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'Benjamin Button' Leads Oscar Nominations


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a film starring Brad Pitt, picked up 13 Oscar nominations, the most of any movie entered in this year's Academy Award competition.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is an unusual tale of a man who ages backwards. It brought star Brad Pitt an Oscar nomination as Best Actor.

Among its other Oscar nods, Benjamin Button earned a nomination for director David Fincher and another for supporting actress Taraji P. Henson.

Slumdog Millionaire
, a rag-to-riches tale set in India, earned 10 nominations, including one for director Danny Boyle and another for Best Picture. The film focuses on a young Mumbai man in search of love and winnings on a quiz show.

Heath Ledger received a posthumous nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role as the sinister Joker in the latest Batman epic, The Dark Knight.

The nomination came on the one-year anniversary of Ledger's death from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.

The Dark Knight earned eight nominations, but was shut out of the key categories of Best Picture and Best Director.

Other Best Picture nominees include Frost/Nixon, which recounts the landmark on-air conversations between British journalist David Frost and former U.S. President Richard Nixon; The Reader, and Milk, the story of slain San Francisco gay-rights leader Harvey Milk. Star Sean Penn earned a nomination for Best Actor.

Frank Langella, who plays the former president in Frost/Nixon, is a Best Actor nominee, along with Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler and Richard Jenkins for The Visitor. Jenkins was considered a long-shot, as were Best Actress contender Melissa Leo for Frozen River and Supporting Actor nominee Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road. In another surprise, Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino was shut out of all major categories.

Best Actress contenders include Meryl Streep in Doubt, a film that centers on accusations of child abuse against a Catholic priest, Angelina Jolie for the crime drama Changeling and Kate Winslet for The Reader.

The Oscars are presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

At Thursday's early morning new conference, actor Forest Whitaker named the nominees for Best Foreign Language film. They range from a story of terrorism in 1960s Germany to a tale of the aftermath of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

"We have from Germany, The Baader Meinhof Complex; from France, The Class; from Japan, Departures; from Austria, Revanche; and from Israel, Waltz with Bashir," said Whitaker.

Winners of the 81st annual Oscars will be announced in Hollywood February 22, with actor Hugh Jackman hosting for the first time.


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