First Posted: 1/16/2014
The Academy Awards appear to be the three-horse race many expected they would be, with “Gravity,” ”American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” all receiving a heap of nominations in an Oscar field that blends otherworldly endurance with glamorous escapism.
The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards, announced Thursday morning in Beverly Hills, Calif., were led by the 3-D space odyssey “Gravity” and the con-artist caper “American Hustle,” both with 10 nominations. The harrowing historical epic “12 Years a Slave” trailed closely with nine nominations.
All were among the nine films nominated for best picture. The other nominees are “Captain Phillips,” ”Dallas Buyers Club,” ”Her,” ”Nebraska,” ”The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Philomena.”
The most notable omission by the academy was Tom Hanks, whose lead performance in “Captain Phillips” was widely considered a shoo-in. It was a particularly surprising snub since Hanks is widely beloved by the academy, having been nominated five times previously, winning for “Forest Gump” and “Philadelphia.”
Robert Redford, expected by many to be nominated for the shipwreck drama “All Is Lost,” also missed out on a best actor nod. Redford has never won an acting Oscar.
The best actor nominees are Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”), Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) and Christian Bale (“American Hustle”).
The 77-year-old Dern is an Oscar nominee for the second time, 35 years after his nomination for Hal Ashby’s “Coming Home.” Few have taken more pleasure in awards season than Dern, revitalized by a film he’s happily viewed, he estimates, “approaching the upper 30s.”
“Nebraska” earned six nominations, including best director for Alexander Payne and June Squibb for best supporting actress.
Disney’s making-of “Mary Poppins” tale “Saving Mr. Banks” surprisingly failed to land either a best picture nomination or a best actress nod for Emma Thompson.
The best actress nominees are Amy Adams (“American Hustle”), Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”), Judi Dench (“Philomena”) and Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”).
With her nomination, Streep pads her record for most acting nominations. This is her 18th nod, including three wins, the last for 2011’s “The Iron Lady.”
But many enjoyed their first Oscar nomination Thursday, including Ejiofor, McConaughey, Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”), McQueen, Barkhad Abdi (a limo driver before being cast in “Captain Phillips”), Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years”) and Jared Leto, who had devoted himself to music before returning to play a transsexual in the Texas HIV drama “Dallas Buyers Club.”
“Yesterday I was doing jury duty, today I woke up with an Academy Award nomination,” said Leto. “Only in America.”
David O. Russell’s Abscam melodrama “American Hustle” has ridden a wave of enthusiasm for its manic performances, all draped in thick 1970s style. It’s a repeat success for director David O. Russell (who received his third directing nomination) just a year after his “Silver Linings Playbook” was feted, like “Hustle,” with nominations in all four acting categories. A year after winning, Jennifer Lawrence was again nominated for “Hustle,” as was Bradley Cooper, both swapping lead nods for supporting nominations.
Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” came into Thursday as one of the biggest question marks of an awards season that has often left many guessing. The nearly three-hour Wall Street extravaganza of money, sex and drugs became a lightning rod of debate, with many questioning whether it glamorized the infamous trader Jordan Belfort.
But “The Wolf of Wall Street” landed five big nominations, including best director (Scorsese, his eighth for directing), best supporting actor (Jonah Hill) and best adapted screenplay (Terence Winter). DiCaprio said he felt vindicated for what he said is clearly a cautionary tale of greed and hedonism.
“To be recognized like this and to see that there were enough people out there who said, ‘Look, we get what this film’ — not what it’s trying to say, but what it’s trying to reflect,” said DiCaprio. “Nobody wants to be misunderstood.”
Also doing well was Spike Jonze’s futuristic romance “Her” (five nominations, including best original screenplay for Jonze). Jonze actually earned three nominations Thursday, including best song, for co-writing “The Moon Song” with Karen O.
One of the day’s biggest winners was the 27-year-old producer Megan Ellison, the daughter of billionaire Larry Ellison. Her Annapurna Pictures produced two of the best-picture nominees (“American Hustle” and “Her”) as well as the Wong Kar-Wai martial arts drama “The Grandmaster.” She celebrated by tweeting “17!” — the total nominations her films received.