‘Dreamgirls’ Leads Oscar Noms — Without Best Picture Or Beyonce

Scorsese gets sixth Best Director nod as 'Departed,' 'Little Miss Sunshine' take big categories.

Maybe the sixth time will be the charm for Martin Scorsese. The legendary director, who has gone 0-for-5 in his previous bids to win the Best Director Oscar, got another nod on Tuesday morning (January 23) for his work in the mob drama “The Departed.” In a surprise twist, the critically acclaimed musical “Dreamgirls” was shut out of the top awards as “Little Miss Sunshine,” the little film that could, earned nominations in two acting categories as well as in the Best Picture race.

Though it did not earn Best Picture or Best Director accolades as some had predicted, “Dreamgirls” did score eight nominations to lead the field of contenders, including bids for art direction, costume design, sound mixing and three nominations for Best Original Song (“Listen,” “Patience” and “Love You I Do”). “Babel” follows with seven nominations, “The Queen” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” tie with six nods and “The Departed” and “Blood Diamond” are each recognized in five categories. Four films — “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Notes on a Scandal,” “Letters From Iwo Jima” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” — earned four nominations each.

Among the contenders for Best Picture at the 79th annual awards were “The Departed”; Golden Globes Best Picture winner “Babel”; the critically acclaimed look inside the British royal family, “The Queen”; Clint Eastwood’s World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima”; and dark-horse comedy “Little Miss Sunshine.” The latter, a small independent film about an awkward girl with dreams of becoming a beauty queen that turned into one of the year’s unlikeliest hits, gained some momentum last week when it won the Producers Guild of America Awards top feature-film prize.

The Best Actress category was filled with some of the usual marquee names, though British actress Helen Mirren was considered the frontrunner for her spot-on portrayal of British Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen,” for which she won the Best Actress award at the Golden Globes. She will face off against Penélope Cruz (“Volver”) — whose nomination drew a “yes!” from pal and announcer Salma Hayek during the announcements Tuesday morning along with frequent nominee Judi Dench (“Notes on a Scandal”) and Kate Winslet (“Little Children). The category also features the 14th nomination for the most-nominated actor in history, Meryl Streep, for her vicious portrayal of a fashion magazine editor in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Another frontrunner was Forest Whitaker, who took the Globe for Best Actor for his intense take on Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” He will face off against acting icon Peter O’Toole, who has earned acclaim for his role as a lewd aging actor in the little-seen “Venus.” Will Smith was nominated for his role as a struggling dad in “The Pursuit of Happyness” and Leonardo DiCaprio for “Blood Diamond.” The true darkhorse in the actor race, Ryan Gosling, was nominated for his performance as a drug-addicted teacher in the little-seen drama “Half Nelson.”

Alas, unlike the Globes, where he won a comedy acting award, Sacha Baron Cohen will not be on hand to give another profane speech, as his acting work in “Borat” did not make the final cut — though the movie did score a nom in the adapted screenplay category, alongside “Children of Men,” “The Departed,” “Little Children” and “Notes on a Scandal.”

The Best Director category was lead by Scorsese, who will face another Oscar favorite, Clint Eastwood (“Letter From Iwo Jima”), Paul Greengrass (“United 93″), Stephen Frears (“The Queen”) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Babel”).

In the supporting-actor category, suddenly resurgent Golden Globes winner Eddie Murphy was nominated for his explosive performance as a troubled, fading soul star in “Dreamgirls.” Nominated alongside veteran actor Alan Arkin as a drugged up grandfather in “Little Miss Sunshine” is former child actor Jackie Earle Haley for his comeback in “Little Children.” The category also features Mark Wahlberg for “The Departed” and a surprise nod for Djimon Hounsou in “Blood Diamond.”

The supporting actress category is a race between Adrianna Barraza (“Babel”), Rinko Kinkuchi (“Babel”), Cate Blanchett (“Notes on a Scandal”), Golden Globe winner Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”) and electric newcomer Abigail Breslin in “Little Miss Sunshine.”

“Babel,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Queen,” “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Letters From Iwo Jima” will compete for best original screenplay. The animated film category will feature a race between “Cars,” “Happy Feet” and “Monster House.”

Five-time nominee Ennio Morricone, whose haunting musical scores have become synonymous with Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns as well as such modern flicks as “The Untouchables” and “Bugsy,” will receive an honorary career-achievement award at the event.

Last year’s box office giant, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” didn’t score any major nods, but did get some technical love, with nominations for art direction, visual effects, sound editing and sound mixing. In other categories, former Vice President Al Gore’s environmental documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Sofia Coppola’s take on “Marie Antoinette” was noticed in the costume design race and Mel Gibson’s bloody “Apocalypto” got nods in sound editing, sound mixing and makeup.

The Oscars will air on February 25 from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre and will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

Select list of Academy Award nominees:

Best Picture
· “Babel”
· “The Departed”
· “Letters From Iwo Jima”
· “Little Miss Sunshine”
· “The Queen”

Best Director
· Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Babel”
· Martin Scorsese, “The Departed”
· Clint Eastwood, “Letters From Iwo Jima”
· Stephen Frears, “The Queen”
· Paul Greengrass, “United 93″

Best Actor
· Leonardo DiCaprio, “Blood Diamond”
· Ryan Gosling, “Half Nelson”
· Peter O’Toole, “Venus”
· Will Smith, “The Pursuit of Happyness”
· Forest Whitaker, “The Last King of Scotland”

Best Actress
· Penélope Cruz, “Volver”
· Judi Dench, “Notes on a Scandal”
· Helen Mirren, “The Queen”
· Meryl Streep, “The Devil Wears Prada”
· Kate Winslet, “Little Children”

Best Supporting Actor
· Alan Arkin, “Little Miss Sunshine”
· Jackie Earle Haley, “Little Children”
· Djimon Hounsou, “Blood Diamond”
· Eddie Murphy, “Dreamgirls”
· Mark Wahlberg, “The Departed”

Best Supporting Actress
· Adriana Barraza, “Babel”
· Cate Blanchett, “Notes on a Scandal”
· Abigail Breslin, “Little Miss Sunshine”
· Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls”
· Rinko Kikuchi, “Babel”

Best Animated Feature Film
· “Cars”
· “Happy Feet”
· “Monster House”

Best Original Song
· “I Need to Wake Up” from “An Inconvenient Truth”
· “Listen” from “Dreamgirls”
· “Love You I Do” from “Dreamgirls”
· “Our Town” from “Cars”
· “Patience” from “Dreamgirls”

Best Original Screenplay
· “Babel”
· “Letters From Iwo Jima”
· “Little Miss Sunshine”
· “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Best Adapted Screenplay
· “Borat”
· “Children of Men”
· “The Departed”
· “Little Children”
· “Notes on a Scandal”

Best Documentary Feature
· “Deliver Us From Evil”
· “An Inconvenient Truth”
· “Iraq in Fragments”
· “Jesus Camp”
· “My Country, My Country”

Best Foreign Language Film
· “After the Wedding” (Denmark)
· “Days of Glory” (Algeria)
· “The Lives of Others” (Germany)
· “Pan’s Labyrinth” (Mexico)
· “Water” (Canada)

Best Original Score
· “Babel”
· “The Good German”
· “Notes on a Scandal”
· “Pan’s Labyrinth”
· “The Queen”

Best Art Direction
· “Dreamgirls”
· “The Good Shepherd”
· “Pan’s Labyrinth”
· “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”
· “The Prestige”

Best Cinematography
· “The Black Dahlia”
· “Children of Men”
· “The Illusionist”
· “Pan’s Labyrinth”
· “The Prestige”

Best Visual Effects
· “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”
· “Poseidon”
· “Superman Returns”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Dreamgirls”“Little Miss Sunshine”, “The Departed” and “An Inconvenient Truth”.

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