Hollywood is abuzz as the nominations for the 79th Annual Academy Awards were announced yesterday by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis and past Oscar nominee Salma Hayek at a news conference in Beverly Hills.

Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Queen, Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed were nominated for Best Picture.

Dreamgirls led the pack of contenders for the Academy Awards with eight overall nominations but, surprisingly, failed to make the Best Picture grade – the first time ever that the top nominee has not been included in that category.

Babel, with a stellar cast led by Brad Pitt, received seven nominations, while the Spanish-language fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth and the Helen Mirrenn driven The Queen tied with six nods each. They were followed by Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and Blood Diamond with five nominations apiece.

The 79th Annual Academy Awards will be held on February 25 in Hollywood.

The nominees in the main categories were:

Best Picture: “The Departed,” “Babel,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Queen.”

Best Actor: Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Blood Diamond”), Ryan Gosling (“Half Nelson”), Peter O’Toole (“Venus”) and Will Smith (“The Pursuit of Happyness”).

Best Actress: Helen Mirren (“The Queen”), Judi Dench (“Notes on a Scandal”), Penelope Cruz (“Volver”), Meryl Streep (“The Devil Wears Prada”) and Kate Winslet (“Little Children”).

Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy (“Dreamgirls”), Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), Jackie Earle Haley (“Little Children”), Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond”) and Mark Wahlberg (“The Departed”).

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”), Adriana Barraza (“Babel”), Cate Blanchett (“Notes on a Scandal”), Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) and Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel”).

Best Director: Martin Scorsese (“The Departed”), Clint Eastwood (“Letters From Iwo Jima”), Stephen Frears (“The Queen”), Paul Greengrass (“United 93”) and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Babel”).

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