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Oscar hopefuls

The British romantic drama Atonement is leading the pack of British hopefuls for this year's Oscars.
February 18,2008

The British romantic drama Atonement is leading the pack of British hopefuls for this year's Oscars. The film is up for seven gongs including best picture. However, the stars of the movie Keira Knightley from Pirates of the Caribbean and James McEvoy from The Last King of Scotland, haven't been nominated for their acting.

The thirteen-year old Irish actress Saoirse Ronan has eclipsed her Atonement co-stars by picking up a nomination for the best supporting actress.

A British-born Irish actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, has been shortlisted as best actor for his role in the film There Will Blood. In the best actress category the British star Julie Christie is a nominee for playing an Alzheimer's sufferer in Away From Her.

Overall, the American movie No Country For Old Men hastopped the list of Oscar nominations with a total of eight.

The Australian actress Cate Blanchett could pick up both the best actress and best supporting actress awards for her parts as Queen Elizabeth the First of England and in the bio-pic of the rock legend Bob Dylan called I'm Not There. Cate, who's a woman, has drawn praise for her portrayal of Dylan, who is, of course, a man.

But the announcement of this year's Oscar nominations has been tainted with sadness at the news that the actor Heath Ledger has died. The body of the 28-year-old co-star of the 2005 Ang Lee film Brokeback Mountain was discovered in his home in New York. Police are investigating if the actor had taken an overdose of prescription pills. 


romantic drama
  the type of film about a loving relationship that is exciting and has a strong effect on viewers' emotions

  doing something that shows that you are sorry for something bad that you did

leading the pack
  here, most likely to get an award

  actors and/or films that may get an Oscar

  honours (here, Oscars) that are given to someone for their outstanding artistic work

  put forward for the award

  outshone, did better than

best supporting actress
  a supporting actor is not the most important actor in a film

  judged the most suitable for the prize (from a longer list of people originally considered)

  an actor's part in a film or play

  putting people or things into groups with the same features (e.g. here, all actresses put forward for an Oscar in the best actress category will compete against each other, not with those nominated in another category)

  someone who is nominated for an award

  a disease that results in the gradual loss of memory, speech, movement, and the ability to think clearly (especially common among older people)

topped the list
  had more nominations than others

  a biographical film (i.e. showing someone's life story)

drawn praise
  been highly spoken of

  representation of someone's character in a film, play or book

tainted with sadness
  a partly sad event

  taking too many drugs