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Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 18:47 GMT
So who's going to win?
Scene from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger: One to watch
Hollywood watchers say Gladiator's 12 Oscar nominations come as no surprise, but that no-one should underestimate the martial arts film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon which is hot on its heels.


Steven Soderbergh has bounced back quite spectacularly

BBC's David Willis
Ang Lee's film got 10 nominations, including best film.

"That will be very cheering to Ang Lee, the Taiwanese director," said the BBC's David Willis in Los Angeles.

"It has proved enormously popular in the United States, and that is very surprising for a film that is in Mandarin rather than in English."

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are both said to be "raging favourites" in the best actor and actress categories.

David Willis added that it has been an amazing day for director Steven Soderbergh - nominated for both Erin Brockovich and Traffic.

"About 12 years ago he was making independent films like Sex, Lies and Videotape, and then he fell on slightly harder times, but now he's bounced back quite spectacularly," he said.

Subtitle controversy

One UK critic suggests Chocolat's best picture nomination will please those who like foreign settings without subtitles.

Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche, nominated for Chocolat
"It's a Euro pudding," said Jason Solomons, film critic with The Mail on Sunday.

"It's a chocolate Euro pudding with lots of accents although they're all meant to be French," he added.

But Crouching Tiger's success was welcomed by Columbia TriStar's Richard Napper, who predicted a UK box office boost.

"The film seems to have captured the public imagination," says Napper. "People aren't put off by the subtitles which is very unusual."

Greg Brenman, one of the producers of low-budget British film Billy Elliot, said the film's three nominations were "the icing on the cake".

The film, co-produced by the BBC, has three nominations overall, with Stephen Daldry nominated for best director.

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