Oscar Nominations – American Hustle & Gravity Lead the Way

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The nominations for the 86th annual Academy Awards were recently announced.

Gravity, the Alfonso Cuaron space drama and American Hustle, the David O. Russell con-artist comedy lead the pack with 10 nominations each. There were no real surprises at the announcement, except maybe that Emma Thompson’s was left off the list. She was considered a shoe-in for her performance in Saving Mr Banks (which got absolutely no Oscar love) but got edged out by Meryl Streep, who was no doubt nominated only because she is the Meryl Streep and Amy Adams who started building awards momentum after her Golden Globe win. Just between you and me, I don’t think Amy Adams was all that great in American Hustle, but whatever.

Some people  might also find it odd that Oprah Winfrey lost out on a Best Supporting Actress nod for her admittedly very good performance in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, but come on, that film has lost all awards momentum it once had; Oprah never really had a chance. What was mildly surprising was that Philomena did so much better than Inside Llewyn Davis: it received a Best Picture nod and a Best Screenplay nod whereas the Cohen brothers’ film received no love in any major category, which is a little crazy.

The other films up for Best Picture in 2014 are Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club and Her. I am quite pleased that Her received as much love as it did. The quirky little Spike Jonze masterpiece is also nominated for a Best Original Song and Best Original Screenplay award, although Joaquin Phoenix should have been nominated for Best Actor. Speaking of the Best Actor race: both acting heavyweights Tom Hanks, for his turn as the titular character in Captain Phillips, and Robert Redford, for his performance in All Is Lost, were snubbed by the Academy. Oh dear.

But really, everybody who ever stood any chance of actually winning has been nominated. The Best Actress race will be fought between Amy Adams, Meryl Streep for August: Osage County, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Judi Dench for Philomena and Sandra Bullock for Gravity. Best Actor nominations are Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave, Bruce Dern for Nebraska and Christian Bale for American Hustle.

So now the fun can start: will Matthew McConaughey actually win an Oscar? Can he ever be forgiven for Fool’s Gold? Will Jennifer Lawrence, nominated for Best Supporting Actress this year after winning Best Actress last year, nab her second consecutive Oscar? Will Amy Adams edge Cate Blanchett out of her (more deserved) statuette? And who will win Best Picture:  can American Hustle defeat the mighty 12 Years a Slave? Let the betting begin.

For a full list of nominations got to Oscar.com. The Oscars will air on Sunday 2 March.