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THE 68TH ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS

Best Actor

February 14, 1996|SUSAN KING

Nicolas Cage

"Leaving Las Vegas"

Cage, 32, has swept all the major critics' awards and won the Golden Globe for his haunting performance as a suicidal alcoholic. After making his film debut in uncle Francis Ford Coppola's "Rumblefish," Cage received Golden Globe nominations for 1987's "Moonstruck" and 1992's "Honeymoon in Vegas."

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Richard Dreyfuss

"Mr. Holland's Opus"

A Golden Globe nominee for his role as a compassionate music teacher, Dreyfuss, 48, receives his second best actor nomination. He won the best actor Oscar as a struggling actor in 1977's "The Goodbye Girl." Dreyfuss also starred in "Jaws" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

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Anthony Hopkins

"Nixon"

For his performance as the controversial late president, the Welsh actor receives his third best actor nomination. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for "Nixon." Hopkins, 58, won the 1991 best actor Academy Award for "The Silence of the Lambs" and a nomination for 1993's "Remains of the Day."

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Sean Penn

"Dead Man Walking"

As a murderer awaiting execution who learns to care from a nun, Penn, 35, receives his first Oscar nomination. The often volatile actor made his film debut in "Taps" and has starred in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Carlito's Way." He has also directed "Indian Runner" and "The Crossing Guard."

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Massimo Troisi

"Il Postino"

The enormously popular Italian comedian is the fifth performer to receive a posthumous Oscar nomination for his performance as a shy postman who is befriended by a poet. Plagued by a heart defect since childhood, Troisi died 12 hours after completing the film at the age of 41.

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