Brits fare jolly good in Oscar nods

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LONDON — Oscar loves a British accent — and a Brit who can pass for American is even better.

British and Irish actors — from 13-year-old Saoirse Ronan to 66-year-old Julie Christie — are strongly represented in the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, announced today.

‘‘I don’t think there has ever been a richer time for British talent,’’ said Paul Webster, producer of ‘‘Atonement,’’ a romantic tragedy adapted from Ian McEwan’s novel.

Tom Wilkinson, a supporting actor nominee for thriller ‘‘Michael Clayton,’’ had a simple explanation for British actors’ success.

‘‘They are a lot less expensive than their American counterparts,’’ he said.

While ‘‘Atonement’’ stars Keira Knightley and James McAvoy were snubbed in the acting categories, there was good news for many of their compatriots.

Daniel Day-Lewis, a best-actor winner for ‘‘My Left Foot,’’ is nominated again for his bravura turn as a driven American oilman in ‘‘There Will Be Blood.’’ The best-actress category includes Christie as a woman with Alzheimer’s disease in ‘‘Away From Her’’ and Cate Blanchett — an Australian who made her name in London — as Elizabeth I in the costume drama ‘‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age.’’

The 16th century English monarch is about as far as can be imagined from the role that earned Blanchett her second nod, for supporting actress — a music star modeled on Bob Dylan in ‘‘I’m Not There.’’

London-born Tilda Swinton received a supporting actress nomination for ‘‘Michael Clayton,’’ and Irish teenager Ronan for ‘‘Atonement.’’

Wilkinson was nominated for best supporting actor for playing a lawyer who goes off the rails in ‘‘Michael Clayton.’’

Wilkinson, 59, has worked extensively on both sides of the Atlantic, from the steelworkers-turned-strippers comedy ‘‘The Full Monty’’ to the family drama ‘‘In the Bedroom,’’ for which he received a best actor Oscar nomination in 2002.

Other British nominations include Christopher Hampton (‘‘Atonement’’) and Ronald Harwood (‘‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’’), both for best adapted screenplay, and a cinematography nod for Roger Deakins (‘‘No Country for Old Men’’).

‘‘They are very, very generous to the Brits,’’ thrice Oscar-nominated Harwood said of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. ‘‘I don’t know why. Because we speak English, I think.’’


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on January 22, 2008 2:42 PM.

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