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Viggo Mortensen '80 has received his first nomination for an Academy Award, for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, for his portrayal of a Russian mobster in Eastern Promises. Nominations were announced January 22, with winners schedule to be announced February 24. Mortensen also was nominated for his first Golden Globe Award this year, for the same role.

He joins two other St. Lawrence graduates in the elite "club" of those nominated for the Academy Award. Kirk Douglas '39 was nominated three times for the Best Actor award, for Lust For Life (1957), The Bad and the Beautiful (1953) and Champion (1950). He received an honorary award from the Academy in 1996, in recognition of a 50-year career in motion pictures. J. Kimball Gannon '24 was also nominated three times for an Academy Award, all for Best Music, Original Song ("Endlessly," from Earl Carroll Vanities, 1946; "Too Much In Love," from Song of the Open Road, 1945; and "Always In My Heart," from the film of the same title, 1943). Gannon, who is the composer of St. Lawrence's alma mater, didn't win any of the awards, but gained widespread fame as the composer of the much-loved holiday song "I'll Be Home For Christmas".

A government major at St. Lawrence, Mortensen has appeared in over 40 films and is also an accomplished musician, author and artist. The University hosted a visit by Mortensen in 2003, which included film screenings, book-signings and an exhibition of his paintings and photography. He was awarded an honorary degree at Commencement in 2006, where he delivered an address.

The Associated Press quoted his reaction to the nomination: "There were a lot of candidates and a lot of the awards shows or organizations this year have had different mixes of people. It was nice to see Tommy Lee Jones in there. He hadn't been in so much of the mix and when I saw his name come up and there was only one name left to go, I thought, 'Naah, well, there's no way (I'll be nominated).' So to be honest, I was quite surprised... if there's a strike I will not go but I have a feeling they'll solve it. I hope they do. I'm sure my mom would like to see me on TV and so forth, but if there's a strike I'm not crossing the line."

Competing with Mortensen for the award are George Clooney, Michael Clayton; Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood; Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd; and Jones, In the Valley of Elah

More: An interview with Viggo Mortensen '80

Posted: January 22, 2008

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