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THE OSCAR NOMINATIONS

Best supporting actor | Best supporting actress

January 24, 2007|SUSAN KING

Alan Arkin

"Little Miss Sunshine"

The 72-year-old performer receives his first Academy Award nomination in 38 years for his scene-stealing turn as the acerbic grandfather of a dysfunctional family. Arkin received his first best actor Academy Award nomination for "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming" and earned another nomination in that category two years later for "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter."

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Jackie Earle Haley

"Little Children"

The former child actor has spent most of the last two decades in Texas as a producer and director of TV commercials. Haley, 45, returns with an Oscar-nominated performance as a sex offender recently released from jail. Haley has already won several critics' awards, including the New York Film Critics Circle, and is nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award.

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Djimon Hounsou

"Blood Diamond"

The Beninese actor, dancer and fashion model earns his second best supporting actor nomination for his performance as a Sierra Leone fisherman who is captured by rebel troops and forced to work in diamond mines. The actor, 42, received the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures honor for supporting actor and is nominated for a SAG award. He was Oscar nominated for 2002's "In America."

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Eddie Murphy

"Dreamgirls"

The comic, 45, who came to fame in the early 1980s on "Saturday Night Live," earns his first Academy Award nomination for his turn as a tragically fated R&B singer. A box-office champ for more than two decades, Murphy makes one of his few dramatic forays in "Dreamgirls." He won the Golden Globe and is nominated for the SAG award.

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Mark Wahlberg

"The Departed"

The former rapper and Calvin Klein underwear model receives his first Oscar nomination for playing a Massachusetts state police detective who seeks revenge for the death of a colleague. Wahlberg, 35, received supporting actor honors from the National Society of Film Critics and was nominated for a Golden Globe.

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Adriana Barraza

"Babel"

The Mexican film and television actress garnered her first Academy Award nod for her role as a Mexican nanny working in San Diego. The actress earned a Golden Globe nomination and is in contention for a SAG award.

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Cate Blanchett

"Notes on a Scandal"

A winner in this category two years ago for "The Aviator," the 37-year-old Australian receives her second supporting actress nomination for her role as a married high school art teacher who enters an illicit affair with a 15-year-old student. Blanchett was nominated for a Golden Globe and is in contention for a SAG award.

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Abigail Breslin

"Little Miss Sunshine"

The 10-year-old garners her first Oscar nomination for her performance as a plain girl who is determined to win a beauty contest. Breslin is also nominated for a SAG award. If she wins the Oscar, she'll be the second youngest -- after Tatum O'Neal for "Paper Moon -- to receive a competitive Academy Award.

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Jennifer Hudson

"Dreamgirls"

A former singer and actress aboard cruise ships who was voted off Fox's "American Idol," the Chicago native, 25, picks up an Academy Award nomination for her film debut as the leader of an R&B girl group who is forced to become a backup singer. She won the Golden Globe and is nominated for a SAG award. If Hudson receives the Oscar, she'll be only the third African American actress to win an Academy Award in this category.

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Rinko Kikuchi

"Babel"

\f7The 26-year-old Japanese performer receives a supporting actress nomination for her haunting performance as a young deaf-mute who is having a difficult time coping with her mother's suicide. She tied with Jennifer Hudson for the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures' best breakthrough female award.

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-- Susan King

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