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The BBC's Jon Leyne reports
"Leading the nominations was American Beauty"
 real 28k

The 72nd Academy Awards nominations
As presented by Robert Rehme and Dustin Hoffman
 real 28k

Tuesday, 15 February, 2000, 14:49 GMT
American Beauty leads Oscars field

Kevin Spacey Kevin Spacey: Best actor nominee for American Beauty

British director Sam Mendes' film American Beauty leads the pack for the 2000 Academy Awards - with eight nominations, including Best Picture.

Star Kevin Spacey received a Best Actor nomination, while Annette Bening received a nod for Best Actress and Mendes is shortlisted for Best Director.

Annette Bening Annette Bening: Best Actress nomination
Other nominations were for screenwriter Alan Ball for Best Original Screenplay, as well as for Best Cinematography, film editing and original score.

The film is a dark satire on life in US suburbia, concentrating on the decaying relationship between a couple played by Spacey and Bening.

It marks Mendes' cinematic debut - he made his name in the theatre, directing The Blue Room and the original version of The Rise And Fall of Little Voice.

It's all downhill from here - probably the end of my career now. Even if it's all downhill from here, it'll still be a good journey
Sam Mendes
Mendes said he was "thrilled and completely delighted".

He added: "It's all downhill from here - probably the end of my career now. Even if it's all downhill from here, it'll still be a good journey.

"It's all a huge bonus and I'm treating it as that. It's delightful."

American Beauty was followed by The Insider and The Cider House Rules, which received seven nominations each. Both films were also nominated for Best Picture, along with The Green Mile and box office hit The Sixth Sense, which received six nominations overall.

Best actor and actress

In Best Actor, Kevin Spacey is up against Russell Crowe's portrayal of a tobacco industry whistle-blower in The Insider.

Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules Fourth nomination for Michael Caine
Sean Penn is nominated for his role in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown, while Denzel Washington is shortlisted for his part as wrongly-imprisoned boxer Rubin Carter in The Hurricane. Richard Farnsworth also gets a nod for his part in The Straight Story.

British star Janet McTeer is nominated for Best Actress for her role in Tumbleweeds, which won her a Golden Globe earlier this year. As well as Bening, she also faces fellow Globe winner Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry), Julianne Moore (The End of The Affair), and Meryl Streep for her part in Music of the Heart.

Supporting nod for Caine

British film veteran Michael Caine picked up his fourth Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as an unorthodox abortion doctor in The Cider House Rules. Unusually, Caine speaks with an American accent in the film.

Jude Law: Rising British star gets his first Oscar nod
He faces rising UK star Jude Law, who stars in The Talented Mr Ripley, in the same category - as well as 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment, who starred in The Sixth Sense. The other nominees are Tom Cruise for Magnolia and Michael Clarke Duncan for The Green Mile.

Best supporting actress sees Toni Collette nominated for The Sixth Sense, as well as Angelina Jolie for Girl, Interrupted, Catherine Keener for Being John Malkovich, and Chloe Sevigny for Boys Don't Cry.

The UK has another nominee here - Samantha Morton, who stars in Sweet and Lowdown. The 22-year-old is best known in the UK for her part in ITV drama Band of Gold, and gave birth to a daughter, Esme, nine days ago.

Hollywood pundits will be wondering why Jim Carrey has been passed over for an Oscar again - he had been widely tipped for his role as the late comedian Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, which won him a Golden Globe.

The shortlist was announced by Dustin Hoffman and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Robert Rehme in a dawn ceremony in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles.

Rehme called the list "eclectic and strong" and added "there was no favourite among them".

The ceremony takes place on 26 March.

Click here to read a full list of nominees.

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See also:
15 Feb 00 |  UK
Oscar nods for British stars
15 Feb 00 |  Entertainment
Mendes: 'I'll stay in UK'
15 Feb 00 |  Entertainment
Oscar nominees in full
15 Feb 00 |  Wales
Welsh movie on Oscars list
24 Jan 00 |  Entertainment
The Mendes touch
25 Jan 00 |  Entertainment
American Beauty wins again
08 Jan 00 |  Tom Brook
Denzel's Hurricane stirs controversy
25 Jan 00 |  Entertainment
American Beauty, British success
27 Nov 99 |  Tom Brook
Janet's Oscar hope
02 Feb 00 |  Entertainment
Brits gain Oscars momentum

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