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Hollywood welcomes fresh faces to Oscar show

Terrence Howard, Amy Adams among rookie nominees
/ Source: The Associated Press

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 Tuesday.

The Oscars are the movie industry’s top honors 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 television 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 told Reuters, when thinking about the March 5 awards show in Los Angeles.

Actress Amy Adams is shown in a scene from "Junebug" in this undated publicity photo. Adams received a best supporting actress nomination for her role for the upcoming 78th Academy Awards. The nominations were announced in Beverly Hills, California, January 31, 2006 and the Oscars will be presented March 5, 2006. NO SALES NO ARCHIVES REUTERS/Robert Kirk/Sony Pictures Classics/HandoutRobert Kirk / Sony Pictures / X80001

With comedy “Junebug,” Adams won numerous fans for playing a sweet, simple girl with an upbeat outlook on life. Her performance garnered a best supporting actress nomination. Adams’ first taste of fame has yet to lead to people hounding her for autographs, but the Disney studio has taken notice of her, giving Adams a role in a new movie.

“It’s so hard to predict success or failure in this town. It’s just crazy,” she said. “You just got to roll with it.”

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.”

Diapers take precedence over OscarWilliams said she was awakened this morning, not by news of the Oscar nomination, but by her 3-month-old daughter whose diaper needed changing. She recently had the baby with her boyfriend, actor Heath Ledger, whose performance as a lovelorn cowboy in gay romance “Brokeback Mountain” nabbed him a best actor nomination.

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Ledger told Reuters that he hadn’t thought about all the new talent in this year’s Oscar race, but added: “If I am in that, it’s wonderful and it’s a cool gang to be a part of.”

Ledger will be vying for best actor honors along with Howard, who was nominated for his starring role as a pimp who longs to be a rap star 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 Edward R. Murrow in “Good Night, and Good Luck.”

Strathairn, 55, is the only best actor nominee over 40. Phoenix received a best supporting actor nomination in 2000 for ”Gladiator.”

First-time Oscar nominees for best actress include Reese Witherspoon in “Walk the Line,” Felicity Huffman of ”Transamerica” and 20-year-old Keira Knightley for “Pride & Prejudice.” The newcomers will compete with Oscar winners Judi Dench, who revamped a derelict theater in London in “Mrs. Henderson Presents,” and Charlize Theron, who portrayed a woman miner sexually harassed by her co-workers in “North Country.”

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.  REUTERS