‘Chicago,’ ‘Gangs’ Lead Oscar Nominations

DAVID GERMAIN
AP Movie Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – “Chicago,” the musical adapted from the stage hit about two murderous women competing for tabloid celebrity, led Academy Award contenders Tuesday with 13 nominations, including best picture.

Other best-picture nominees for the 75th annual Oscars were “Gangs of New York”; “The Hours”; “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”; and “The Pianist.”

Besides best picture, “Chicago” scored nominations for lead actress Renee Zellweger, supporting actresses Queen Latifah and Catherine Zeta-Jones and supporting actor John C. Reilly.

Zellweger plays a stage wannabe jailed for killing her lover. Zeta-Jones co-stars as her conniving jailhouse rival. Queen Latifah plays an opportunistic warden, and Reilly is Zellweger’s cuckolded husband. Richard Gere, who had done well in earlier film honors, was snubbed in the lead actor category for “Chicago.”

“Chicago” director Rob Marshall also earned a nomination.

Julianne Moore earned two acting nominations: best actress for the 1950s melodrama “Far From Heaven,” as a woman whose marriage disintegrates after her husband begins an affair with another man, and supporting actress as a despondent housewife in “The Hours.”

Along with Moore and Zellweger, best actress nominees were Salma Hayek as Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo in “Frida”; Nicole Kidman as author Virginia Woolf in “The Hours”; and Diane Lane as an adulterous wife in “Unfaithful.”

Meryl Streep was shut out for a best-actress nomination in “The Hours,” but did earn a supporting-actress nomination for the twisted Hollywood tale “Adaptation.”

Streep’s nomination puts her in the record books as most-nominated actor ever. She had been tied with Katharine Hepburn at 12 nominations each; Streep now has 13.

Best-actor nominees were Adrien Brody as a Jewish musician hiding out in Nazi-occupied Poland in “The Pianist”; Nicolas Cage in dual roles as a neurotic screenwriter and his oafish twin brother in “Adaptation”; Michael Caine as a British journalist in the 1950s Vietnam tale “The Quiet American”; Daniel Day-Lewis as a ruthlessly charming crime boss in the 1860s vengeance epic “Gangs of New York”; and Jack Nicholson as a widower examining his dreary life in “About Schmidt.”

It was the 12th nomination for three-time Oscar winner Nicholson, padding his record as most-nominated male actor ever. A fourth win for Nicholson would tie Hepburn’s record of four acting Oscars.

“Gangs of New York” trailed “Chicago” with 10 nominations, including director Martin Scorsese. “The Hours” was next with nine nominations, among them a supporting actor honor for Ed Harris as a writer dying of AIDS and best director for Stephen Daldry.

“The Lord of the Rings” franchise, whose first installment, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” grabbed a leading 13 nominations last year, this time received just six. Other than best picture, the nominations for “Two Towers” all were in technical categories such as film editing and visual effects while director Peter Jackson, a nominee last year, was shut out this time.

A surprise directing nominee was Pedro Almodovar for the Spanish-language movie “Talk to Her.” Almodovar also earned an original screenplay nomination. His film was ineligible for the foreign language category since host country Spain submitted another movie for Academy consideration.

The other best director nominee was Roman Polanski for “The Pianist.” Polanski is a fugitive from the United States for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

“Chicago” followed “Moulin Rouge” as the second-straight live-action musical to score a best-picture nomination after a 22-year drought for the genre. The animated musical “Beauty and the Beast” was nominated for best picture in 1991. Considered one of the front-runners, “Chicago” could become the first musical to win the top Oscar since 1968’s “Oliver!”

“Spider-Man,” 2002’s top-grossing movie, earned just two nominations, for sound and visual effects.

Along with Harris and Reilly, supporting actor nominees were Chris Cooper as a guerrilla horticulturist in “Adaptation”; Paul Newman as a Depression-era crime boss in “Road to Perdition”; and Christopher Walken as a con man’s father in “Catch Me If You Can.”

The other supporting actress nominee was Kathy Bates as Nicholson’s bawdy new in-law in “About Schmidt.”

Charlie Kaufman, a previous screenwriting nominee for “Being John Malkovich,” scored a first of sorts. He was nominated for adapted screenplay for “Adaptation,” along with fictional twin brother Donald, who shares the writing credit.

It was the first nomination ever for a fictional entity. In the past, filmmakers have received nominations under assumed names, such as Joel and Ethan Coen as “Roderick Jaynes,” their film-editing pseudonym, or Robert Towne, who shared a screenwriting nomination for 1984’s “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes” under the name of his sheepdog, P.H. Vazak.

Academy officials say if “Adaptation” wins, only one Oscar will be awarded, for Charlie Kaufman.

Hired to adapt Susan Orlean’s “The Orchid Thief,” Kaufman struggled with the script, then whimsically wrote an incarnation of himself and a nonexistent twin into the story. Cage plays both characters.

Among nominees for original screenplay was last year’s surprise blockbuster, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” written by its star, Nia Vardalos.

Nominees in most categories are chosen by specific branches of the 5,600-member Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, such as actors, directors and writers.

All academy members are allowed to vote for best-picture nominees. The full academy also is eligible to vote in all categories for the awards themselves.

ABC will broadcast the Oscar ceremony March 23 live from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre. Steve Martin, host of the Oscars two years ago, returns as master of ceremonies.

The academy chose seven-time best-actor nominee Peter O’Toole as recipient of an honorary Oscar for career achievement, but O’Toole might not show up to collect it. In a letter last month to the academy, the 70-year-old was gracious about the honor but asked that it be deferred until he was 80, since he still has a shot at winning a best-actor Oscar outright.

Academy officials said they would have O’Toole’s honorary award on hand come Oscar night, whether or not he attends.

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ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Adrien Brody
Nicolas Cage
Michael Caine
Daniel Day-Lewis
Jack Nicholson

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Chris Cooper
Ed Harris
Paul Newman
John C. Reilly
Christopher Walken

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Salma Hayek
Nicole Kidman
Diane Lane
Julianne Moore
RenÇe Zellweger

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Kathy Bates
Julianne Moore
Queen Latifah
Meryl Streep
Catherine Zeta-Jones

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
ICE AGE
LILO & STITCH
SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON
SPIRITED AWAY
TREASURE PLANET

ART DIRECTION
CHICAGO
FRIDA
GANGS OF NEW YORK
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
ROAD TO PERDITION

CINEMATOGRAPHY
CHICAGO
FAR FROM HEAVEN
GANGS OF NEW YORK
THE PIANIST
ROAD TO PERDITION

COSTUME DESIGN
CHICAGO
FRIDA
GANGS OF NEW YORK
THE HOURS
THE PIANIST

DIRECTING
CHICAGO
GANGS OF NEW YORK
THE HOURS
THE PIANIST
TALK TO HER

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE
DAUGHTER FROM DANANG
PRISONER OF PARADISE
SPELLBOUND
WINGED MIGRATION

DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
THE COLLECTOR OF BEDFORD STREET
MIGHTY TIMES: THE LEGACY OF ROSA PARKS
TWIN TOWERS
WHY CAN’T WE BE A FAMILY AGAIN?

FILM EDITING
CHICAGO
GANGS OF NEW YORK
THE HOURS
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
THE PIANIST

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO
HERO
THE MAN WITHOUT A PAST
NOWHERE IN AFRICA
ZUS & ZO

MAKEUP
FRIDA
THE TIME MACHINE

MUSIC (SCORE)
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
FAR FROM HEAVEN
FRIDA
THE HOURS
ROAD TO PERDITION

MUSIC (SONG)
CHICAGO
8 MILE
FRIDA
GANGS OF NEW YORK
THE WILD THORNBERRYS MOVIE

BEST PICTURE
CHICAGO
GANGS OF NEW YORK
THE HOURS
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
THE PIANIST

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
THE CATHEDRAL
THE CHUBBCHUBBS!
DAS RAD
MIKE’S NEW CAR
MT. HEAD

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)
FAIT D’HIVER
I’LL WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE? (J’ATTENDRAI LE SUIVANT?)
INJA (DOG)
JOHNNY FLYNTON
THIS CHARMING MAN (DER ER EN YNDIG MAND)

SOUND
CHICAGO
GANGS OF NEW YORK
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
ROAD TO PERDITION
SPIDER-MAN

SOUND EDITING
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
MINORITY REPORT
ROAD TO PERDITION

VISUAL EFFECTS
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
SPIDER-MAN
STAR WARS EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
ABOUT A BOY
ADAPTATION
CHICAGO
THE HOURS
THE PIANIST

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)
FAR FROM HEAVEN
GANGS OF NEW YORK
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING
TALK TO HER
Y TU MAMA TAMBI…N