"Dreamgirls," the new 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, were 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" — were 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."
"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"). Howarz Katz scribe Patrick Marber also picked up a nomination in the Adapted Screenplay field for his screenplay for "Notes on a Scandal."
Ellen DeGeneres will host the annual Academy Awards, which will be presented Feb. 25. ABC-TV will broadcast the event live from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre beginning at 5 PM PST. The telecast will begin with a half-hour red carpet segment titled "The Road to the Oscars."
For more information visit www.oscars.org.