Academy in love with 'Shakespeare In Love'
'Life Is Beautiful' gets rare best picture, best foreign language taps
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LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- "Shakespeare In Love" continues to be the little picture that could, churning out the most Oscar nominations Tuesday with 13, including one for best picture and one for best actress in Gwyneth Paltrow.
"Saving Private Ryan," Steven Spielberg's tribute to the courage witnessed in the horror of World War II, also reached double digits, garnering 11 nominations.
Along with "Shakespeare" and "Saving Private Ryan," the nominees for best picture are "Elizabeth," "Life Is Beautiful" and "The Thin Red Line."
The nominations were announced Tuesday morning by Robert Rehme, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey.
Receiving nominations for best director were Spielberg, Terrence Malick for his work on "The Thin Red Line," John Madden for "Shakespeare in Love," Peter Weir for "The Truman Show" and Roberto Benigni for "Life Is Beautiful."
An ecstatic Benigni
Benigni also garnered a best actor nomination, and he was ecstatic over the news, when interviewed by CNN's Laurin Sydney.
"I am someone that I like myself to be carried away with enthusiasm because I think exuberance is beauty, and I am transported by joy," he told Sydney over the phone. "I like to demonstrate my gratitude directly, physically. I am really, really thunderstruck. I am out of myself with joy, and I am really proud of Italian cinema because of the subject of the movie, (and) for American people because they are so generous with me."
Along with Benigni, two-time Oscar-winner Tom Hanks was also nominated for "Saving Private Ryan," Ian McKellen for "Gods and Monsters," Nick Nolte for "Affliction," and Edward Norton for "American History X." Jim Carrey, who won a Golden Globe for his lead role in "The Truman Show," was notably absent from the short list.
Tapped for best actress by the Academy: Paltrow, who plays the love interest of the famed bard of Stratford-on-Avon, is seeking her first Oscar; Cate Blanchett as the virgin queen in "Elizabeth"; Fernanda Montenegro in Brazil's "Central Station"; Meryl Streep as a cancer-stricken mother in "One True Thing"; and Emily Watson as a genius cellist in "Hilary and Jackie."
Redgrave: Career up to 'gods and monsters'
James Coburn ("Affliction"), Robert Duvall ("A Civil Action"), Ed Harris ("The Truman Show"), Geoffrey Rush ("Shakespeare in Love"), and Billy Bob Thornton ("A Simple Plan") won best supporting actor nominations.
One the women's side, Kathy Bates ("Primary Colors"), Brenda Blethyn ("Little Voice"), Judi Dench ("Shakespeare in Love"), Rachel Griffiths ("Hilary and Jackie") and Lynn Redgrave ("Gods and Monsters") were chosen for their supporting work.
Redgrave spoke with CNN Showbiz correspondents shortly after the nominations were announced.
"I'm just over the moon," she gushed. When asked what she thought her nomination might mean to her career, which has survived its share of ups and downs, Redgrave said, "I don't know -- that's in the laps of the gods and monsters. I'm being offered a lot of work, based on the Golden Globe, so who knows, this might bring me even more."
Best original screenplays nominations went to Warren Beatty and Jeremy Pikser for "Bulworth," Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto Benigni for "Life Is Beautiful," Robert Rodat for "Saving Private Ryan, Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard for "Shakespeare in Love," and Andrew Niccol for "The Truman Show."
Nominated for best adapted screenplay were Terrence Malick for "The Thin Red Line," Bill Condon for "Gods and Monsters," Scott Frank for "Out of Sight," Elaine May for "Primary Colors" and Scott B. Smith for "A Simple Plan."
"Life Is Beautiful," which picked up a total of seven nominations, pulled a rare trick, scoring nods in the categories of best foreign language film and best picture. That's the first time that has happened since "Z" pulled it off in 1969.
"Elizabeth" also received seven nominations.
But "Shakespeare In Love" is the frontrunner with 13 nominations (just one less than last year's "Titanic," which tied the record first set by 1951's "All About Eve"). It's seen as a surprising coup for Miramax, which waited until the end of the year to release the film on limited scale.
The 71st Academy Awards ceremony will be held March 21 at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, where the winners of a total of 24 categories will be announced. The event will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.
CNN Interactive Senior Writer Jamie Allen and Correspondent Laurin Sydney contributed to this report.
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