Jon Stewart, who anchors Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," will host the awards. Presenters are scheduled to include Salma Hayek, Hilary Swank, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Jessica Alba, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Will Ferrell, Queen Latifah, Clint Eastwood, Terrence Howard, Meryl Streep, Will Smith, Steve Carell, Nicole Kidman, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Uma Thurman, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts, Lily Tomlin, Reese Witherspoon, George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez.
Nominees for the 78th Annual Academy Awards were announced Jan. 31 by Academy President Sid Ganis and Oscar-winning actress and Academy member Mira Sorvino. "Brokeback Mountain," the gay cowboy film, received eight nominations, the most for any motion picture of the season past. It will vie for the Best Picture Oscar against “Capote,” “Crash,” “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “Munich.”
A host of familiar theatre faces also received nominations, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was nominated in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role category for his performance as the late troubled writer Truman Capote in “Capote.” His competitors in that field include fellow theatre actor David Strathairn (“Good Night, and Good Luck") as well as Terrence Howard (“Hustle & Flow”), Heath Ledger (“Brokeback Mountain”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“Walk the Line”).
Felicity Huffman, the former stage actress now best known for her work on the hit ABC series “Desperate Housewives,” was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in “Transamerica.” She will vie for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Oscar against stage and screen veteran Judi Dench (“Mrs. Henderson Presents”), Keira Knightley (“Pride & Prejudice”), Charlize Theron (“North Country”) and Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”).
Frances McDormand, whose Broadway credits include Awake and Sing! and A Streetcar Named Desire, received an Academy Award nomination in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role field for her work in “North Country.” Others in that field include Amy Adams (“Junebug”), Catherine Keener (“Capote”), Rachel Weisz (“The Constant Gardener”) and Michelle Williams (“Brokeback Mountain”). Theatre regular Paul Giamatti, who recently picked up a Screen Actors Guild Award, was nominated for a Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in “Cinderella Man.” His competitors include George Clooney (“Syriana”), Matt Dillon (“Crash”), Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain”) and William Hurt (“A History of Violence”).
Actor-turned-screenwriter Dan Futterman, who has been seen on Broadway in Angels in America and Off-Broadway in A Fair Country and Further Than the Furthest Thing, picked up a Best Adapted Screenplay nod for “Capote.” Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner and Eric Roth are also nominated in that field for the adapted screenplay for “Munich.” Their competitors include Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana (“Brokeback Mountain”), Jeffrey Caine (“The Constant Gardener”) and Josh Olson (“A History of Violence”).
Playwright Martin McDonagh, whose The Lieutenant of Inishmore is currently playing the Atlantic Theater Company, received a nomination for Best Live Action Short Film for "Six Shooter," which he wrote and directed. Other shorts nominated include "The Runaway," "Cashback," "The Last Farm" and "Our Time Is Up."
Broadway and Off-Broadway director Eric Simonson (String of Pearls, The Song of Jacob Zulu), an ensemble member at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, was nominated for his short documentary "A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin."
Nominees in the Best Original Song category include “In the Deep” from “Crash” (music by Kathleen “Bird York” and Michael Becker and lyrics by York), “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow” (music and lyrics by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregar) and “Travelin’ Thru” from “Transamerica” (music and lyrics by Dolly Parton).
The screen versions of the hit Broadway musicals Rent and The Producers picked up no nominations.
Visit www.oscars.com for more information.