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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Gravity leads Bafta nominations

Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller “Gravity” scored 11 nominations for the British Academy Film and TV Awards (BAFTA), including for film, actress for Sandra Bullock, director for Cuaron and screenplay for Cuaron and his son, Jonas. It’s worth noting that Gravity is actually a British Film.

Meanwhile, Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave” and David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” received 10 nominations each, followed by Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips” with nine nods.

All the aforementioned movies will be competing in the best film category, alongside “Philomena,” and their directors will be facing Martin Scorsese for “The Wolf of Wall Street” in the best director category. All five directors are also nominated for the Directors Guild of America award.

Surprisingly, Robert Redford (All Is Lost) and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), who are considered solid Oscar contenders, are missing in the lead actor category, which included Bruce Dern for “Nebraska,” Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years A Slave,” Britain’s Christian Bale for “American Hustle,” Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips.”

The omission of Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club” in the supporting actor list was also surprising. This category features Matt Damon for “Behind the Candelabra,” which, unlike in the US, was released theatrically in the UK, Michael Fassbender for “12 Years A Slave,” Barkhad Abdi for “Captain Phillips,” Daniel Bruhl for “Rush,” and Bradley Cooper for “American Hustle.”

In the lead actress competition, Bullock is joined by Amy Adams for “American Hustle,” Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine,” Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks” and Judie Dench for “Philomena.” Notably absent was Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County.”

Nominated for supporting actress were Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle,” Julia Roberts for “August: Osage County,” Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years A Slave,” Oprah Winfrey for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” and Sally Hawkins for “Blue Jasmine.”

Competing for the best foreign language movie BAFTA are Indonesia’s “The Act of Killing,” France’s “Blue is the Warmest Colour,” Italy’s “The Great Beauty,” the Philippines set British film “Metro Manila” and Saudi Arabia’s “Wadjda.”

The BAFTA doesn’t have the accuracy of predicting the Oscars as the Hollywood Guilds, in spite of some overlapping of membership between the academies on both sides of the pond.  Frankly, there are hardly any surprises in BAFTA’s nominations and apart from the odd oversight, they invariably seem to correlate with the preceding nominations announcements of other organisations, so whatever difference they make, it’s likely to be imperceptible.

The BAFTAs will handed out on 16th February at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.