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    “A Beautiful Mind” scripter Akiva Goldsman, who along with the rest of the “Beautiful” crew received the news of the pic’s eight nominations while at the Berlin Film Festival, told Daily Variety he feels like a proud parent. “You do all you can raising a child,” he explained, “and then you have to let go and see what happens. The same is for this film; it feels like my kid has done good in college!”

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    Frosh nominee Julian Fellowes, who nabbed a screenplay nomination (“Gosford Park”) said he feels as if he is “living out a Hollywood fantasy.” Fellowes, who was reveling in his nomination at home in London, sent much praise to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, saying “It is wonderful the way Americans are so generous to outsiders.”

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    He has only been nominated so far, but supporting actor contender Ian McKellen already wants to thank the Academy. “It’s as if they announce the nominations so early in the states as a form of convenience for the Londoners,” said the “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” thesp. McKellen, who was already well into his day when he learned of the film’s 13 nominations, described the pic’s noms as a “wonderful confirmation that the public was right. We knew that audiences have been pleased with the film, but to know now that the professionals consider it a job well done, makes this all the more delightful.”

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    Robert Altman, nominated for director and picture (as a producer) for “Gosford Park,” said “I am honored to receive these nominations. Working on ‘Gosford Park,’ was a joy and a delight thanks to the glorious cast. To be recognized by the Academy makes it all the sweeter.”

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    Three-time nominee Kate Winslet, who previously racked up nominations for “Titanic” and “Sense and Sensibility,” was far from blasé about her latest nomination for supporting actress (“Iris”). The British thesp told Daily Variety she is “surprised, overwhelmed, excited and delighted all at once.” Winslet, who also expressed that supporting co-star Judi Dench was the biggest honor of all, learned of her nom while at home in London with her daughter and mother. “My agent called and said, ‘here we go again.’ “

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    Sissy Spacek said she was “walking on air” over her actress nom for her performance in “In the Bedroom.” Thesp, who was at home in Virginia, said she did not set her alarm to wake up for the nomination announcements. “I never want to expect something or take anything for granted,” she said. “I was happy to wake up to the news, but did not plan my morning around it.” And what was the first thing this six-time Oscar nominee — and one-time winner for “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” in 1981 — did? “I called Marisa (Tomei) and we shared a few minutes of quality squealing time.”

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    Russell Crowe said in a written statement, “I’d like to thank the Academy for recognizing a movie which to me represents a very special collaboration, and in particular I’m very pleased for Ron Howard.”

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    According to first-time nominee Will Smith, it really is an honor just to be nominated. “Oscar is one of the few awards where the nomination itself is a victory,” said the “Ali” star. “Win or lose, I still get to hear the words ‘Oscar nominee’ in front if my name for the next few weeks. That, in itself, is surreal.”

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    As nominations were being announced Tuesday ayem in L.A., “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” helmer Peter Jackson was in New Zealand ringing in another day, Wednesday. At approximately 2:30 a.m. Kiwi time (5:30 a.m. PST), the director was in the midst of entertaining friends and “Lord” crew members at his home. “We stayed up and played board games, waiting for the news,” said Jackson, who pointed out that the film’s multiple nominations are especially satisfying considering the pic was a seven-year project in the making.

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    “In the Bedroom” may have garnered five nominations, but frosh helmer Todd Field was not banking on anything; he slept until 9 a.m on Tuesday. “I had turned the ringers off, Field told Daily Variety. “I wanted to sleep and let the buzz simmer down before I found out.” Field, who also co-wrote the script, said the film’s increasing success has exceeded his expectations. “The plan for this film was to release it on 40 screens; next week it will be playing on nearly 1,000. It’s amazing!”

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    Paul McCartney, who nabbed his second Oscar nom — multi-hyphenate was nommed in 1974 for song “Live and Let Die” — said in a written statement: “This is fantastic news. It’s a great honor to be considered by the Academy for an award such as this. We are all thrilled and would like to thank all of the people responsible. There is a great ‘Vanilla Sky’ out there.”

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    Taking the day off from lensing “Bond 20,” lead actress nominee Halle Berry was in her London apartment wrapping Valentine’s Day gifts when she learned of her good fortune. “I need a new adjective to describe how I feel,” said the “Monster’s Ball” actress, “happy, thrilled, elated, you name it, I feel it.” On a more serious note, Berry took a minute to emphasize the significance of her nomination — thesp is one of a few black females to be considered for an Oscar in the lead actress category — “Women of color are not often recognized, and I still do not know if I will live to see the day that a black woman wins the leading actress Oscar, but this is a good step in the right direction.”

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    Pixar topper, and “Monsters, Inc.” executive producer, John Lasseter said he would be popping open champagne at Pixar Tuesday. The computer animation house grabbed five nominations in all — four for “Monsters” and one for the animated short “For the Birds.” Lasseter kicked off Oscar Tuesday by calling his 21-year-old son in college (on the East Coast). “It has been a tradition in our household to watch the nominations together each year,” Lasseter said.

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    Marisa Tomei received a double dose of shock post-Oscar announcements. Not only did the former Oscar winner nab a supporting actress nom for “In the Bedroom,” but her neighbor’s short subject documentary “Artists and Orphans, a True Drama” was also nominated for a statuette. “It’s uncanny,” Tomei said. “Sharon (Gans) and I live on the same floor, two doors apart, so we are celebrating together!”

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    “A Beautiful Mind” helmer Ron Howard, also in Berlin, confirmed that the group would find a moment, in the midst of their hectic sked, to click a glass or two. “I am just glad that nobody got left behind,” he said. “Each individual nomination is a testament to the film’s quality as a whole.”

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    There may not be a bigger Will Smith fan than co-star Jon Voight. While Voight, who snared a nomination in the supporting actor category, was thrilled about his own nom, Smith’s “Ali” pal was beaming with pride for Smith. “Nobody knows better than I how much he deserves this nomination,” Voight said. “Will worked and worked and worked and never tired. It was not uncommon that after working a 17-hour day in Africa, he would perform a rap routine for the thousands of fans sitting in stands. I had never seen anything like it.”

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