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'American Beauty' looks gorgeous to Oscar

Film leads contenders with eight nominations

"American Beauty," "The Sixth Sense" and "The Hurricane" (pictured clockwise from right) were among the top Academy picks announced Tuesday.  

February 15, 2000
Web posted at: 10:29 a.m. EST (1529 GMT)

(CNN) -- It was a parade of roses as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced its nominations for its annual Academy Awards on Tuesday morning.

"American Beauty," a dark comedy about suburban dysfunction that uses computer-generated rose petals as symbolism, earned the most Oscar nominations with eight. They included best picture, best director in Sam Mendes, best actor in Kevin Spacey and best actress in Annette Bening.

"The Cider House Rules" and "The Insider" were right behind, with seven nominations each. Both films received nods for best picture, a category which also included "The Green Mile" and "The Sixth Sense."

Along with Spacey in the best actor category are Russell Crowe ("The Insider"), Richard Farnsworth ("The Straight Story"), Sean Penn ("Sweet and Lowdown") and Denzel Washington ("The Hurricane").

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Competing with Bening for best actress will be Janet McTeer ("Tumbleweeds"), Julianne Moore ("The End of the Affair"), Meryl Streep ("Music of the Heart") and Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry").

In addition to Mendes, the best director category includes Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich"), Lasse Hallstrom ("The Cider House Rules"), Michael Mann ("The Insider") and M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense").

Best supporting actress nods were given to Toni Collette ("The Sixth Sense"), Angelina Jolie ("Girl, Interrupted"), Catherine Keener ("Being John Malkovich), Samantha Morton ("Sweet and Lowdown") and Chloe Sevigny ("Boys Don't Cry").

Best supporting actor nominations went to Michael Caine ("The Cider House Rules"), Tom Cruise ("Magnolia"), Michael Clarke Duncan ("The Green Mile"), Jude Law ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") and Haley Joel Osment ("The Sixth Sense").

Best foreign film nominations were handed to "All About My Mother" (Spain), "Caravan" (Nepal), "East-West" (France), "Solomon and Gaenor" (United Kingdom") and "Under the Sun" (Sweden).

Nominees for best screenplay based on material previously produced or published include John Irving ("The Cider House Rules"), Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor ("Election"), Frank Darabont ("The Green Mile"), Eric Roth and Mann ("The Insider") and Anthony Minghella ("The Talented Mr. Ripley").

Best original screenplay nominations went to Alan Ball ("American Beauty"), Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich"), Paul Thomas Anderson ("Magnolia"), Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense") and Mike Leigh ("Topsy-Turvy").

Dustin Hoffman joined Academy president Robert Rehme in Beverly Hills to announce the nominees. Winners will be announced March 26 in Los Angeles.

Anthony Minghella was snubbed by the Academy for his direction of "The Talented Mr. Ripley"  

One notable actor missing from the nominations is Jim Carrey. It marks the second year the Academy has snubbed him.

In 1999, he won a Golden Globe -- often a bellwether for Academy considerations -- for his performance in "The Truman Show," but failed to earn an Oscar nod. This year, he won another Golden Globe for his role as comic Andy Kaufman in "Man on the Moon," but Oscar failed to follow up.

Two movies that received a heavy dose of Oscar hype but failed to win best picture nominations are "The End of the Affair" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

"Ripley" director Minghella's last effort, "The English Patient" in 1997, walked away with nine Oscars. He failed to earn a nomination for directing this time out, and his stars -- Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow -- also weren't rewarded for their work in the film.

"The Sixth Sense," meanwhile, continued its impressive run. The thriller about a little boy (Osment) who "sees dead people" has transformed from sleeper hit of last summer to Oscar contender. It's up for six awards.

CNN.com Senior Writer Jamie Allen contributed to this report.

RELATED STORIES:
As Oscar nominations approach, 'nothing's certain'
February 14, 2000
Mr. Minghella's inspiration for 'Mr. Ripley'
December 22, 1999
'Green Mile's giant has taken massive strides
December 10, 1999
'Boys Don't Cry' filmmaker saw past violence to love
October 22, 1999
American Ball: 'Beauty' screenwriter mining his past
October 8, 1999
'Sixth Sense' star: 'I do believe'
August 20, 1999

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