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Oscar Nominations: Gay Cowboys & Multiple Nominee George Clooney

Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain

The Academy Award nominations are in.

Brokeback Mountain (above, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger) led the pack with 8 nods. Crash, Good Night and Good Luck., and Memoirs of a Geisha tied with six nominations each, while Munich and Capote received five nominations apiece. Of the aforementioned six films, the one left out of the best picture race was Memoirs of a Geisha.

Even though he's not a film, George Clooney also received multiple nominations, three in all: best director and best original screenplay (with Grant Heslov) for Good Night and Good Luck., and a best supporting actor nod for Syriana. Clooney has just made Oscar history by becoming the first actor-director to be nominated for different films in the directing and acting categories.

William Hurt in A History of Violence

There were no major surprises among the nominees, except perhaps for William Hurt's appearance in the best supporting actor category for his hilarious psycho turn in A History of Violence (above), and the semi-surprise of having Munich show up among the top-five films after having been snubbed by the Producers Guild.

Among the major Oscar 2006 omissions were Ralph Fiennes for The Constant Gardener (though he's doing quite well on the other side of the Atlantic); Woody Allen (as director – he did get a writing nomination) for Match Point; director David Cronenberg, and actors Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello for A History of Violence (which, in my view, happens to be better than the five best picture nominees), and the Hidden talent, including director-writer Michael Haneke, and actors Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche.

And of course, I wasn't expecting best supporting nods for Marie-Josée Croze (for her deadly Dutch temptress in Munich) or for Randy Quaid (for his tough Wyoming rancher in Brokeback Mountain), though they both certainly deserved it.

Keira KnighleyThe Opposite of Fiennes: Keira Knightley failed to receive a best actress nod from the British Academy for her generally well-received performance in the latest film adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, but landed one on this side of the Atlantic. Go figure.

Photos: AMPAS

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