Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Queen Is Leading British Oscar Charge

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Queen Is Leading British Oscar Charge

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEXA BARACAIA

HELEN MIRREN is poised for the year of her career after landing a best actress Oscar nomination for The Queen.

The 61-year-old's hopes were today confirmed as the shortlist for the 2007 Academy Awards was unveiled in Los Angeles.

It is the third time Mirren has been nominated for an Oscar but she has yet to win a statuette.

This year, however, the buzz around her performance has reached fever pitch and she is hot favourite to lead the British charge at the ceremony next month.

But it will be tempered by tense competition among her peers because she will have to battle for the honour alongside fellow Brits Dame Judi Dench, 72, - shortlisted for her role in the Patrick Marber screenplay Notes on a Scandal - as well as Kate Winslet, 31, earning herself a fifth shot at an Oscar for Little Children.

Penelope Cruz received her first Oscar mention, for best actress.

In all, today's shortlist for the 79th Academy Awards is a triumph for British talent.

Peter Morgan's The Queen, a poignant tale of fallout among the Windsors following the death of Princess Diana, is nominated for best film and best screenplay.

The Queen's Stephen Frears and Paul Greengrass of United 93 were nominated for best director.

Peter O'Toole, 74, has landed his eighth mention for Venus, 43 years after he earned his first for Lawrence of Arabia.

He has yet to win an Oscar, but in 2003 was handed an honorary award for lifetime achievement - an accolade he nearly turned down because he felt it signalled his career was over.

British-made film The Last King Of Scotland was nominated for best actor for Forest Whitaker.

Sacha Baron Cohen scored the Hollywood seal of approval, with a nomination for best adapted screenplay-for his spoof documentary Borat.

Despite nominations at the Baftas this month - and widespread critical and box office success - new Bond Daniel Craig failed to get a nomination.

Elsewhere, the big splashes were from Leonardo DiCaprio, who gets his third chance at Oscar glory for his role in Blood Diamond - which has its premiere in London tonight. …

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