On Tuesday morning, Oscar race hits high gear
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From CNN Interactive Senior Writer Jamie Allen
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- And down the stretch they come.
The race for Oscar officially hits the final sprint on Tuesday when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its nominees for the most coveted crown in show business.
And though contestants for this race -- which will conclude on March 21, when the winners are announced during the Academy Awards ceremony at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion -- have yet to be named, plenty of people (and studios) are already placing their bets on who will be nominated in categories like best actor or actress, best director, and best film.
Who's receiving the biggest buzz? Tom Hanks, for one. The actor who has already pocketed back-to-back Academy Awards for "Philadelphia" (1993) and "Forrest Gump" (1994) has received strong praise for his role as the school teacher-turned-World War II warrior in "Saving Private Ryan."
Speaking of which, "Saving Private Ryan" is director Steven Spielberg's latest masterpiece and is threatening to pull a "Titanic" by capturing a double-digit number of Oscars.
Adding to the hype surrounding the Oscar are the other awards. For instance, the Golden Globes, held in January, have developed a reputation for picking the future Oscar winners.
If that's the case this year, then even money should be laid on, ahem, comic actor Jim Carrey taking top actor honors for his lead role in "The Truman Show." Other Golden Globe-nominated actors also have a chance, so the odds on Ian McKellen ("Gods and Monsters"), Nick Nolte ("Affliction") or Robin Williams ("Patch Adams") winning shouldn't be discounted.
Other notable performances were turned in by Roberto Benigni ("Life is Beautiful") and Joseph Fiennes ("Shakespeare in Love"), who were both nominated for best actor by the Screen Actors Guild, and Bill Murray ("Rushmore").
On the women's side, fresh-faced Gwyneth Paltrow took best actress honors at the Golden Globes for "Shakespeare in Love," which means she's a favorite to be nominated for her first Academy Award. But Oscar veteran Meryl Streep, seemingly never out of the race, has also been drawing praise for her tragic role "One True Thing."
Other possible contenders in this category: Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth"; Susan Sarandon in "Stepmom"; Jane Horrocks in "Little Voice"; and Emily Watson in "Hilary and Jackie."
The best picture race is expected to feature Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan," which has been hailed as perhaps the most accurate depiction of the horrors of war ever created on the silver screen. It could be challenged by such movies as "Elizabeth," "Shakespeare In Love," "The Horse Whisperer," "The Truman Show," "Life is Beautiful," and that other WWII flick, "The Thin Red Line."
But again, it's all guesswork until Academy president Robert Rehme and actor Kevin Spacey take to television airwaves at 8:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday and officially reveal the nominations in nine of the 24 possible categories, with the other nominations unveiled through a press release.
Then the real hype begins, and so does all the betting on who might win.
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