Feb. 11 [8:45 EST] -- After all the talk of a Madonna-Courtney Oscar night showdown, it was all much ado about nothing.
Both singer-turned-actresses were overlooked in their bids for Best Actress honors when nominees for the 69th Annual Academy Awards were announced.
While Madonna the actress was not nominated, Madonna the singer picked up a nod for Best Song for "You Must Love Me" from "Evita." Her track joins the nominees "Because You Loved Me" from "Up Close And Personal," "For The First Time" from "One Fine Day," "I Finally Found Someone" from "The Mirror Has Two Faces," and the theme song from "That Thing You Do." All was not lost for the "Larry Flynt" crew either as the film took nominations for Woody Harrelson as Best Actor and Milos Forman as Best Director.
It proved to be a big year for independent films as "Fargo," "Shine," "The English Patient," and "Secrets And Lies" all earned high-profile nominations. A collective gasp of surprise rose form the press
corps when Billy Bob Thorton was announced as a Best Actor contender for his role in the indie favorite "Sling Blade." Elsewhere, the arthouse circuit's most talked about film, "Trainspotting," nabbed a nomination for Best Screenplay, conveniently enough on the very day that it hits video stores.
"Jerry Maguire" was the big Hollywood representative among the nominees, with nods for Best Picture, Best Actor (for Tom Cruise), and Best Supporting Actor (for Cuba Gooding Jr.). The box office success will duke it out with "The English Patient," "Secrets And Lies," "Shine," and "Fargo" for Best Picture.
The nominations came courtesy of Academy president Arthur Hiller and actress Mira Sorvino who read the names of those vying for major category awards at a press conference on Tuesday morning.
For a complete list of all the Oscar contenders, you can check out the official Academy Awards web site at oscar.com.