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Musical 'Dreamgirls' Earns 8 Oscar Nominations

The musical Dreamgirls leads the Oscar contenders this year with eight nominations. Nominees for the Oscars, or Academy Awards, were announced early Tuesday in Los Angeles. But as we hear from Mike O'Sullivan the upbeat musical was not in the top category, Best Motion Picture.

Dreamgirls, a story of the Motown music scene, earned nominations for supporting performers Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, for its costume design, art direction, for three original songs and its sound mixing.

The international thriller Babel earned seven nominations, including one for Best Motion Picture. The film begins with the shooting of a tourist in the Moroccan desert, then looks at the intertwining stories of six families around the world.

Babel earned nominations for its Mexican director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and two supporting actresses, Adrianna Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi. It was also nominated for its film editing, screenplay and musical score.

Other best picture nominees include the comedy Little Miss Sunshine and the crime tale The Departed. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese is a nominee for best director for The Departed, and costar Mark Wahlberg will compete for the Oscar for best supporting actor.

Letters from Iwo Jima, a U.S.-produced picture shot in Japanese, earned filmmaker Clint Eastwood a nomination as best director. It is also a nominee for best motion picture.

The Queen, a story of Britain's royal family after the death of Princess Diana, received six nominations, including one for best picture and another for lead actress Helen Mirren. Other best-actress nominees are Penelope Cruz in Volver, Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal, Kate Winslet in Little Children, and Meryl Streep in the fashion industry satire The Devil Wears Prada.

Hollywood analysts expect a competitive Oscar race this year. Leonardo diCaprio is a best-actor nominee for his role as an African mercenary in Blood Diamond. Forest Whitaker is a best-actor nominee for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Hollywood veteran Peter O'Toole is another nominee for his role as an amorous, elderly actor in the film Venus.

The Mexican fantasy Pan's Labyrinth is up for six Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film. Other international entries come from Denmark, Germany, Algeria and Canada.

The Oscars will be presented in Los Angeles February 25.