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Benjamin Button eyes 13 Oscars

Heath Ledger also up for award, naturally

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has been nominated for 13 Oscars, with Slumdog Millionaire pressing for ten and Dark Knight and Milk in the running for eight statuettes.

Dark Knight doesn't feature in the best picture category, but Heath Ledger must be a hot bet to claim the supporting actor crown, given Hollywood's propensity for honouring deceased thesps. Making up the numbers are Josh Brolin in Milk, Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt and Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road.

The best picture contenders are: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader and Slumdog Millionaire. The directors of these - David Fincher, Ron Howard, Gus Van Sant, Stephen Daldry and Danny Boyle, respectively - are in the running for the top helmsman laureate.

Slugging it out for best actor in a leading role are Richard Jenkins in The Visitor, Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon, Sean Penn in Milk, Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler.

The women sizing up for best actress in a leading role are Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married, Angelina Jolie in Changeling, Melissa Leo in Frozen River, Meryl Streep in Doubt and Kate Winslet in The Reader.

Winslet's nomination comes hot on the heels of her double Golden Globes triumph where she was honoured for her work in Revolutionary Road and The Reader. She'd been tipped to again pick up two nominations, but will have to make do with just one - a relief to those who like their acceptance speeches shorter than two hours and less than tearful.

In the world of animation, meanwhile, either Bolt, Kung Fu Panda or WALL-E will take the stage to accept the best animated feature Oscar.

The 81st Academy Awards will be hosted by Hugh Jackman on 22 February at LA's Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. There's a full list of nominations here. ®

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