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Brokeback Mountain gets 8 Condoms

Los Angeles- Ang Lee’s gay western love story “Brokeback Mountain” received eight Academy Award nominations today, including best picture, leading a field dominated by low-budget independent movies.

Bennett Miller’s Truman Capote biography/ethical exploration “Capote,” Paul Haggis’ race-relations ensemble drama “Crash,” George Clooney’s politically pointed McCarthyism drama “Good Night, and Good Luck” and Steven Spielberg’s terrorism revenge drama “Munich” filled out a best picture category in which only “Munich” was produced by a major studio.

The last time four of the five best picture nominees came from the so-called independents was 1996, when “The English Patient” was the ultimate winner.

Clooney scored a personal triumph as he received three Oscar nominations: as director and co-writer of “Good Night, and Good Luck”, and as supporting actor for “Syriana.”

All in all, the nominations were very much in line with the other guild awards, so surprises were few. Young Keira Knightley made an unexpected breakthrough as a best actress nominee for the Jane Austen adaptation “Pride & Prejudice,” joining Judi Dench (a plucky theater owner in “Mrs. Henderson Presents”), Felicity Huffman (a transsexual in “Transamerica”), Charlize Theron (a harassed miner in “North Country”) and Reese Witherspoon (singer June Carter in “Walk the Line”) in the best actress category.

The long-odds nominee in the best actor category was Chicagoan Terrence Howard, who had a breakout performance as a pimp-turned-rapper in “Hustle & Flow.” His fellow nominees are Philip Seymour Hoffman for his much-honored portrayal of the title character of “Capote,” Heath Ledger for his portrayal of a laconic cowboy in “Brokeback Mountain,” Joaquin Phoenix for becoming Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line” and David Strathairn for his cigarette-puffing take on newsman Edward R. Murrow. Russell Crowe’s portrayal of a Depression-era boxing champ in “Cinderella Man” was left out.

In a rarity, the directing nominees lined up with the best pictures; Clooney, Haggis, Lee, Miller and Spielberg received the nods.

The supporting actress category includes Amy Adams for “Junebug,” Catherine Keener for “Capote,” Frances McDormand for “North Country,” Rachel Weisz for “The Constant Gardener” and Michelle Williams for “Brokeback Mountain.” The supporting actor contenders are Clooney for “Syriana,” Matt Dillon for “Crash,” Paul Giamatti for “Cinderella Man,” Jake Gyllenhaal for “Brokeback Mountain” and William Hurt for “A History of Violence.”

The eight nominations for “Brokeback Mountain” make this taboo-shattering drama the presumptive best picture favorite; the film with the most nominations almost always wins. “Brokeback” would become the first gay-themed film to take the top award. But with no film receiving double-digit nominations, this year’s pack is clustered together more tightly than usual.

The Oscars will take place March 5 at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, hosted by Jon Stewart


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