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'American Hustle,' 'Gravity,' '12 Years A Slave' lead Oscar race

"American Hustle" scored 10 Oscar nominations.

"American Hustle" scored 10 Oscar nominations. Credit: "American Hustle" scored 10 Oscar nominations.

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 honors.

Director David O. Russell's 1970s con-men 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 favorites 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," which 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.

The crowded honors race spilled over into the acting categories, where the Academy snubbed some veteran stars and instead chose to recognize 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 con-man 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 favorite, 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.

It was a 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."

In the supporting categories, there was a nod for newcomer Lupita Nyong'o as the slave Patseyand another for her cruel master, played by Michael Fassbender.

"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., owned by Time Warner.

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.


Here's the complete list of nominees:

Best picture
"12 Years a Slave"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
"Captain Phillips"
"Her"
"American Hustle"
"Gravity"
"Dallas Buyers Club"
"Nebraska"
"Philomena"

Best director
Steve McQueen -- "12 Years a Slave"
David O. Russell -- "American Hustle"
Alfonso Cuaron -- "Gravity"
Alexander Payne -- "Nebraska"
Martin Scorsese -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best actor
Bruce Dern -- "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor -- "12 Years a Slave"
Matthew McConaughey -- "Dallas Buyers Club"
Leonardo DiCaprio -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Christian Bale -- "American Hustle"
86th Academy Awards nominations 86th Academy Awards nominations
The best actor nominees are ...
The best actress nominees are ...
Oscar nominees for best director are ...

Best actress
Amy Adams -- "American Hustle"
Cate Blanchett -- "Blue Jasmine"
Judi Dench -- "Philomena"
Sandra Bullock -- "Gravity"
Meryl Streep -- "August: Osage County"

Best supporting actor
Barkhad Abdi -- "Captain Phillips"
Bradley Cooper -- "American Hustle"
Jonah Hill -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Jared Leto -- "Dallas Buyers Club"
Michael Fassbender -- "12 Years a Slave"

Best supporting actress
Jennifer Lawrence -- "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o -- "12 Years a Slave"
June Squibb -- "Nebraska"
Julia Roberts -- "August: Osage County"
Sally Hawkins -- "Blue Jasmine"

Best original screenplay
"American Hustle" -- David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer
"Blue Jasmine" -- Woody Allen
"Her" -- Spike Jonze
"Nebraska" -- Bob Nelson
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack

Best adapted screenplay
"12 Years a Slave" -- John Ridley
"Before Midnight" -- Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater
"The Wolf of Wall Street" -- Terence Winter
"Captain Phillips" -- Billy Ray
"Philomena" -- Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

Best animated feature
"The Wind Rises"
"Frozen"
"Despicable Me 2"
"Ernest & Celestine"
"The Croods"

Best foreign feature
"The Hunt" (Denmark)
"The Broken Circle Breakdown" (Belgium)
"The Great Beauty" (Italy)
"Omar" (Palestinian territories)
"The Missing Picture" (Cambodia)

Best music (original song)
"Frozen": "Let it Go" -- Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez
"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom": "Ordinary Love" -- U2, Paul Hewson
"Her": "The Moon Song" -- Karen O, Spike Jonze
"Despicable Me 2": "Happy" -- Pharrell Williams
"Alone Yet Not Alone": "Alone Yet Not Alone" -- Bruce Broughton, Dennis Spiegel

Best music (original score)
"Gravity" -- Steven Price
"Philomena" -- Alexandre Desplat
"The Book Thief" -- John Williams
"Saving Mr. Banks" -- Thomas Newman
"Her" -- William Butler and Owen Pallett

Best cinematography
"Gravity" -- Emmanuel Lubezki
"Inside Llewyn Davis" -- Bruno Delbonnel
"Nebraska" -- Phedon Papamichael
"Prisoners" -- Roger Deakins
"The Grandmaster" -- Phillippe Le Sourd

Best costume design
"The Great Gatsby" -- Catherine Martin
"12 Years a Slave" -- Patricia Norris
"The Grandmaster" -- William Chang Suk Ping
"American Hustle" -- Michael Wilkinson
"The Invisible Woman" -- Michael O'Connor

Best documentary feature
"The Act of Killing"
"20 Feet From Stardom"
"The Square"
"Cutie and the Boxer"
"Dirty Wars"

Best film editing
"Gravity" -- Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger
"12 Years a Slave"-- Joe Walker
"Captain Phillips" -- Christopher Rouse
"American Hustle" -- Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa

Best makeup and hairstyling
"The Lone Ranger" -- Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny
"Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" -- Stephen Prouty
"Dallas Buyers Club" -- Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews

Best production design
"12 Years a Slave" -- Adam Stockhausen and Alice Baker
"The Great Gatsby" -- Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn
"American Hustle" -- Judy Becker and Heather Loeffler
"Gravity" -- Andy Nicholson, Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
"Her" -- K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena

Best visual effects
"Gravity"
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"
"Star Trek Into Darkness"
"Iron Man 3"
"The Lone Ranger"

Best sound mixing
"Gravity"
"Captain Phillips"
"Lone Survivor"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Best sound editing
"Gravity"
"All Is Lost"
"Captain Phillips"
"Lone Survivor"
"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug"

Best short film, live action
"Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)"
"Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)"
"Helium"
"Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)"
"The Voorman Problem"

Best short film, animated
"Feral"
"Get a Horse!"
"Mr. Hublot"
"Possessions"
"Room on the Broom"

Best documentary short
"CaveDigger"
"Facing Fear"
"Karama Has No Walls"
"The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life"
"Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall"

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