NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sean Penn's adventure tale "Into the Wild" garnered the most Critics' Choice award nominations on Tuesday, including best picture, best actor for Emile Hirsch and best director for Penn.
With seven nominations, "Into the Wild," edged out the offbeat comedy "Juno," which picked up six nods, including best picture and best actress for Ellen Page's portrayal of a pregnant teenager.
Five films snagged five nominations apiece: "Atonement," "Michael Clayton," "No Country for Old Men," "Sweeney Todd" and "Hairspray."
With the exception of "Hairspray," they all received best picture nominations, along with "American Gangster," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "The Kite Runner," and "There Will Be Blood."
The Critics Choice Awards, organized by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, have a strong track record when it comes to predicting Oscar winners. Their 2006 choices for best picture and director, "The Departed" and Martin Scorsese, went on to win Oscars, as did three of their four acting choices.
"Into the Wild," based on the true story of a suburban rebel who starved to death while seeking freedom in the Alaskan wilderness, received rave reviews. But it has under-performed at the box office, selling just $16 million worth of tickets since its September release. "Juno" opened strongly in New York and Los Angeles last week, and will gradually expand nationally.
Besides Hirsch, best actor nominations went to George Clooney for "Michael Clayton," Daniel Day-Lewis for "There Will Be Blood," Johnny Depp for "Sweeney Todd," Ryan Gosling for "Lars and the Real Girl," and Viggo Mortensen for "Eastern Promises."
Along with Page, others getting best actress nods were Amy Adams for "Enchanted," Cate Blanchett for "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," Julie Christie for "Away From Her," Marion Cotillard for "La Vie en Rose," and Angelina Jolie for "A Mighty Heart."
"No Country for Old Men," the dark crime thriller from brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, has already won top film honors from New York Film Critics Circle Awards and the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. The Coens scored a best director nod from the Critics' Choice awards on Tuesday.
Such critical nods are helpful for the studios' marketing campaigns as they vie for Oscar attention for their films. Next on the awards season's agenda are the Golden Globe nominations on Thursday.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association has more than 200 members in the United States and Canada representing television, radio and online critics. The winners will be announced on January 7 during a ceremony at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles.
A full list of the nominations is available at criticschoice.vh1.com.
(Additional reporting by Dean Goodman)
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Vicki Allen