Wed, Jan 26, 2005 - Page 1 News List

`The Aviator' gains altitude with 11 Oscar nominations

AP , LOS ANGELES AND BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA

The Howard Hughes epic The Aviator led Academy Awards contenders with 11 nominations yesterday, including best picture among them, plus acting honors for Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett and Alan Alda and a directing slot for Martin Scorsese.

The boxing saga Million Dollar Baby and the J.M. Barrie tale Finding Neverland followed with seven nominations each, among best picture and acting nominations for Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank and Johnny Depp.

Eastwood also got a directing nomination for Million Dollar Baby.

The other best-picture nominees were the Ray Charles portrait Ray and the buddy comedy Sideways.

Jamie Foxx

Along with Eastwood, Jamie Foxx also scored two nominations, as best actor for the title role in Ray and supporting actor as a taxi driver whose cab is hijacked by a hit man in Collateral.

Foxx is a front-runner in the lead-actor category. Starring as aviation trailblazer Hughes, DiCaprio also was nominated for best actor.

The best-actress category presents a rematch of the 1999 showdown, when underdog Swank won the Oscar for Boys Don't Cry over Annette Bening, who had been the front-runner for American Beauty.

This time, Swank was nominated as a bullheaded boxing champ whose life takes a cruel twist in Million Dollar Baby. Bening was chosen for Being Julia, in which she plays an aging 1930s stage diva exacting wickedly comic revenge on the men in her life and a young rival.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, the Razzies, which mock the worst in film were announced in Hollywood.

Catwoman led with seven nominations, among them worst picture, worst actress for Halle Berry and worst supporting players for Sharon Stone and Lambert Wilson. Catwoman was also nominated for worst screen couple for Berry with either Stone or co-star Benjamin Bratt.

Cat Litter?

"Catwoman is the cinematic equivalent of a clump in the cat-litter box," Razzies founder John Wilson said. "Kind of a sad little thing laying there stinking up the place."

US President George W. Bush and some of his advisors received worst-acting nominations for their appearances in news and archival footage in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, which assails Bush for his actions surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bush was nominated for worst actor, while Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice got a nomination for worst supporting actress and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for worst supporting actor.

Wilson said while Fahrenheit 9/11 was a piece of anti-Bush propaganda, the president and his associates earned their Razzie nominations on their own.

"It wasn't Mr. Moore's editing," Wilson said. "It's the raw footage of these people just making fools of themselves."

Just a few seconds of screen time in Fahrenheit 9/11 brought a nomination as worst supporting actress for Britney Spears, who sits for a moment blank-faced and chewing gum in the film before saying she thinks people should support the president in all decisions he makes.

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