Ellen DeGeneres will host the annual awards ceremony. Presenters for the evening are scheduled to include Ben Affleck, Jessica Biel, Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, Jodie Foster, Eva Green, Tom Hanks, Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Tobey Maguire, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, John Travolta, Rachel Weisz, Kate Winslet and Reese Witherspoon.
Nominees for the 79th Annual Academy Awards were announced Jan. 23 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis and past Oscar nominee Salma Hayek.
"Dreamgirls," the film based on the Broadway musical of the same name, received eight nominations, the most of any movie of the season. The Bill Condon-directed feature, however, was not nominated in the Best Picture field and failed to earn nominations in either the Leading Actor or Leading Actress categories.
The films nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year include "Babel," "The Departed," "Letters from Iwo Jima," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Queen."
Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep, who recently won Golden Globe Awards for their performances in, respectively, The Queen and The Devil Wears Prada, are both Oscar-nominated for those same film roles. Others in the Actress in a Leading Role category include Penélope Cruz ("Volver"), Judi Dench ("Notes on a Scandal") and Kate Winslet ("Little Children"). Nominees in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category include Leonardo DiCaprio ("Blood Diamond"), Ryan Gosling ("Half Nelson"), Peter O'Toole ("Venus"), Will Smith ("The Pursuit of Happyness") and Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland").
Both Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy, who also picked up Golden Globes for their supporting roles in "Dreamgirls," received Academy Award nominations as well. Hudson will vie for her award in a field that includes Adriana Barraza for "Babel," Cate Blanchett for "Notes on a Scandal," Abigail Breslin for "Little Miss Sunshine" and Rinko Kikuchi for "Babel." Murphy's competitors include Alan Arkin for "Little Miss Sunshine," Jackie Earle Haley for "Little Children," Djimon Hounsou for "Blood Diamond" and Mark Wahlberg for "The Departed."
In the Best Director category, nominees include Martin Scorsese ("The Departed"), Clint Eastwood ("Letters from Iwo Jima"), Stephen Frears ("The Queen"), Paul Greengrass ("United 93") and Alejandro Gonzàlez Iñárritu ("Babel").
Three of the new songs penned for "Dreamgirls" — "Listen," "Love You I Do" and "Patience" — are all nominated in the Original Song category. Others in that field include "I Need to Wake Up" from "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Our Town" from "Cars." Fox News previously reported that Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce and Anika Noni Rose will perform, respectively, "Love You I Do," "Listen" and "Patience," during the awards telecast.
"Dreamgirls" also picked up nominations for Achievement in Art Direction (John Myhre, Nancy Haigh), Achievement in Costume Design (Sharen Davis) and Achievement in Sound Mixing (Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer and Willie Burton).
Also of interest to theatre fans: Frost/Nixon playwright Peter Morgan was nominated for Original Screenplay for The Queen. He will vie for that award in a field that includes Guillermo Arriaga ("Babel"), Iris Yamashita and Paul Haggis ("Letters from Iwo Jima"), Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine") and Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"). Howard Katz scribe Patrick Marber also picked up a nomination in the Adapted Screenplay field for his screenplay for "Notes on a Scandal."
For more information visit www.oscars.org.