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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Lord of the Rings' Named for 13 Oscars

BEVERLY HILLS, California -- The Oscars, Hollywood's top film honors, looks to be a race between fantasy and madness with the epic "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" claiming 13 nominations Tuesday to eight each for musical "Moulin Rouge" and mental-illness drama "A Beautiful Mind."

All three films, which have been among the top winners in Hollywood's current awards season, face competition for best film from drama "Gosford Park" and independent film "In the Bedroom," about a grieving family.

The Oscars are awarded each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This year's 74th Annual Academy Awards will be televised live around the world on March 24 from Hollywood.

Heading into Tuesday's nominations, "A Beautiful Mind," in which Russell Crowe portrays genius mathematician John Nash who battles with schizophrenia throughout much his life, had been considered a clear front-runner.

But the computer-animated "Lord of the Rings" earned nominations in a score of secondary categories such as costume design, cinematography and art direction that put it ahead of the pack in the Oscar race.

"It is a real horse race all the way around," said Frank Pierson, the academy's president.

He said the films ran the gamut from "real thoughtful" movies to big spectacles, and he saw no themes emerging from this year's motion pictures.

One surprise came in the best actor category where Will Smith earned a nomination playing legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in "Ali." While Smith's acting gained much "buzz" heading into the current awards season, the film received mixed reviews and performed only moderately well at the box office, leading some experts to think Smith might be out of the Oscar running.

Crowe, last year's best actor for playing a Roman general-turned-slave in "Gladiator," was nominated again, as expected. Sean Penn gained a best actor nomination for playing a mentally challenged man in "I Am Sam," as did Denzel Washington as a corrupt cop in "Training Day" and Tom Wilkinson as a grieving father in "In the Bedroom."

In the category for best actress, Sissy Spacek, who has earned several critical and press awards recently, was nominated for her performance as the grieving mother in "In the Bedroom."

She is joined by Halle Berry in racially charged drama "Monster's Ball" and Nicole Kidman, who played a nightclub singer in "Moulin Rouge." Also in that category were British actress Judi Dench for portraying English philosopher Iris Murdoch in "Iris" and Renee Zellweger in the title role of the comedy "Bridget Jones's Diary."

In the category for best director, Ron Howard of "A Beautiful Mind" competes with Robert Altman for "Gosford Park," Peter Jackson for "Lord of the Rings," David Lynch for "Mulholland Drive" and Ridley Scott for military drama "Black Hawk Down."

Best supporting actor nominations went to Britain's Sir Ian McKellen for "Lord of the Rings," Jim Broadbent in "Iris," Ethan Hawke for "Training Day," Ben Kingsley in the crime drama "Sexy Beast" and Jon Voight for portraying former sports broadcaster Howard Cosell in "Ali."

Supporting actress nominations were handed out to Jennifer Connelly for "Beautiful Mind," Marisa Tomei in "In the Bedroom" and Kate Winslet in "Iris." Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith also received nominations for their roles in "Gosford Park."

In the widely watched new category for best animated feature film were DreamWorks' smash hit "Shrek," Walt Disney Co.'s computer animated "Monsters, Inc." and Paramount's "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius."

Foreign-language film nominations went to France's "Amelie," Norway's "Elling," India's "Lagaan," Bosnia's "No Man's Land," and Argentina's "Son of the Bride."