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Veterans lead British bid for Oscars.

SCREEN veterans Dame Helen Mirren and Peter O'Toole lead the British charge for this year's Oscars.

Dame Helen - star of T he Queen - will battle it out with Dame Judi Dench and Kate Winslet for the best actress award. The Queen has a total of six nominations including best picture and best director for Stephen Frears.

Dame Helen, 61, has been Oscar-nominated twice before but bookmakers and critics alike agree this is definitely her year.

William Hill makes Dame Helen 1/12 favourite to scoop the best actress award.

Winslet picks up her fifth nomination for playing a bored housewife and mother in Little Children. Dame Judi, another Oscars veteran, is nominated for her role in Notes On A Scandal as an embittered schoolteacher who discovers a colleague (Cate Blanchett) has begun an affair with a 15-year-old pupil.

Peter O'Toole picked up his eighth Oscar nomination - and his first in 24 years - at the age 74 for his performance as an ageing actor who falls for a young woman in Venus.

He is up against Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond, Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson, Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness and favourite Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.

The winners will be announced at the ceremony on February 25, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.

Main Oscar nominations

Male leading role

Leonardo DiCaprio - Blood Diamond

Ryan Gosling - Half Nelson

Peter O'Toole - Venus

Will Smith -The Pursuit Of

Happyness

Forest Whitaker - The Last King Of Scotland

Male supporting role Alan Arkin - Little Miss Sunshine Jackie Earle Haley - Little Children Djimon Hounsou - Blood Diamond Eddie Murphy- Dreamgirls Mark Wahlberg- The Departed

Female leading role Penelope Cruz - Volver

Judi Dench - Notes On A Scandal Helen Mirren - The Queen Meryl Streep - The Devil Wears

Kate Winslet - Little Children

Female supporting role Adriana Barraza - Babel Cate Blanchett - Notes On A

Breslin - Little Miss Sunshine

Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls Rinko Kikuchi - Babel

Best motion picture The Departed Letters From Iwo Jima Little Miss Sunshine The Queen

CAPTION(S):

OSCARS: Dame Judi Dench, left, is nominated for her role in Notes on a Scandal and Kate Winslet for Little Children.' HER YEAR? Helen Mirren is the critics' choice for best actress for her performance in The Queen.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 24, 2007
Words:371
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