Forward, troopers

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The Independent Online

Cool Britons may come and cool Britons may go, but the nominations for the Academy Awards, announced yesterday, suggest that, when it comes to screen performances, this country's real strength lies in its more established acting talents.

Dame Judi Dench, of course, has been nominated for best actress for her leading role in Iris, while Jim Broadbent has been nominated for playing her husband, John Bayley, in the category of best actor in a supporting role. Sir Ian McKellen is, unsurprisingly, also nominated for best supporting actor for his part in The Lord of the Rings. And we also wish the best to Helen Mirren and Dame Maggie Smith as they compete for the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role.

The other striking aspect of this year's nominations, in what is for the most part a predictable list, is the representation of Australian and New Zealand actors. Scanning the nominations, we find the names of the Australians Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman, and a New Zealander, Peter Jackson. And of course much of The Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand. The centre of gravity in the film industry may be shifting just a tiny distance.