EW breaks down the Oscar nominations | EW.com

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EW breaks down the Oscar nominations

EW breaks down the Oscar nominations -- Here's what we think about this year's crop of nominated films

Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, ...

You know Jamie Foxx is having a good day when he starts breaking out the sports metaphors. ”It feels like winning the pennant or the Stanley Cup,” said the star of Ray and Collateral hours after becoming only the second man in history (the first was Al Pacino) to receive Oscar nominations for two different performances in the same year. ”It feels like the Super Bowl. All of that. Everything you could possibly imagine is going through me right now.”

Indeed, much of Hollywood was doing a collective end-zone dance after the announcement of the 77th Annual Academy Award nominations. After scoring big prizes at the Golden Globes and the Producers Guild Awards, Martin Scorsese’s epic The Aviator topped the list with 11 nods. ”I was in a New York hotel room and I was Unconscious — changing time zones, you know,” says star Leonardo DiCaprio, who scored his first nomination since 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Still, DiCaprio seems more pumped about the surprise recognition of his screen nemesis Alan Alda in the Best Supporting Actor category. ”That’s my boy!” DiCaprio says. ”I’m so excited for him because he has been ignored nomination-wise through

These different critics’ awards and the other award ceremonies.” Alda himself spent the afternoon making good on a promise to take part in a play reading and found himself the center of attention on the streets of Manhattan. ”I said to my wife after a couple of blocks of this, ‘I think maybe I’ll just spend the rest of the day walking around town and I’ll pass by all the places where 45 years ago I couldn’t get work,”’ Alda says. ”She said, ‘Probably you’ll get splashed by a bus.”’

The heart-wrenching dramas Million Dollar Baby and Finding Neverland followed Aviator with seven nominations each. In the case of Baby, three of those nods went to director-producer-star Clint Eastwood, who snuck into the Best Actor race despite being ignored by the Screen Actors Guild awards and the Globes. ”I was screaming,” says Best Actress nominee and Baby costar Hilary Swank of Eastwood’s hat trick. ”At 74, he’s still reinventing and being the brilliant man that he is. I always held out hope that the Academy would see it through for him.” Still, Eastwood missed out on recognition for his musical score due to some unfiled Academy paperwork. ”Nobody told us that the score has to be certified by the 8th of December,” swears Million Dollar Baby producer Albert S. Ruddy. ”I didn’t know that, Clint didn’t know that. It was just one of those fluky things that was off the radar.”

Still, some Oscar legends were overshadowed. At just 29, Kate Winslet earned an impressive fourth career nomination for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, besting the late great Marlon Brando, who didn’t earn his fourth nod till age 30. ”Check me out! Wow! I grew up in a small town outside of London. This kind of stuff isn’t supposed to happen to people like me,” says Winslet, adding that her husband, director Sam Mendes, ”was reminding me this morning, ‘Don’t you remember the first week of shooting? You were panicked, you couldn’t sleep, you thought that everything you were doing was terrible. And look what’s happened: You’ve gotten an Academy Award nomination for a part that nearly killed you!’ I was like, ‘Yeah, dammit, that’s right!”’ (Incidentally, The Polar Express’ and The Incredibles’ sound engineer Randy Thom trumped Winslet by scoring four nominations this year alone.)