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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 January 2008, 08:19 GMT
Oscar nominations to be announced
Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood

The films and stars shortlisted for this year's Oscars will be announced in Los Angeles later.

The nominees are expected to include Daniel Day-Lewis, Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchett for movies There Will Be Blood, Sweeney Todd and I'm Not There.

There is still some doubt about the impact the ongoing US writers' strike will have on the format of the 80th Academy Awards ceremony on 24 February.

Jon Stewart, the face of TV's satirical Daily Show, is to host the event.

The nominations will be announced at 0530 Los Angeles time (1330 GMT) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

They were selected during a two-week ballot of more than 5,800 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A total of 24 categories will be announced, including the best acting performances of the year, technical awards in areas such as editing, design and music, and the prestigious prize for best picture.

Picket threatened

Among the other likely nominees are Atonement, the World War II romantic drama starring James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, which was named best film at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this month.

The other main winners at the Golden Globes were the Coen brothers' production No Country for Old Men and French film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in Atonement
Atonement told of an injustice which took place just before World War II
However, the results were announced during a low-key press conference rather than at the traditional glittering ceremony.

This was because members of the Writers Guild of America - on strike over royalties since 5 November - had threatened to picket the awards if they went ahead.

In a show of support, actors' union The Screen Actors Guild stated its members would not cross any picket lines, meaning any ceremony would have gone ahead with few celebrities.

It is rumoured that the Academy has a back-up plan so the Oscars can be held without the endorsement of writers or actors, the Associated Press reported, but no details have been released.

"We are planning to have our show on 24 February at the Kodak Theatre with an audience of 3,300 people and a television audience significantly larger than that," academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger has said.

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