‘Brokeback Mountain’ Leads Oscar Race With Eight Nominations

'Crash,' 'Walk the Line' and George Clooney are also in the running in multiple categories.

Cowboy romance “Brokeback Mountain” led all contenders on Tuesday morning when the nominations for the 78th annual Academy Awards were announced. The epic story of two ranch hands who fall in love in the 1960s scored eight nominations, including nods for Best Picture, Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Actor (Heath Ledger), Best Supporting Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Close behind with six nominations was “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which netted a Best Picture notice, as well as Best Director for George Clooney (who also shared a nomination for Best Original Screenplay and is up for his supporting role in “Syriana”) and Best Actor for David Strathairn. “Memoirs of a Geisha” also scored six nominations for mostly technical achievements in costume, sound and art direction.

(See photos from the Oscar-nominated films, including the Best Actor and Best Actress nominees, right here.)

A pair of biopics, the Johnny Cash profile “Walk the Line” and “Capote,” the story of Truman Capote’s landmark true-crime tale “In Cold Blood,” both continued their winning ways with five nominations each, including acting nominations for their respective leads, Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote.

Phoenix’s co-star, Reese Witherspoon, was nominated in the Best Actress category, where she’ll go up against Judi Dench in “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” Felicity Huffman in “Transamerica,” Keira Knightley in “Pride & Prejudice” and Charlize Theron in “North Country.”

Racial drama “Crash,” which scored a surprise win for its ensemble cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night, also took five nominations. In addition to a Best Picture nod, director Paul Haggis was nominated for his work behind the camera and for his original screenplay. Matt Dillon earned a nod in the Best Supporting Actor category for his work in the film.

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In addition to “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote,” “Crash” and “Good Night, and Good Luck,” there was a dark horse in the Best Picture category, Steven Spielberg’s “Munich,” which did not garner many pre-Oscar awards or nominations. Spielberg’s film chronicling the assassins sent to avenge the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics also nabbed a surprise Best Director bid.

Though Ledger and Hoffman are the leading contenders, Terrence Howard is also in the running for Best Actor for his acclaimed breakout role as a struggling rapper in “Hustle & Flow.”

(Click here for some odd Oscar tidbits and trivia from this year’s nominations.)

Several of the year’s heavily hyped box-office giants had to settle for nominations out of the spotlight, including art direction bids for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and “King Kong” and a cinematography nom for “Batman Begins.” Director Peter Jackson’s “Kong” also picked up a pair of sound nominations and a visual effects notice, but failed to dominate the Oscar list as his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy did in years past.

Johnny Depp may have gotten blanked for his creepy take on Willy Wonka in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” but the Tim Burton flick got noticed for Costume Design. Proving once again that box office is not necessarily a factor in winning major awards, two of the past year’s biggest films, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” had to settle for nominations in makeup and visual effects.

The 78th annual Academy Awards will take place on March 5.

Select list of Academy Award nominees:

Best Picture

  • “Brokeback Mountain”

  • “Capote”

  • “Crash”

  • “Good Night, and Good Luck”

  • “Munich”

Best Director

  • Ang Lee – “Brokeback Mountain”

  • Bennett Miller – “Capote”

  • Paul Haggis – “Crash”

  • George Clooney – “Good Night, and Good Luck”

  • Steven Spielberg – “Munich”

Best Actor

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman – “Capote”

  • Terrence Howard – “Hustle & Flow”

  • Heath Ledger – “Brokeback Mountain”

  • Joaquin Phoenix – “Walk the Line”

  • David Strathairn – “Good Night, and Good Luck”

Best Actress

  • Judi Dench – “Mrs. Henderson Presents”

  • Felicity Huffman – “Transamerica”

  • Keira Knightley – “Pride & Prejudice”

  • Charlize Theron – “North Country”

  • Reese Witherspoon – “Walk the Line”

Best Supporting Actor

  • George Clooney – “Syriana”

  • Matt Dillon – “Crash”

  • Paul Giamatti – “Cinderella Man”

  • Jake Gyllenhaal – “Brokeback Mountain”

  • William Hurt – “A History of Violence”

Best Supporting Actress

  • Amy Adams – “Junebug”

  • Catherine Keener – “Capote”

  • Frances McDormand – “North Country”

  • Rachel Weisz – “The Constant Gardner”

  • Michelle Williams – “Brokeback Mountain”

Best Original Screenplay

  • “Crash”

  • “Good Night, and Good Luck”

  • “Match Point”

  • “The Squid and the Whale”

  • “Syriana”

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “Brokeback Mountain”

  • “Capote”

  • “The Constant Gardner”

  • “A History of Violence”

  • “Munich”

Best Original Song

  • “In the Deep” from “Crash

  • “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow”

  • “Travelin’ Thru” from “Transamerica”

Best Original Score

  • “Brokeback Mountain”

  • “Memoirs of a Geisha”

  • “Munich”

  • “Pride & Prejudice”

Best Animated Feature Film

  • “Howl’s Moving Castle”

  • “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride”

  • “Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit”

Best Documentary Feature

  • “Darwin’s Nightmare”

  • “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”

  • “March of the Penguins”

  • “Murderball”

  • “Street Fight”

Best Visual Effects

  • “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”

  • “King Kong”

  • “War of the Worlds”

Best Art Direction

  • “Good Night, and Good Luck”

  • “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

  • “King Kong”

  • “Memoirs of a Geisha”

  • “Pride & Prejudice”

Best Cinematography

  • “Batman Begins”

  • “Brokeback Mountain”

  • “Good Night, and Good Luck”

  • “Memoirs of a Geisha”

  • “The New World”

Best Makeup

  • “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”

  • “Cinderella Man”

  • “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”

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