The films There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men lead the Oscar nominations, announced in Los Angeles. Both films earned eight Oscar nods, including for best picture. Mike O'Sullivan has details on the announcement and on prospects for the 80th Oscars in a year marked by a Hollywood writers' strike.

There Will Be Blood, the story of the early 20th century California oil boom, earned nominations for director Paul Thomas Anderson and lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays a ruthless oil man: "There is a whole ocean of oil under our feet. No one can get at it except for me."

No Country for Old Men, a tale of a drug deal gone bad near the Texas-Mexico border, earned a nomination for supporting actor Javier Bardem, who plays a hired killer. Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen are nominees for best director.

Atonement, a tale of unrequited love in wartime Britain, earned seven nominations. The legal thriller Michael Clayton also earned seven, including Oscar nods for director Tony Gilroy and lead actor George Clooney, who plays a lawyer known at his firm as "The Fixer": "The math on this is simple. The smaller the mess, the easier it is for me to clean up."

The animated film Ratatouille earned five nominations.

Juno, a comedy about a pregnant teenager, earned four, including nods for leading actress Ellen Page and director Jason Reitman.

The French-language drama The Diving Bell and the Butterfly also earned four nominations, including one for artist Julian Schnabel who directed the film.

Johnny Depp is a nominee for best lead actor for the macabre musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and Tommy Lee Jones for In the Valley of Elah, one of this year's many films with a plot linked to the Iraq war. Viggo Mortensen earned a nomination as best actor for his role as a Russian mobster in Eastern Promises, and Laura Linney as best actress for The Savages, about a dysfunctional American family.

Cate Blanchett received two acting nods, one for her supporting role as singer Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, and another for her leading role in the period film Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Here, in her role as Britain's Queen Elizabeth I, she stands up to the Spanish ambassador as their countries verge on war: "I, too, can command the wind, sir! I have a hurricane in me that will strip Spain bare if you dare to try me."

Other contenders for best leading actress include Julie Christie for Away From Her, a drama about love and the ravages of aging, and French actress Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose, a film about the great French singer Edith Piaf.

Persepolis, a film based on a graphic memoir about growing up in Iran, will compete for the Oscar for best animated film. This year's foreign-language film entries come from Israel, Austria, Poland, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

The Oscar ceremony, scheduled for February 24, may depart from its usual format if an 11-week-long writers' strike is not resolved. The Golden Globe award ceremony this month was reduced to a news conference after the writers threatened to picket and actors refused to attend.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars, says its event will go ahead in one form or another.