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Hollywood Honors Films on Sunday


The stars will be out in Hollywood Sunday for the highlight of the year in the movie industry, presentation of the Academy Awards, known as Oscars. Mike O'Sullivan looks ahead to the celebration.

Sunday's event at the Kodak Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard was nearly derailed by a Hollywood writers' strike, but the strike ended this month, and the Oscars should have all their usual glitz and glamour. Leading films this year include No Country for Old Men, about a drug deal gone bad near the Texas-Mexico border, and There Will Be Blood, a tale of the California oil boom. Both films have eight Oscar nominations.

Atonement, a drama about love in wartime Britain, and the legal thriller Michael Clayton each have seven.

Michael Clayton star George Clooney is a nominee for best actor, but faces tough competition from Viggo Mortensen, Tommy Lee Jones, Johnny Depp, and Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays a ruthless oilman in There Will Be Blood.

Laura Linney is a nominee for best actress for her role in The Savages, a story of a dysfunctional American family. At a luncheon for nominees earlier this month, she was asked about this nomination, her third. She said it was a happy surprise.

"And I think the joy of the nominations deepen a little bit as you are fortunate enough to have them come your way," she said.

Linney will compete against Cate Blanchett, nominated for her starring role in the period film Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Julie Christie in Away from Her, Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose, and Canadian newcomer Ellen Page, 21, who plays a pregnant teenager in the comedy Juno.

Page says the nomination feels unreal.

"It is very bizarre," she said. "It does not always feel right when you are being associated with four women and a group of people who you have so much respect for and so much admiration for. It feels like, are you sure? Do you want to double-check?"

Veteran actor Hal Holbrook, 83, was thrilled to receive his first Oscar nomination for his supporting role in the Sean Penn film Into the Wild. It chronicles a young man's journey to the wilderness of Alaska.

"It is a tremendous thrill, it is a great thrill, especially at this age of your life, you know," he said. "It is something you maybe dream about a few times when you are an actor going on through year after year of a career, but you do not really expect it to happen to you. And it is just a lucky break that Sean Penn put me in this role."

When striking writers announced an end to a three-month work stoppage this month, Hollywood breathed a sigh of relief and Oscar writers began to work double-time. Hollywood production is being ramped up, and the show will go on at the Oscars.

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