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Rachel and Keira lead British Oscar hopes

January 30, 2006
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One of the UK's hottest young starlets will be going head-to-head with a bona-fide screen legend at the forthcoming Academy Awards. Keira Knightley's role in Pride And Prejudice sees her going up against fellow Brit Dame Judi Dench, who is nominated for Mrs Henderson Presents, in the race for best actress.

The two performers will face some tough competition on the night, though. Felicity Huffman and Charlize Theron are also in the running, though the most formidable challenge will come from Reese Witherspoon with her appearance as June Carter in Walk The Line.

The Southern belle's co-star Joaquin Phoenix is a leading contender for the best actor trophy, along with Brokeback Mountain' s Heath Ledger. Capote star Philip Seymour Hoffman likewise got the nod, as did Hustle And Flow's Terence Howard and Good Night And Good Luck's leading man David Strathairn.

Among the other British hopefuls is Golden Globe winner Rachel Weisz, who is tipped to scoop the best supporting actress gong with her portrayal of a determined aid worker in The Constant Gardener. Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener and Frances McDormand will likewise be hoping for glory, as will relative newcomer Amy Adams, when the prizes are handed out on March 5.

George Clooney looks likely to take home at least one gong, after notching up three nominations. The 44-year-old heart-throb will contest best director, best supporting actor and best screenplay, though he is regarded as an outsider for the coveted directing prize, with Ang Lee leading the charge.

Indeed the Taiwanese director looks set to rope in a clutch of trophies with his much-talked about tale of roughneck romance. Brokeback Mountain has garnered eight nominations, including best supporting actor, for Jake Gyllenhaal, best director, best film and best supporting actress.

The most prestigious prizes of the night are far from done and dusted, however, with Steven Spielberg's political drama Munich and the acclaimed ensemble piece Crash, which also garnered a best supporting actor nod for Matt Dillon, joining Capote and Good Night And Good Luck on the shortlists for both best film and best director.

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Photo: ©
Keira Knightley will be hoping to find success with her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennett in Pride And PrejudicePhoto: © A.M.P.A.S.y
Photo: ©
Mira Sorvino and Academy President Sid Ganis announced the nominations on Tuesday morningPhoto: © A.M.P.A.S.

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