The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fresh talent to replace known faces in Oscar 2006

Los Angeles, Feb. 1 (Reuters): So long, Russell Crowe. Goodbye, Nicole Kidman. Oscar seems to have his eye on some fresh faces this year.

Terrence Howard of Hustle & Flow and Amy Adams of Junebug were among the 14 first-time Oscar nominees in acting categories that lacked many of the biggest names in Hollywood when the nominations for the 78th Annual Academy Award were announced on Tuesday.

The Oscars are the movie industry’s top honours and one of the most-watched televised events around the world. A lack of star power and major Hollywood films among the nominees has meant fewer TV viewers in the past, but that didn’t dampen the excitement of the newly minted members of Hollywood’s A-list.

“Oh, we’re going to have a great time,” Adams said, when thinking about the March 5 awards show in Los Angeles.

With comedy Junebug, Adams won numerous fans for playing a sweet, simple girl with an upbeat outlook on life. Her acting fetched a best supporting actress nomination.

Also nominated for supporting actress are Britain’s Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener, Michelle Williams for Brokeback Mountain, Catherine Keener in Capote, and a past Oscar winner, Frances McDormand from North Country.

Williams recently had a baby with her boyfriend, actor Heath Ledger, whose performance as a lovelorn cowboy in gay romance Brokeback Mountain nabbed him a best actor nomination.

Ledger will be vying for best actor honours along with Howard, for his role in Hustle & Flow. They face Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in Capote, Joaquin Phoenix as singer Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and David Strathairn who played newsman in Good Night, and Good Luck.

First-time Oscar nominees for best actress include Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line, Felicity Huffman of Transamerica and Keira Knightley for Pride & Prejudice.

Finally, the best supporting actor category has Oscar newcomers Jake Gyllenhaal, Ledger’s love interest in Brokeback Mountain, Matt Dillon, a racist policeman in Crash, George Clooney, who portrayed CBS producer Fred Friendly in Good Night, and Good Luck, and Paul Giamatti, a boxing trainer in Cinderella Man. Fellow nominee William Hurt from A History of Violence won an Oscar in 1985.

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