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The others

Additional thesps, projects also generating buzz

Beyond the 25 contenders that look set to gather at least two major noms, several of this year’s films feature standout performances and/or other artistic merits that have people talking.

They include:

  • Meryl Streep as the ambitious, overbearing mother in Par’s “The Manchurian Candidate”

  • Mark Wahlberg as the confused existential help-seeker in Fox Searchlight’s “I Heart Huckabees”

  • Renee Zellweger’s return as a lovelorn Londoner in Universal’s “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”

  • Cate Blanchett as a pregnant journo hounded by Bill Murray’s explorer in Disney’s “The Life Aquatic”

  • Laura Linney’s performance as a college admissions officer who falls for an applicant who bears the samename as her high school sweetheart in Newmarket’s “P.S.”

  • Daniel Craig as the object of Rhys Ifans’ obsession in Par Classics’ “Enduring Love,” which also boasts fine tech credits

  • Nicole Kidman and Lauren Bacall in New Line’s reincarnation mystery “Birth”

  • Billy Bob Thornton’s turn as coach Gary Gaines in U’s box-office winner “Friday Night Lights”

  • John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson and Gabriel Macht as misfits who become a family in “A Love Song for Bobby Long”

  • The ensemble of thesps in Warner Independent Pictures’ marital drama “We Don’t Live Here Anymore”

  • Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger as the estranged husband and wife in Focus Features’ “The Door in the Floor”

  • Scripts for Searchlight’s “I Heart Huckabees,” DreamWorks’ “Shrek 2” and Sony’s “Spider-Man 2”

  • Cinematography and art direction on Sony Classics’ “House of Flying Daggers,” from Chinese helmer Zhang Yimou, whose “Hero” was a summer box office hit

  • Songs in Disney’s animated “Home on the Range” and Miramax’s Bollywood meets-the-West musical comedy “Bride and Prejudice”

  • Sound and performances by David Carradine and Uma Thurman in Miramax’s well-reviewed Quentin Tarantino actioner “Kill Bill Vol. 2”

  • Costumes, hair and makeup, and score of Par’s family epic “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”

  • Costumes and set design in Sony Pictures Classics’ “Merchant of Venice,” and perfs by Al Pacino and Lynn Collins

  • Adapted screenplay and tech credits on Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”

  • Costumes in MGM/UA’s “De-Lovely,” Lions Gate Films’ “Stage Beauty” and Focus Features’ Reese Witherspoon starrer “Vanity Fair”

  • Set design of “The Terminal,” “Troy” and “The Alamo”

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