American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave lead Oscar nominations

Last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters shocked the film industry when they overlooked Ben Affleck in the best director’s category, this year they outdid themselves, snubbing safe potential contenders such as Emma Thompson, Robert Redford and Tom Hanks in the acting categories and Paul Greengrass in the directing category. Other critics favourite films such Inside Llewyn Davis and Fruitvale Station did not receive much attention either.

Leading the field in the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards were Gravity and American Hustle with 10 nominations each, followed by 12 Years A Slave with 9 nods. The trio will compete for the best picture Oscar with Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Five directors of the aforementioned movies will be vying for the best director award: David O. Russell (American Hustle), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street). And another selection of five gained nods in the best film editing category: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave.

David O. Russell scored a third nod in the best original screenplay category with Eric Warren. They were joined by Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine, Spike Jonze for Her, Bob Nelson for Nebraska and Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack for Dallas Buyers Club. Meanwhile, the best adapted screenplay competition included Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight, Billy Ray for Captain Phillips, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope for Philomena, John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave and Terence Winter for The Wolf of Wall Street.

Marking her 18th Oscar nomination, Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) will be competing in the best leading actress category against Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Judi Dench (Philomena). Her co-star in the same movie, Julia Roberts will be facing Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), June Squibb (Nebraska) and Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) in the best supporting actress contest.

Meanwhile, 5 actors received nods in the best actor category: Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Golden Globe-winner Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club).

While Tom Hanks missed out on a nomination in the best actor category, his Somali co-star Barkhad Abdi was honoured with a nod for the best supporting actor, along with Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).

The Oscars will handed out at a ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on 2nd March.

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Woody Allen wins at the WGA awards

Woody Allen wins at the WGA awards

Woody Allen wins at the WGA awards

For the fifth time, Woody Allen has won the Writers Guild of America’s award for the best original screenplay; this time for Midnight in Paris. He has previously won the trophy for Annie Hall, Broadway Danny Rose, Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The best adapted screenplay award went to Alexander Payne, Jim Rash and Nat Faxon for penning The Descendants, which is based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming. It was Payne’s third WGA award, having won it previously for Election and Sideways.

The WGA awards are often seen as a good indicator of the Oscars, to be held next Sunday, because many of its voters are members of the Academy. However, there could be an upset this year, because a major Oscar contender, The Artist, was ineligible for the WGA awards. The black-and-white silent film, which has triumphed at the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the Producers Guild Award, was written by a French writer, who is not a WGA member.

The TV winners of the evening included Homeland for best new TV series, Modern Family for best comedy TV series, Breaking Bad for best drama TV series, Too Big to Fail for best long form adapted and Cinema Verite for best long form original.

Hugo named Best Film by National Board of – Review

Hugo named Best Film by National Board of Review

Hugo named Best Film by National Board of Review

Comprised of scholars, filmmakers and students, the National Board of Review has named Martin Scorsese’s 3D homage to the early days of cinema, Hugo, as the best film of the year. Scorsese himself received the the best director prize.

Alexander Payne’s The Descendant received three nods: Best Actor for George Clooney for playing a father of two unruly daughters, Best supporting actress for Shailene Woodley for playing Clooney’s daughter, and Best Screenply for Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

Tilda Swindon took the best actress award for potraying the mother of a young psychopath in the dark drama, We Need to talk about Kevin.

Christopher Plummer was hailed as the best supporting actor for his performance as a father who comes out at the age of 70, after the death of his wife, in Beginners.