007

Oscar Nominations Announced!

Helen Mirren, nominated for The Queen

This year's nominations reveal that world cinema is stronger than ever – and that the British may have a great deal to celebrate!

We came. We saw. We conquered. Well, not conquered exactly, but this year’s Oscar nominations list does show that the British film industry is becoming a real force to be reckoned with on Hollywood’s distant shores. There are home-grown names present in all the major categories and it seems certain that some of those gleaming gold statuettes will be making their way across the Atlantic come February 25.
All in all it’s been another year with no major surprises – other than that hotly tipped musical Dreamgirls, which received the most nominations with eight, failed to make it into the Best Picture category. That’s the first time that has ever happened. Apart from that, thought, it’s pretty much business as usual with a couple of curveballs that should make the ceremony interesting. Here we take a look at the four major categories, and bring your our picks for Oscar glory.

Best Actress
It’s in the Best Actress category where Brits really rule the roost, bagging three out of the five nominations. Odds on favourite to win is, of course, Helen Mirren for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen – for which she also bagged the Golden Globe for Best Actress earlier this year. Alongside Mirren is Hollywood darling Kate Winslet, who is nominated for her performance in suburban drama Little Children, while the third Brit in the pack is Dame Judi Dench, receiving her nomination for her domineering performance in school-set thriller Notes on a Scandal. Dench is the only one of the three to have already won an Oscar, as Best Supporting Actress for Shakespeare in Love in 1999.
These three mighty English actresses are up against two of the best; Penelope Cruz, nominated for her outstanding performance in Pedro Almodovar’s comedy Volver, and Meryl Streep whose fabulous performance in biting fashion satire The Devil Wears Prada makes her a worthy contender for the award.
Film Review Verdict
Mirren should – and will – bring the Oscar home to a right royal welcome.

Best Actor
We’ve also got a Brit in the Best Actor category, in the legendary shape of Peter O’Toole who gets the nod generation-spanning love affair Venus. He’s up against some seriously mighty competition, however, as Forest Whitaker has also been nominated for his portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. And don’t forget he's already bagged the Golden Globe. Joining this illustrious pair are Leonardo DiCaprio, who continues his comeback with this nomination for South African thriller Blood Diamond and Will Smith, who impressed with his underdog story The Pursuit of Happyness.
The fifth nomination is something of a surprise, however, as it goes to 26-year-old actor Ryan Gosling for high-school drug drama Half Nelson. He’s not got the back catalogue of his fellow nominees, but his performance in this film, and subsequent nomination, should catapult his career.
Film Review Verdict
It’s got to be Forest Whitaker; biopics always score well with Oscar judges, and Whitaker’s powerhouse performance is one of the most memorable of the year.

Best Director
Again, the British contingent is strong in this category, with two of our finest directing talents being honoured with nominations. Unsurprisingly, Stephen Frears is present with his royal drama The Queen, while it may surprise some to see that Paul Greengrass has also been nominated for his superlative, yet controversial, 9/11 film United 93.
Clint Eastwood also joins the party, with a nomination for the second half of his World War II double bill Letters From Iwo Jima, and Mexian film-maker Alejando González Iñárritu gets the nod for his cross-continental drama Babel. And it’s great to see Martin Scorsese on the list, for his recent police thriller triumph The Departed. Perhaps it will be this, his seventh Oscar nomination, that will see him bag the award he so deserves.
Film Review Verdict
We've got a sneaking suspicion that it’s finally going to be Scorsese’s time to shine. Put it this way – we’ve got everything crossed…

Best Film
Yep, you guessed it, The Queen shows up again here, as do Babel, The Departed and Letters From Iwo Jima. The fifth film in the bunch is the glorious family drama Little Miss Sunshine, which is also well represented in other categories (including a nomination for its 10-year-old star Abigail Breslin as Best Supporting Actress!)
Film Review Verdict
Clint’s intensely powerful Letters From Iwo JimaFlags of Our Fathers in Academy voter's minds…

For a full list of nominations, go to the official Oscars site

by Nikki Baughan

Look out for further Oscars 2007 coverage in
Film Review (Apr)

Image © 20th Century Fox
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Film Review (Apr), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Apr)
#681, April 2007
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