The peppy muscial "Dreamgirls," which was inspired by Motown group the Supremes, scored a leading eight Oscar nominations, but was suprisingly omitted from the coveted best picture and directing categories, organizers said.
"Babel," a bold examination of the woes afflicting humanity in the early 21st century, followed with seven nominations, followed by Spanish-language adult fairy tale "Pan's Labyrinth" and the British royals drama "The Queen" with six each.
The best picture nominees were "Babel," "The Departed," "Letters from Iwo Jima," "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Queen."
The directing nominees were Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for "Babel," Martin Scorsese for "The Departed," Clint Eastwood for "Letters from Iwo Jima," and British directors Stephen Frears for "The Queen" and Paul Greengrass for "United 93."
The 79th annual Academy Awards, the top honors in cinema, will take place on Feb. 25 in Hollywood.
No Clear Winner Seen For Best Picture
Going into nominations day, the best-picture competition looks unusually wide open, with no consensus on a favorite. With "Dreamgirls," a Golden Globe winner out of the race, the best picture competition was even more up for grabs.
But front-runners in all four categories nabbed nominations and seemed poised to come home with Oscars on Feb. 25: Helen Mirren for best actress as British monarch Elizabeth II in "The Queen"; Forest Whitaker for best actor as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland"; and Eddie Murphy and former "American Idol" finalist Jennifer Hudson as soulful singers in "Dreamgirls."
The other nominees for best actor are Leonardo DiCaprio for "Blood Diamond," "Ryan Gosling" for "Half Nelson," Peter O'Toole for "Venus," and Will Smith for "The Pursuit of Happyness."