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Tuesday, February 9, 1999 Published at 16:26 GMT


Much ado about Shakespeare

Shakespeare in Love swept up 13 nominations

The romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love and Steven Spielberg's epic war drama Saving Private Ryan have scooped the pool in this year's Oscars nominations.

Emma Jones: "A straight fight between Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in Love"
Shakespeare in Love snared 13 nominations while Spielberg's epic took 11.

Both are up for the top award of best film, along with Life Is Beautiful, Elizabeth and The Thin Red Line each of which captured seven nominations.

[ image: Saving Private Ryan: 11 nominations]
Saving Private Ryan: 11 nominations
Steven Spielberg is poised to put another Oscar in his trophy cabinet after picking up a nomination for best director for his epic Second World War drama along with Peter Weir for The Truman Show.

Also in the running are John Madden for Shakespeare in Love, Italian filmmaker Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful and Terrence Malick for another war drama The Thin Red Line.

Best Actor

The nod for the best actor has gone to two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks for his role in Saving Private Ryan, along with veteran British actor Sir Ian McKellen for Gods and Monsters.

[ image: Thin Red Line starring Nick Nolte: yet to be seen in Britain]
Thin Red Line starring Nick Nolte: yet to be seen in Britain
The five-strong nomination list also includes Italian writer, director and actor Roberto Benigni for his work in Life Is Beautiful, Nick Nolte for playing a man nearing mental collapse in Affliction and Edward Norton for his portrayal of a skinhead racist in American History X.

Best Actress

As expected Gwyneth Paltrow received a best-actess nomination for her starring role in Shakespeare In Love.

[ image: Cate Blanchett: One of two Elizabeths]
Cate Blanchett: One of two Elizabeths
She was joined on the list of nominees by Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro for the critical favourite Central Station, Australian actress Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth, previous Oscar winner Meryl Streep for One True Thing and the British actress Emily Watson for Hilary and Jackie.

Supporting roles

[ image: Tom Stoppard and Dame Judi Dench celebrate]
Tom Stoppard and Dame Judi Dench celebrate
After being nominated for her role as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown last year, Dame Judi Dench has secured a supporting actress nomination this time around for her role as Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love.

The British actress said she was thrilled to be named.

"If I do win that's a wonderful treat, but if I don't, that's a wonderful treat just to have been nominated," she said.

Dench is up against another British actress, Brenda Blethyn for Little Voice, Kathy Bates for Primary Colors, Rachel Griffiths for Hilary and Jackie and Lynn Redgrave for Gods and Monsters.

[ image: Life is beautiful: Best Film and best Foreign]
Life is beautiful: Best Film and best Foreign
Actor James Coburn was nominated for his supporting role in Affliction. Also nominated for best actor in a supporting role were Robert Duvall of A Civil Action, Ed Harris of The Truman Show and Billy Bob Thornton of A Simple Plan.

Next month sees the 71st Annual Academy Awards taking place at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Centre in Los Angeles. A glittering ceremony with a night of a thousand stars vying for pole position in the acting and fashion stakes.

The ceremony

The March 21 ceremony will be shown live on television, with Whoopi Goldberg presenting the show for the third time.

In a controversial move, and the Oscars is no stranger to controversy, the Academy announced earlier that it will present a special Oscar to Elia Kazan.

The director of On the Waterfront and Gentleman's Agreement alienated many in the film world by naming names before the House Un-American Activities Committee investigating communist infiltration in Hollywood during the 1950s.

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