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Wizards, Logarithms, and Paris Nights:  Oscar Nominees Announced - 2002-02-12

Nominees for the 74th annual Oscars were announced Tuesday, and the front-runners include an epic fantasy of hobbits and wizards, a brilliant mathematician's dramatic battle against mental illness and an energetic musical set in a Parisian night spot.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring cast its spell on Oscar voters. The adaptation of the J.R. Tolkien mythic fantasy has 13 nominations - the most of any film this year - including Best Director for New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson and Best Picture.

Other nominees are A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In the Bedroom, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Moulin Rouge.

Breathing new life into the musical film genre, Moulin Rouge scores eight nominations including Best Actress for Australian Nicole Kidman. The emotional drama A Beautiful Mind is also up for eight Oscars including a third consecutive Best Actor nomination for its star, New Zealand-born Russell Crowe.

"I never thought of being nominated for awards as a problem, but there is no higher award than a peer-given award from the academy. In terms of acting you're looking at the highest mountain when you're looking at the academy award," Russell Crowe said.

Nominations for Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry mark the first time in 30 years that three Black Americans have been picked in the lead acting categories.

This is the first year for the Best Animated Feature Film category and the three nominees Shrek, Monsters Inc., and Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius are all high-tech computer animation.

Bosnia-Herzegovina got a first-time nomination in the Best Foreign Language film with No Man's Land. Other nominees in the category include Amelie from France, Elling from Norway, Lagaan from Indiaand Son of the Bride from Argentina.

French entry Amelie garnered five nominations including Best Original Screenplay, a rare accomplishment for a non-English language film.

Now some 5,000 voting members of the Motion Picture Academy - the actors, writers, directors and other craftspeople who make the movies - will make their choices for the best on screen in 2001. Winners of the 74th annual Oscars will be revealed in a star-studded global telecast on March 24.