NEW YORK — Buoyed by two Oscar nominations and an expansion in the number of screens, Miramax’s “Sling Blade” sliced its way into the leading position on the exclusives roster.

Written, directed by and starring Billy Bob Thornton, “Sling Blade” tells the story of a slightly retarded man’s return to his Southern home town after being released from a mental hospital. The pic captured $67,355 in six asylums in Gotham and Los Angeles.

Also helping to propel “Sling Blade” to the top of the list was the absence of competition from Fine Line’s “Shine,” which went wide after receiving seven Oscar noms.

The second-most-popular limited-release film was newcomer “Touch.” The MGM release about a gifted healer massaged $52,409 in six venues on both coasts.

Academy Award nominations for best actress and best supporting actress helped lift October’s “Secrets & Lies” to the No. 3 position on the roster. The Mike Leigh weeper brought home $40,865 in four confessionals in New York and L.A.

Gramercy’s “When We Were Kings” returned to the list following an Oscar-qualifying run last year. Leon Gast’s Oscar-nominated docu about the “Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman knocked out $30,582 in two rings in New York and L.A.

On the East Coast, CFP’s “Cyclo” transported $11,320 in its first outing at the Film Forum.

The following are the grosses for films playing on a limited number of screens in New York and Los Angeles.

Los Angeles

“Sling Blade” (Miramax) slipped 2% to $15,193 in its 12th at the Laemmle Sunset 5, gained 8% to $13,973 in its fourth at the Laemmle Monica, and brought home $8,237 in its first at the Mann Regent.

“Touch” (MGM) bowed to $7,328 at the AMC Santa Monica 7, $6,190 at the AMC Century 14, $5,220 at the Cineplex Odeon Beverly Center and $4,288 at the Cineplex Odeon Universal City 18.

“Waiting for Guffman” (Sony) gave up 17% to $19,842 in its third at the Landmark Nuart.

“Secrets & Lies” (October) rose 47% to $8,614 in its 20th at the Landmark Samuel Goldwyn Pavilion and rang up $5,656 in its first at the AMC Fine Arts.

“Marvin’s Room” (Miramax) expanded 38% to $7,250 in its third at the Landmark NuWilshire and 13% to $6,687 in its sixth at the GCC Beverly Connection 6.

“Prisoner of the Mountains” (Metromedia) declined 18% to $5,979 in its second at the Laemmle Sunset 5 and 27% to $4,821 in its second at the Landmark Samuel Goldwyn Pavilion.

“Kolya” (Miramax) gave up 21% to $5,464 in its fourth at the Landmark Samuel Goldwyn Pavilion and 30% to $4,080 in its second at the Laemmle Music Hall.

“Hamlet” (Sony) surrendered 17% to $9,154 in its eighth at the Laemmle Royal.

“SubUrbia” (Sony) dropped 51% to $5,256 in its second at the Laemmle Music Hall and 47% to $3,407 in its second at the Laemmle Monica.

“When We Were Kings” (Gramercy) debuted with $7,045 at the AMC Century 14.

“Breaking the Waves” (October) climbed 30% to $6,800 in its eighth at the Laemmle Monica.

“johns” (First Look) took home $4,959 in its first at the Cineplex Odeon Beverly Center.

“Ridicule” (Miramax Zoe) declined 16% to $4,694 in its 11th at the Laemmle Music Hall.

“Albino Alligator” (Miramax) plunged 52% to $3,175 in its fifth at the Laemmle Sunset 5.

“Lone Star” (Sony Pictures Classics) rang up $1,564 in its first at the Laemmle Music Hall.

“Hotel de Love” (Live Entertainment) brought home $909 in its first at the Mann Criterion 6. It dropped 78% to $487 in its second at the Cineplex Beverly Center and 96% to $145 in its second at the AMC Century 14.

New York

“Kolya” dropped 2% to $19,869 in its fourth at Lincoln Plaza and 27% to $11,108 in its third at the City Cinemas Angelika.

“Sling Blade” rose 4% to $6,251 in its seventh at the City Cinemas Angelika. It brought home $12,101 in its first at the Cineplex Odeon Carnegie Hall and $11,600 in its first at the Cineplex Odeon First and 62nd Street.

“Touch” debuted with $12,835 at Sony Lincoln Square, $8,285 at the Loews Village Sevenplex and $8,263 at the Cineplex Odeon Beekman.

“Secrets & Lies” gained 37% to $15,483 in its 21st at Lincoln Plaza and rang up $11,112 in its first at the Quad.

“SubUrbia” was flat at $15,865 in its second at the City Cinemas Angelika. It lost 23% to $8,106 in its second at Lincoln Plaza and 56% to $2,359 in its second at the Cineplex Odeon First and 62nd Street.

“Hamlet” climbed 16% to $25,217 in its eighth at the Loews Paris.

“When We Were Kings” bowed to $23,537 at the Sony Lincoln Square.

“Marvin’s Room” gained 28% to $13,692 in its third at the Cineplex Odeon Regency and 20% to $8,813 in its sixth at the City Cinemas 68th Street.

“Prisoner of the Mountains” dropped 4% to $14,049 in its third at Lincoln Plaza and brought home $7,464 in its first at the Quad.

“Waiting for Guffman” increased 36% to $16,494 in its third at the City Cinemas Angelika.

“Cyclo” (CFP) debuted with $11,320 at the Film Forum.

“Boyfriends” (First Run) picked up $8,748 in its first at the Cinema Village.

“The Graduate” (Strand re-release) bowed to $8,393 at Film Forum.

“Big Night” (Rysher/Goldwyn) gained 4% to $7,739 in its 13th at the Cineplex Odeon Cinema 3.

“La Ceremonie” (New Yorker) added 4% to $7,139 in its ninth at Lincoln Plaza.

“The Portrait of a Lady” (Gramercy) surrendered 9% to $7,099 in its eighth at the Loews Village Sevenplex.

“johns” fell 19% to $6,720 in its third at the Quad.

“Margaret’s Museum” (Cabin Fever) shrunk 30% to $4,280 in its second at the Quad.

“Swingers” (Miramax) took home $3,320 in its first at the Screening Room.

“Citizen Ruth” (Miramax) dropped 9% to $3,313 in its third at the Screening Room.

“Hotel de Love” rang up $8,285 in its first at the Cineplex Odeon First and 62nd Street.

“Angel Dust” (Northern Arts) faded 25% to $832 at Cinema Village

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more