“Ray” and its star Jamie Foxx were among those honored today (Jan. 25) with nominations for the 77th annual Academy Awards. The Ray Charles biopic will compete for a best picture Oscar while Foxx is considered by many to be a frontrunner for the best actor trophy for his portrayal of Charles.
Foxx is also nominated in the supporting actor category for his role opposite Tom Cruise in “Collateral,” while “Ray” netted a best director mention for Taylor Hackford, as well as nominations for costume design, editing and sound mixing.
Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Oscars will be handed out Feb. 27 at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre. Comedian/actor Chris Rock will host the live ABC broadcast.
Also in the running for best picture “The Aviator,” this year’s top nominee with 11 nods, including a directing notice for Martin Scorsese and a best actor nod for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Howard Hughes. “Million Dollar Baby,” “Sideways” and “Finding Neverland” round out the best picture nominees.
Foxx and DiCaprio will face best actor competition from Johnny Depp, who played “Peter Pan” playwright J.M. Barrie in “Finding Neverland”; Clint Eastwood as a boxing trainer in “Million Dollar Baby,” for which he also garnered a directing nomination; and Don Cheadle who in “Hotel Rwanda” portrayed hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered refugees from genocide in Rwanda.
Among other music-related nominations is a best documentary feature mention for “Tupac: Resurrection.” Directed by Lauren Lazin and produced by Karolyn Ali, the film traced the life and career of late rapper Tupac Shakur.
The film adaptation of the stage musical “The Phantom of the Opera” earned nominations for art direction and cinematography mentions, as well as a best original song for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart’s “Learn To Be Lonely.”
Also up in the best song competition is Counting Crows’ “Accidentally In Love” from animated feature film nominee “Shrek 2,” Jorge Drexler’s “Al Otro Lado Del Río” from “The Motorcycle Diaries,” Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri’s “Believe” from “The Polar Express” and Bruno Coulais and Christophe Barratier’s “Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)” from foreign language film nominee “The Chorus.”
Oft-nominated composer John Williams appears on the best original score slate for his work on “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” Also up are scores from “Finding Neverland” (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek), “Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events” (Thomas Newman), “The Passion of the Christ” (John Debney) and “The Village” (James Newton Howard).
Several composers considered Oscar contenders for the honor found their respective scores reportedly failing to meet Academy Award eligibility rules. These works included Howard Shore’s “The Aviator,” Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby, Craig Armstrong’s “Ray,” and Newton Howard’s “Collateral” scores.
“The Aviator,” “Ray” and “Collateral” were reportedly ineligible because the Academy deemed the scores diluted or diminished in their respective films by other music not written by the films’ composers. The “Million Dollar Baby” score was disqualified due to missing the paperwork deadline for consideration, according to sources.
Harry Gregson-Williams’ score for “Shrek 2” was also reportedly disqualified since the Academy has strict rules on score music in sequels; the sequel score may be disqualified if the Academy determines it has too much music from the original movie.
Representatives for the Academy were unavailable for comment by deadline.
Although Shore and Armstrong were excluded from Oscar nods this year, their respective work on “The Aviator” and “Ray” earned them nominations for the Anthony Asquith Award for achievement in music at the Orange British Academy Awards, to be presented Feb. 12 in London. Other nominees in that category are Coulais’ “The Chorus (Les Choristes),” Gustavo Santaolalla’ “The Motorcycle Diaries” and Kaczmarek’s “Finding Neverland.”
The full list of Academy Award nominees can be found at Oscar.com.