Oscar Noms: 'Rings' Rules Them All

01/27/2004 AT 09:45 AM EST

Third time may be the charm for the "Lord of the Rings" franchise: The final installment in Peter Jackson's epic trilogy, "The Return of the King," received a leading 11 Oscar nominations Tuesday morning, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Following with 10 nods was director Peter Weir's seafaring adventure "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," which is up for Best Picture and Best Director. Star Russell Crowe, however, was snubbed for Best Actor.

"Cold Mountain," though it was denied nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Anthony Minghella) and Actress (Nicole Kidman), still ended up with seven nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Jude Law and Best Supporting Actress nomination for Renee Zellweger.

The two other major nominees were "Seabiscuit" (seven nominations) and "Mystic River" (six nods), and both are up for Best Picture alongside Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation," whose other major nominations were for Coppola's original screenplay and direction, and for Best Actor candidate Bill Murray.

In the acting race, besides Murray (who took the comedic acting prize at Sunday's Golden Globes), the Best Actor nominees are Johnny Depp ("Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"), Ben Kingsley ("House Of Sand And Fog"), Jude Law ("Cold Mountain") and Sean Penn ("Mystic River").

Missing from the list: Crowe and Tom Cruise in "The Last Samurai." Though Penn took the dramatic actor Golden Globe on Sunday, the fact that he didn't show up for the ceremony may color Academy voters' opinions of him, say industry observers.

Actress nominees are Keisha Castle-Hughes ("Whale Rider"), Diane Keaton ("Something's Gotta Give"), Samantha Morton ("In America"), Charlize Theron ("Monster") and Naomi Watts ("21 Grams"). Keaton and Theron were the Globe winners -- for comedy and drama roles, respectively -- and they're widely considered to be the frontrunners in the Oscar race.

In the supporting competition, the actors are: Alec Baldwin ("The Cooler"), Benicio Del Toro ("21 Grams"), Djimon Hounsou ("In America"), Tim Robbins ("Mystic River") and Ken Watanabe ("the Last Samurai"). Del Toro is a previous winner, for 2000's "Traffic."

Supporting Actress nominees: Shohreh Aghdashloo ("House of Sand and Fog"), Patricia Clarkson ("Pieces of April"), Marcia Gay Harden ("Mystic River"), Holly Hunter ("Thirteen") and Zellweger ("Cold Mountain") -- who has scored her third consecutive nomination, following "Chicago" and "Bridget Jones's Diary," though those were both for leading roles.

Harden, meanwhile, won a Supporting Oscar for 2000's "Pollock," and Hunter won as Best Actress for 1993's "The Piano."

Among the notable snubs: Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor were overlooked for Tim Burton's "Big Fish," which picked up just one nomination, for Musical Score. And there was no Oscar love for Scarlett Johansson, who received several critical raves for her two roles last year, in "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "Lost in Translation."

Interestingly, Sofia Coppola, the daughter of "The Godfather" Oscar winner Francis Ford Coppola, is only the third woman ever nominated for Best Director. The previous nominees -- both of whom were overlooked on Oscar night -- were Lina Wertmuller, for 1976's "Seven Beauties," and Jane Campion, for 1993's "The Piano."

Besides the nods for Picture and Director, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"'s nominations included original score and song, visual effects, film editing and adapted screenplay. (The film series is, of course, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy classic.) The film's 11 nominations, however, still can't top the 13 nods picked up by the first installment, "The Fellowship of the Ring," two years ago. (Last year's "Two Towers" received just six.)

This year's Oscars will be held earlier than usual, Sunday night, Feb. 29. ABC will carry the event, to be hosted by Bill Crystal, live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Here's a complete list of nominees:

Best Picture
"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
"Lost in Translation"
"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"
"Mystic River"
"Seabiscuit"

Best Actor
Johnny Depp, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl"
Ben Kingsley, "House of Sand and Fog"
Jude Law, "Cold Mountain"
Bill Murray, "Lost in Translation"
Sean Penn, "Mystic River"

Best Actress
Keisha Castle-Hughes, "Whale Rider"
Diane Keaton, "Something's Gotta Give"
Samantha Morton, "In America"
Charlize Theron, "Monster"
Naomi Watts, "21 Grams"

Best Supporting Actor
Alec Baldwin, "The Cooler"
Benicio Del Toro, "21 Grams"
Djimon Hounsou, "In America"
Tim Robbins, "Mystic River"
Ken Watanabe, "The Last Samurai"

Best Supporting Actress
Shohreh Aghdashloo, "House of Sand and Fog"
Patricia Clarkson, "Pieces of April"
Marcia Gay Harden, "Mystic River"
Holly Hunter, "Thirteen"
Renee Zellweger, "Cold Mountain"

Best Director
Fernando Meirelles, "City of God"
Sofia Coppola, "Lost in Translation"
Clint Eastwood, "Mystic River"
Peter Jackson, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
Peter Weir, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"

Best Original Screenplay
Denys Arcand, "The Barbarian Invasions"
Steve Knight, "Dirty Pretty Things"
Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds, "Finding Nemo"
Jim Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan and Kirsten Sheridan, "In America"
Sofia Coppola, "Lost in Translation"


Best Adapted Screenplay
Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, "American Splendor"
Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"
Brian Helgeland, "Mystic River"
Braulio Mantovani," City of God"
Gary Ross, "Seabiscuit"


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