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La Liga de Las Americas

Latinos receive a record 19 Academy Award nominations

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 23, 2007 (AP): Latinos received a record 19 nominations Tuesday for this year's Academy Awards, including a best picture nomination for “Babel'' and best foreign-language nod for “Pan's Labyrinth.''

“It shows the growth and the maturity of the (Mexican) industry and that they're doing wonderful pictures,'' motion picture academy spokesman John Pavlik told The Associated Press. ``It means they're doing a great job for themselves'', he added, noting that the Academy recognizes great films, regardless of where they're from.

“Babel,'' a drama by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Inarritu about families from different continents joined by a series of tragic events, garnered seven nominations: best picture, best director, best original screenplay (by Mexican Guillermo Arriaga), best original score (by Argentina's Oscar Gustavo Santaolalla), best editing and two nominations for best supporting actress (Adriana Barraza of México and Rinko Kikuchi of Japan).

Arriaga said the nomination, conveyed to him by his wife, made his heart ``jump and jump like a fish out of water.''

``I'm very, very happy of course,'' he said. ``What I want with this nomination is that people go and see the film and reflect about its issues.''

Babel tells three interwoven stories set in Japan, Morocco and the U.S.-México border region that explore the subjects of globalization, immigration and the pain of losing family.

It has received awards at Cannes and the Golden Globes.

Barraza said she was overjoyed.

``I couldn't stop crying and hugging my husband who was also crying and when the nominations of my fellow co-workers were announced I continued crying and yelling. It was wonderful that Salma (Hayek) was present at the nominations. I am happy, thankful and very honored.''

Santaolalla won an Oscar last year for his score for ``Brokeback Mountain.''

``I am very happy to be nominated again. It seems like a dream,'' he said.

``Pan's Labyrinth,'' a phantasmagoric tale by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, was nominated in the categories of foreign-language film, cinematography (by Mexican Guillermo Navarro), makeup, original score (by Spaniard Javier Navarrete), original screenplay, and art direction.

``Children of Men,'' by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, received three nominations: best cinematography, best editing, and best adapted screenplay.

Penelope Cruz of Spain was nominated for best actress for her role in ``Volver,'' from legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Although the film received a Golden Globe, it was not nominated in any other Oscar categories.

Hayek, who received a nod in 2002 for ``Frida,'' announced the nominations early Tuesday morning with academy President Sid Ganis. She remarked on the number of fellow Hispanic actresses to receive nominations.

``If only some of them would have been nominated, it would have been marvelous, but the fact that they nominated all of them ... it's too much for a girl at this hour of the morning,'' she said.

Two other Spanish productions were nominated: ``Binta and the Great Idea'' by Javier Fesser and ``One Too Many'' by Borja Cobeaja—both for best live-action short film.

Mel Gibson's Mayan-language epic “Apocalypto” was nominated in three categories: makeup, sound editing and sound mixing.

The award winners will be announced Feb. 25 in Los Angeles.

Associated Press writers Sigal Ratner-Arias in New York and Istra Pacheco in México City contributed to this report. On the Net: www.oscar.com





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