‘Gravity’ and ‘American Hustle’ lead field in nominations for three-horse Oscar race

Fassbender in the running for best supporting actor

 Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in a scene from “American Hustle.”

Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence in a scene from “American Hustle.”

Fri, Jan 17, 2014, 01:01

There were no enormous surprises when Chris Hemsworth, star of Thor, announced the Academy Award nominations in Los Angeles yesterday.

As expected, Alfonso Cuáron’s Gravity, David O Russell’s American Hustle and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave topped the chart. Gravity and American Hustle clocked up 10 mentions. 12 Years a Slave managed nine.

The scale of American Hustle’s triumph did, however, take many seasoned observers aback. Russell’s con-man romp managed the relatively rare feat of registering in all major categories: best film, director, original screenplay, actor, actress, supporting actor and supporting actress. It must now be viewed as slight favourite for best picture ahead of McQueen’s slavery drama and Cuáron’s 3-D space epic.

There was some disappointment Eoin Duffy’s lovely Irish film The Missing Scarf – an inclusion on the Academy’s long list – failed to pick up a nomination for best animated short.

But domestic interest is maintained with an anticipated best supporting actor nomination for Michael Fassbender’s savage turn as a plantation owner in 12 Years a Slave. A recent victor at the Golden Globes, U2’s Ordinary Love, from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, is in the running for best original song.

Stephen Frears’s much-admired Philomena, starring Judi Dench as an Irish woman searching for her long-lost son, picked up an impressive four nominations, including those for best picture and best actress. “This is just the loveliest news. I’m so happy for everybody involved, and so proud to have been part of the wonderful experience that Philomena has been,” Dame Judi said.

Dallas Buyers Club is among the films scoring more impressively than expected. One of the nine nominees for best picture, Jean-Marc Vallée’s harrowing Aids drama has propelled a resurgent Matthew McConaughey into the favourite’s position for best actor.

Chiwitel Ejiofor, dignified in 12 Years a Slave, and Leonardo DiCaprio, deranged in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, will be among those running him close. Robert Redford and Tom Hanks – tipped for All is Lost and Captain Phillips, respectively – were the most conspicuous exclusions in this category.

Nominated for best actress, Cate Blanchett, who plays a wasted society lady in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, retains the poll position she has nominally held since the film opened way back in July. Making up the numbers in that battle are Dench, Amy Adams for American Hustle, Sandra Bullock for Gravity and – clocking up a record 18th nomination – Meryl Streep for August: Osage County. Emma Thompson will be disappointed to miss out on a nomination for Finding Mr Banks.

Perhaps the biggest loser of the day was the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. Tipped for multiple nominations when it premiered at Cannes last May, the picture had to make do with mentions for cinematography and sound mixing. There was also astonishment when Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish, a campaigning film about the treatment of killer whales in captivity, failed to make it into the best documentary category.

Meanwhile, Spike Jonze’s Her – a metaphysical romance about a man who falls in love with his computer’s operating system – continues to sneak up on the inside rail. That fascinating film managed five nominations, including best film and best original screenplay.

For all the fuss and chatter, the race for the main prize remains closely tied between the three fittest horses. The lead will change often before the final ceremony on March 2nd.


Oscars: main nominations


BEST PICTURE
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street


BEST DIRECTOR
David O Russell
American Hustle
Alfonso Cuarón
Gravity
Alexander Payne
Nebraska
Steve McQueen
12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese
The Wolf of Wall Street


BEST ACTOR
Christian Bale
American Hustle
Bruce Dern
Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio
The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor
12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey
Dallas BuyerS club


BEST ACTRESS
Amy Adams
American Hustle
Cate Blanchett
Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock
Gravity
Judi Dench
Philomena
Meryl Streep
August: Osage County


BEST SUPPORTING
ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi
Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper
American Hustle
Michael Fassbender
12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill
The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto
Dallas Buyers Club

BEST SUPPORTING
ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins
Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence
American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o
12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts
August: Osage County
June Squibb
Nebraska

oscar.go.com/nominees

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