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Deepa Mehta, shown in 2003, directed Water, which has been nominated for the Critics' Choice Award for best foreign language film. ((Canadian Press))

Canadian director Deepa Mehta's Water is among the nominees for best foreign language film for the 12th annual Critics' Choice Awards, given by the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Water, a 2005 film about the plight of widows in India, won three Genie awards in Canada and has been critically acclaimed on the international film circuit.

It will be competing for the Critics' Choice award for best foreign language film against Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, Days of Glory, Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima, Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth and Pedro Almodovar's Volver.

Ten films are in the running for the Critics' Choice Award for best picture:

  • Babel.
  • Blood Diamond.
  • The Departed.
  • Dreamgirls.
  • Letters from Iwo Jima.
  • Little Children.
  • Little Miss Sunshine.
  • Notes on a Scandal.
  • The Queen.
  • United 93.

It is the second critical plum for Eastwood's war film, Letters from Iwo Jima,after the Los Angeles Film Critics included it in its top 10 picks on Monday.

The story of a Japanese officer at the famous battle got three nominations Tuesday for Critics' Choice Awards, including best director for Eastwood, although it is not yet in commercial release.

The Departed, Babel, Little Miss Sunshine and Dreamgirls each collected seven nominations.

Leonard DiCaprio has two best actor nominations, one for his portrayal as a mole in The Departed and the other for hisrole as a South African mercenary in Blood Diamond.

He's competing against Canadian Ryan Gosling for Half Nelson, Peter O'Toole for Venus, Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.

Three British actresses — Kate Winslet in Little Children, Helen Mirren in The Queen and Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal — are in the running for best actress.

Also nominated were Penelope Cruz for Volver and Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada.

Canadian actress Catherine O'Hara has scored a best supporting actress nomination for her role in For Your Consideration.

There are 19 categories in the Critics' Choice Awards and winners will be announced Jan. 12.

The awards are considered a potential preview of the overall Oscar race, but are not considered as significant as the Golden Globe nominations, which will be released Thursday.

Nominations in some other categories:

Best supporting actor:

  • Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland.
  • Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine.
  • Adam Beach, Flags Of Our Fathers.
  • Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond.
  • Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls.
  • Jack Nicholson, The Departed.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Adriana Barraza, Babel.
  • Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal.
  • Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls.
  • Rinko Kikuchi, Babel.
  • Catherine O'Hara, For Your Consideration.
  • Emma Thompson, Stranger Than Fiction.

Best Director:

  • Bill Condon, Dreamgirls.
  • Clint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo Jima.
  • Stephen Frears, The Queen.
  • Paul Greengrass, United 93.
  • Martin Scorsese, The Departed.