American Hustle and Gravity get 10 Oscar nods

Michael Fassbender and U2 make Oscar nominations

 Michael Fassbender. Photograph: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

Michael Fassbender. Photograph: Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

Thu, Jan 16, 2014, 17:07

As expected, three films dominated when Chris Hemsworth read out the Oscar nominations in Los Angeles at lunchtime.

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Alfonso Cuáron’s Gravity and David O Russell’s American Hustle, all among the nine nominees for best picture, still look to be the horses to beat. American Hustle and Gravity scored 10 nods. McQueen’s film managed nine.

Hustle achieved the very rare feat of taking nods in all major categories: best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, best supporting actress and best supporting actor.

Stephen Frears’s Philomena, the impressive drama about an Irish woman searching for her lost son, also did well, picking up nominations for best picture, best screenplay, best music and – for Dame Judi Dench – best actress in a leading role.

There was further Irish interest with Michael Fassbender scoring an expected nomination in the best supporting actor race for 12 Years a Slave. A recent winner at the Golden Globes, U2’s Ordinary Love, from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, is in the running for best original song.

There were no enormous surprises. But, as ever at this point in awards season, some fancied films find their stock falling, whereas others have done better than expected.

With that astonishing finish in the prestige races, American Hustle – a con-man drama set in the late 1970s – must now be seen as marginal favourite for best film.

Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey as a Texan fighting for access to drugs during the early years of the Aids crisis, also did somewhat better than expected, picking up six nominations, including best picture.

Veterans Robert Redford, tipped for All is Lost, and Tom Hanks, seen as a near sure thing for Captain Phillips, will be disappointed to lose out in the best actor race.

That category now looks to be a fight between Chiwitel Ejiofor, harrowing in 12 Years, Leonardo DiCaprio, energised in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, old timer Bruce Dern in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska and the newly revitalised McConaughey.

The Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis also disappointed, registering only for editing and cinematography. Saving Mr Banks, of which much had been hoped, placed only in the best music category.

Cate Blanchett, star of Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, has been favourite for the best actress gong since that film was released last summer.

Sure enough the Australian’s name is on the list. Competition comes from Dench, Amy Adams in American Hustle, Sandra Bullock in Gravity and – something of a surprise – Meryl Streep for the indifferently reviewed August: Osage County.

The conspicuous omission here was Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks.

Dedicated cinephiles will note a few other oddities in the less well-publicised categories. Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish – a study of the mistreatment of Orca whales in sea parks – was seen as a potential favourite in the documentary race.

In the event, that film did not even secure a nomination.

With those top three films all scoring so highly, there is much to play for before the ceremony on March 2nd.

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