Hollywood glams up for Oscars

Stars gather for the 79th Academy awards to see who will win a gold statuette.

    Thousands will witness the red carpet arrivals on Hollywood's glitziest night [Reuters]

    Mirren as The Queen is seen as front-runner
    for the Best Actress award [EPA]

    Scorcese is also thought to be a hot tip for this year's best director Oscar, having been nominated seven times previously.
     
    Having already picked up a slew of other awards for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's Dame Helen Mirren is widely expected to win best actress for her role in The Queen.
     
    Other nominees include Penelope Cruz, Dame Judi Dench, Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet.
     
    Meanwhile Forest Whitaker is favourite to win the best actor category for his portrayal of Idi Amin, the former Ugandan dictator, in the film The Last King of Scotland.
     
    Nominees

    Best Film
    Babel
    The Departed
    Letters From Iwo Jima
    Little Miss Sunshine
    The Queen

    Best Director
    Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima
    Stephen Frears, The Queen
    Paul Greengrass, United 93
    Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Babel
    Martin Scorsese, The Departed

    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
    Penelope Cruz, Volver
    Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
    Helen Mirren, The Queen
    Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
    Kate Winslet, Little Children

    Best Foreign Language Film
    Efter Brylluppet (aka After the Wedding), Denmark
    Indigenes (aka Days of Glory), Algeria
    El Laberinto del Fauno (aka Pan's Labyrinth), Mexico
    Das Leben der Anderen (aka The Lives of Others), Germany, Canada

    Whitaker is up against Leonardo DiCaprio, Will Smith, Ryan Gosling and Peter O'Toole – who some expect to give Whitaker a run for his money for his role as an elderly man in love with a young woman in Venus.
     
    Dreamgirls actor Eddie Murphy and actress Jennifer Hudson have both been picked as front-runners for the supporting actor and actress Oscars, respectively, but they both face challenges.
     
    Alan Arkin of Sunshine is a hotly-tipped challenger for the supporting actor category, while Adriana Barraza in Babel and Abigail Breslin from Sunshine, are given a shot at supporting actress.

    In the documentary category, Al Gore, the former US vice president, is regarded as the best bet for his hit climate change documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.
     
    Environmental issues are also weighing on several of the stars attending the ceremony, many of whom have ditched the traditional stretch limo in favour of hybrid vehicles.
     
    Leonardo DiCaprio, best actor nominee for "Blood Diamond."
    DiCaprio, is expected to arrive in a hybrid Toyota Prius.
     
    He has used the build-up to the awards to call on the US government to introduce legislation that would enforce a reduction of carbon emissions.

    "Cleaner cars, energy efficient homes, and green building help reduce greenhouse gas emissions," DiCaprio said in a statement issued Sunday.
    "We need our leaders in Washington to listen to the growing chorus of scientists and experts saying that we must put in place binding emission reductions to combat global warming."
     
    The Oscars are given out annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Hollywood's biggest celebrities turn out for the gala awards ceremony.
     
    This year the three-hour show will be hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres, only the second woman, after Whoopi Goldberg, to present the awards.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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