January 29, 2003 01:00 PM

Though critics noted that her fake nose made “The Hours” star Nicole Kidman virtually unrecognizable in the role of Virginia Woolf, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences apparently wasn’t impressed.

The Academy snubbed Kidman’s nose on Tuesday by not naming the makeup artists eligible for a best makeup Oscar nomination, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

But the “Hours” cosmeticians are in very good company. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” “Men in Black II” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” — all virtual fashion shows for outlandish makeup and special effects — didn’t make the cut.

And neither did “Chicago” (with its 1930s look) and “Gangs of New York” (despite Daniel Day-Lewis’s handlebar mustache and steel eye).

In all, in a category that traditionally has as many as seven nominations, this year there are only two movies that remain qualified to race for the gold: “Frida” and “The Time Machine.”

Commenting on the decision, Leonard Engelman, acting chair of the Academy’s makeup award rules committee and business representative at Local 706 (which organizes the Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards), told the Reporter: “I think everybody was surprised. But what we have to remember is we’re only looking for one — that one outstanding film.”

As for not including “The Hours,” the Reporter said the movie missed out in the makeup category due to the technicality of some digital work having been done on Kidman’s prosthetic nose.

“Chicago,” meanwhile, misstepped in the view of some of the voters because its hair and makeup did not accurately reflect its period.

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