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Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 1:50:00 PM
Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 2:23:34 PM
by mary milliken AND nichola groom
Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the nominees for Best Actor at the 86th Academy Awards nominations announcement at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Jan 16, 2014, in Beverly Hills, California. – AFP
American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave lead this year’s highly competitive race for Hollywood’s top trophies.
THREE films – American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave – cemented their frontrunner status for the Oscars on Thursday in what is shaping up to be a highly competitive year for Hollywood’s top honours.
Director David O. Russell’s 1970s conmen caper American Hustle and Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller Gravity each won 10 Academy Award nominations, while Steve McQueen’s brutal depiction of slavery in 12 Years A Slave secured nine. All three films garnered nods for best picture and best director.
“This has been an amazing ride, and to receive nine nominations from the Academy is testament to all of the hard work,” said McQueen, a British filmmaker who unearthed the real-life American story about a free man sold into slavery.
But in a year hailed as one of high quality for the Hollywood industry, several other films could challenge the favourites in the race for the world’s top film prizes.
Somali piracy thriller Captain Phillips, the AIDS activism tale Dallas Buyers Club, and heartland comedy Nebraska, each garnered six nominations.
Martin Scorsese’s cautionary tale on financial greed, The Wolf Of Wall Street, quirky computer-age romance Her and adoption drama Philomena round out the nine nominees for best picture.
Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may nominate up to 10 films for best picture, but only chose nine this year. A notable exclusion was the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, which had won some top critics’ awards, and scored only two nods overall.
The race could be complicated by the long lead time to the Oscars ceremony, to be hosted by comedian Ellen DeGeneres in Los Angeles on March 2.
Top actors snubbed
The crowded honours race spilled over into the acting categories, where the Academy snubbed some veteran stars and instead chose to recognise up-and-coming talent.
Eight individuals in the acting categories are first-time nominees, including Chiwetel Ejiofor as the free man sold into slavery in 12 Years A Slave. He will compete in the best actor race with Matthew McConaughey, the Golden Globe winner last Sunday for his role as the unlikely AIDS crusader in Dallas Buyers Club, and Leonardo DiCaprio as the swindling, fast-living stockbroker in The Wolf Of Wall Street. DiCaprio said he “found the role to be one of the most challenging and rewarding of my career”.
And while the best actor race included veteran Bruce Dern for his cantankerous old man in Nebraska and Christian Bale as the conman with bad hair in American Hustle, it excluded Robert Redford, who won acclaim for his solo role as a sailor lost at sea in All Is Lost, and Tom Hanks as the captain under siege in Captain Phillips.
Hanks, who has not won an Oscar since his back-to-back wins in 1994 and 1995, was considered a favourite, mostly because of his harrowing final scene in the film.
“I’m disappointed by it,” said Captain Phillips producer Michael De Luca. “It was a crowded field this year. It’s a great field of movies. I think with Tom, who has been so excellent in everything for so long, he makes it look easy.” Hanks’ Somali nemesis in the film played by newcomer Barkhad Abdi did win a best supporting actor nod, however.
Good year for veteran actresses and Oscar winners
Meryl Streep extended her lead as the most nominated performer with an 18th nomination, this year for best actress as the matriarch in August: Osage County. Streep goes up against fellow Oscar winners Sandra Bullock as the astronaut lost in space in Gravity, Cate Blanchett as the riches-to-rags socialite in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, and Judi Dench as the Irish mother who loses her son in Philomena. Amy Adams is nominated for her turn as a con-lady in American Hustle.
“This is just the loveliest news,” said Dench. “I’m so happy for everybody involved, and so proud to have been part of the wonderful experience that Philomena has been.”
The list excluded Emma Thompson, praised for her role as the Mary Poppins author in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks.
Rare feat for ‘American Hustle’
In the supporting categories, there was a nod for newcomer Lupita Nyong’o as the slave Patsey and another for her cruel master, played by Michael Fassbender, in 12 Years A Slave.
American Hustle also earned supporting nominations for actors from Russell’s hit last year Silver Linings Playbook – Jennifer Lawrence, who won the best actress Oscar, and Bradley Cooper.
Russell’s romp through 1970s New York earned nominations for best picture, directing, writing and all four acting categories, a rare feat he also scored last year.
At the Golden Globes on Sunday, 12 Years A Slave, distributed by Fox Searchlight, a unit of 21st Century Fox , won best drama while American Hustle, distributed by Sony, won best musical or comedy. Gravity was distributed by Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc.
In the next few weeks, Hollywood will look to see how the actors, producers, directors and writers guild awards shape up.
Their members also constitute the bulk of the 6,000 Academy members.
Oscar voters have a longer time this year between nominations and awards and there is a risk they could get bored by the frontrunners, change their minds or be distracted by the Winter Olympics, said awards handicapper Tom O’Neil of Goldderby.com.
“Right now it’s looking like 12 Years A Slave is ahead based on the momentum,” said O’Neil. “It feels very important. It has the urgent social message that the Oscar voters like, but it’s a hard movie to take.”
American Hustle, he added, has an A-list cast, a good box office and lighter fare, while Gravity is “a spectacular achievement cinematically”. Cuaron won best director at the Globes and the techical advances he used to depict the wonders of space in Gravity yielded nominations for cinematography, visual effects and sound, among other technical categories. – Reuters
List of key nominations of the 86th Academy Awards (winners will be revealed in Hollywood on March 2):
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Christian Bale in American Hustle
Bruce Dern in Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave
Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Amy Adams in American Hustle
Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Judi Dench in Philomena
Meryl Streep in August: Osage County
David O. Russell for American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity
Alexander Payne for Nebraska
Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf Of Wall Street
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
Michael Fassbender in 12 Years A Slave
Jonah Hill in The Wolf Of Wall Street
Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave
Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
June Squibb in Nebraska
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium
The Great Beauty, Italy
The Hunt, Denmark
The Missing Picture, Cambodia
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILN
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Act Of Killing
Cutie And The Boxer
20 Feet From Stardom
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Alone Yet Not Alone from Alone Yet Not Alone
Happy from Despicable Me 2
Let It Go from Frozen
The Moon Song from Her
Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Book Thief
Saving Mr. Banks
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
Inside Llewyn Davis
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Star Trek Into Darkness
> For more info, go to oscar.go.com.
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