Top 30 Oscar nominees: Get a closer look |


Top 30 Oscar nominees: Get a closer look

Get the latest buzz about the top contenders up for an award on Feb. 29

Charlize Theron

(Charlize Theron: Firooz Zahedi/

Questions, questions, questions. That’s a common response to 2004’s relatively surprising list of Oscar nominees: Can Bill Murray beat Sean Penn? Is Charlize a lock for Best Actress? Will “Lord of the Rings” hoard all the statues? And who the heck are Shohreh Aghdashloo and Fernando Meirelles?

So now it’s time for some answers. Though many details won’t be resolved until after the Feb. 29 ceremony, we’ve gathered background information that could help you clarify some details and formulate your Oscar picks. Read on for interviews, insider info, and speculation about 30 nominees in the six top categories.