Reacting to the recent Oscar nominations announcement, the talent behind the films have been expressing how they feel about the big game...

The Aviator soared high above the Oscar nominations, snatching 11 nods, including best picture, best actor and best director for the epic story of US billionaire Howard Hughes.

"The best-picture nominations ... are a great honor that add even more value and prestige to the Disney-owned Miramax library," producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein said in a joint statement.

Martin Scorsese, the filmmaker behind such modern classics as Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and GoodFellas has never delivered a best-picture winner, and Scorsese has never won a directing Oscar despite four previous nominations.

"We don't want to jinx anything, but ultimately there is no one more deserving, absolutely," said Leonardo DiCaprio, a best-actor nominee as Hughes in The Aviator and the star of Scorsese's 2002 film Gangs of New York, which had 10 Oscar nominations but lost in every category.

"Bringing 'The Aviator' to the screen took years of effort by an extraordinary group of individuals, and I am thrilled that so many of the people who poured their heart into the film have been recognized by the Academy," said Scorsese. "It is a thrill for me to know that the efforts of so many talented members of the cast and crew have been honored with nominations."

Reacting to his multiple nominations for Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood said in a statement, "I want to thank the Academy for their kind recognition not only on my behalf, but on behalf of this remarkable film. It's always very gratifying to be recognized by your peers and even more so when that recognition is shared by such a wonderful team of creative professionals. This is a very personal film for me and for everyone involved, and we deeply appreciate the Academy's support."

She woke up in New York with "a bit of a jolt," but best actress nominee for Million Dollar Baby Hillary Swank seemed as grounded and level-headed as ever. "I'm just lucky to be a working actor," Swank demurred. "So many of my friends can't even get parts. I'm just trying to think of what I did to deserve it all. It's an honor to have been a part of this film, and to have worked side by side with Clint, Morgan, and all of Clint's wonderful collaborators. It is an experience that I will forever cherish. I'm beside myself."

Morgan Freeman also reacts to his nomination for Best Supporting Actor, "It is an honor to be recognized by the Academy for the work that I was privileged to do in this jewel of a film. The fact that the venerable Mr. Eastwood and the magnificent Ms. Swank have also been nominated makes me so happy that I could just burst."

Jamie Foxx landed dual nominations. Foxx is considered the favorite in the best-actor race for his dazzling emulation of Charles in Ray, and he also was picked in the supporting category for Collateral, in which he plays a cabdriver forced to drive a hitman on a killing spree.

"It's mind-blowing. It's a celebration right now. It is happiness right now," Foxx said. "If we win, it's going to be more happiness, but right now, it's simply time to be happy and reflect on what a fantastic year it's been for me."

For supporting actress, academy voters picked Cate Blanchett, who plays Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator; Laura Linney as sex researcher Alfred Kinsey's carnally adventurous wife in Kinsey; Virginia Madsen as a deceived lover in Sideways; Sophie Okonedo as innkeeper Rusesabagina's wife in Hotel Rwanda; and Natalie Portman as a gutsy stripper in Closer.

"This is one of the shocks of my life. It's an incredible, astounding, heart-stopping moment," Madsen said. "This always seemed really unattainable, because it's the Academy Awards. It's the gold man, the gold statue."

Andrew Lloyd Webber reacts to his Best Song nod. "I am delighted and proud to receive the nomination for Original Song, especially for a project that is so dear to me," said Phantom of the Opera producer and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. "Charles Hart provided beautiful lyrics and Minnie Driver did a brilliant job bringing the song to life. I also want to congratulate John Mathieson, Anthony Pratt and Celia Bobak on their well deserved nominations."

The 2005 Oscars will be handed out on February 27th. Stay tuned for more Oscar coverage.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.