Oscar nominations announced

A coldblooded killer and a coldblooded tycoon led the Oscar nominations Tuesday, with a lawyer suffering from an ethical crisis also earning a strong showing.

"No Country for Old Men," the Coen brothers' film version of Cormac McCarthy's novel about a brutal killer and laconic sheriff pursuing a man across the scrub of west Texas, and "There Will Be Blood," Paul Thomas Anderson's version of an Upton Sinclair novel about the descent of an oil tycoon, led the nominees for the 80th Academy Awards, with eight nominations each.

The drama "Michael Clayton," about a lawyer (George Clooney) undergoing a crisis when a mentally ill friend turns up possible indiscretions in a multibillion-dollar case, also did well, picking up nominations in several major categories, including best picture, best director (Tony Gilroy), best actor (Clooney), best supporting actor (Tom Wilkinson), best supporting actress (Tilda Swinton) and best original screenplay (Gilroy).

The nominations were announced Tuesday morning from Beverly Hills, California.

Besides "Michael Clayton," the nominees for best picture are "No Country for Old Men," "There Will Be Blood," "Atonement" and "Juno."

The nominees for best actor are Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood"), Clooney "(Michael Clayton"), Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"), Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah") and Viggo Mortensen ("Eastern Promises").

The nominees for best actress are Marion Cotillard ("La Vie En Rose"), Ellen Page ("Juno"), Julie Christie ("Away from Her"), Cate Blanchett ("Elizabeth: The Golden Age") and Laura Linney ("The Savages")

The nominees for best supporting actor are Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Charlie Wilson's War"), Casey Affleck ("The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"), Hal Holbrook ("Into the Wild") and Wilkinson ("Michael Clayton").

The nominees for best supporting actress are Ruby Dee ("American Gangster"), Blanchett ("I'm Not There"), Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement"), Amy Ryan ("Gone Baby Gone") and Swinton ("Michael Clayton").

The nominees for best director are Ethan and Joel Coen ("No Country for Old Men"), Anderson ("There Will Be Blood"), Julian Schnabel ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"), Jason Reitman ("Juno") and Gilroy ("Michael Clayton").

The Oscars will take place February 24 from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Jon Stewart is scheduled to host. The broadcast will air on ABC.

The status of the ceremony has been in flux because of the still-unsettled Writers Guild of America strike, which began November 5.

Though Oscar organizers have said their show will go on regardless of the strike, the Screen Actors Guild said in a statement that it will honor writers' picket lines, leaving many celebrities to decide whether they want to attend the ceremony.

The Golden Globes, which were awarded January 13, were forced to replace the usual star-studded broadcast in favor of a brief press conference because of the strike.