Aviator Scores 11 Oscar Nominations

Aviator Scores 11 Oscar Nominations
Leonardo DiCaprio
Tony Barson/WireImage

01/25/2005 AT 09:00 AM EST

The Oscar race is officially in the air, and the toughest competition looks to be between Martin Scorsese's epic Howard Hughes biography The Aviator – with a year's best 11 nominations – and Clint Eastwood's stark drama Million Dollar Baby.

Baby picked up seven nominations, tying with Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie's story, Finding Neverland, starring Best Actor nominee Johnny Depp. Taylor Hackford's Ray Charles bio, Ray, starring Best Actor favorite Jamie Foxx, followed with six.

Besides those movies, Alexander Payne's quirky comedy Sideways is in the running for Best Picture. Its supporting players, Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen were nominated, but its star, Paul Giamatti, was left off the Best Actor list – in a slot that looks to have gone to Clint Eastwood, for Million Dollar Baby. Eastwood also is up for Best Director.

The other Best Actor contenders are Leonardo DiCaprio (Aviator) and Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda). The frontrunner, Foxx, also picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, for Collateral.

In the Best Actress race, Million Dollar Baby's Hilary Swank and Being Julia star Annette Bening will square off again just as they did in 1999, when Bening was nominated for American Beauty and Swank won for Boys Don't Cry.

The other Best Actress nominees are Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake, Catalina Sandino Moreno in Maria Full of Grace and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Besides Foxx and Church, the other Supporting Actor nominees are Alan Alda (The Aviator), Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) and Golden Globe winner Clive Owen (Closer), who was snubbed in the Screen Actors Guild nominations.

Supporting Actress nods, besides the one for Madsen, went to Laura Linney (whose Kinsey costars Liam Neeson and Peter Sarsgaard were overlooked in their respective categories), Cate Blanchett (The Aviator), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and Golden Globe winner Natalie Portman (Closer).

Two of last year's more controversial releases, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, were largely overlooked by Academy. Passion was cited for musical score and makeup, while Fahrenheit got zilch.

Nominations for the 77th annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning, beginning with the body's president, Frank Pierson, remembering former frequent host Johnny Carson, who died Sunday, with the words, "Good night, Johnny. Sleep well."

ABC will broadcast the Oscars live on Sunday night, Feb. 27, from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Comedian Chris Rock will serve as first-time host of the movie marathon.

Here's a list of the nominees:

Best Picture
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Million Dollar Baby

Best Actor
Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Jamie Foxx, Ray

Best Actress
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

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Alda, The Aviator
Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
Jamie Foxx, Collateral
Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
Clive Owen, Closer

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
Laura Linney, Kinsey
Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
Natalie Portman, Closer

Best Director
Martin Scorsese, The Aviator
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackford, Ray
Alexander Payne, Sideways
Mike Leigh, Vera Drake

Best Original Screenplay
The Aviator
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Hotel Rwanda
The Incredibles
Vera Drake

Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Sunset
Finding Neverland
Million Dollar Baby
The Motorcycle Diaries

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