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.

Tom Hanks: I am not a political guy – TV interview



In an exclusive interview for my BBC show Alternative Cinema, Tom Hanks, who openly supported Barack Obama in the 2008 US elections and made donations to many Democratic politicians, denies being a political guy. He is only interested in examining the process. “I admit it!  I voted for the president of the United States, that’s my right as an American citizen, but I am not a guy every time you stick a microphone in his face, I am gonna try to wax eloquent what my political statement is. I don’t think that I have anything to add to the public discourse.”

The highest all-time box office star reveals that he trusts his instincts when he chooses a role. “There is an initial rush, and then I go and meet the filmmaker and if they are going for the same territories as I see it, then saying Yes is pretty easy,” he says.

Having recently played the eponymous Captain Phillips and Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, Hank says that bad guys in Hollywood movies  are more complex these days. “Part of it is the consciousness of filmmakers who are not interested in doing a two-dimensional good guys vs bad guys protagonists, and another part is the taste of the audiences who are not satisfied with a world on the screen that doesn’t reflect the world they live in. And it also makes good business because the majority of the world probably have a brown hair and brown eyes.”

Hanks’ riveting performances in Captain Phillips and Saving Mr Banks have rendered him a forerunner in this year’s awards race. He admits that it was easier to inhabit Captain Phillips character than Walt Disney’s, because the former was around to spend time with, while he had not met the latter. Hence, he had to go through every piece of film and video of Disney that he could lay his hands on. “But that’s only an external version of the man that you had to start with, because I don’t know the anecdotal information from the man himself,” he explains.” With Rich (Captain Phillips) I was able to talk with one on one about anything under the sun.” So Hanks had to listen to stories from Disney’s collaborators, who fed him with anecdotes that availed him in adding behavioral nuances to the character.

Hanks has won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for his roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. Will he gain another one? We will know in February.