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Oscar hopefuls
Actress Keira Knightley
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 Be 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 has topped 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, ofcourse, 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.


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