2014 Oscar Nominations Announced; AMERICAN HUSTLE and GRAVITY Lead with 10 Nominations Each [Updated with Commentary]

     January 16, 2014

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The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards have been announced. American Hustle and Gravity lead with 10 nominations each, while 12 Years a Slave isn’t too far behind with 9 nominations.  Looking over my predictions, there weren’t actually too many surprises this morning–at least no genuine “snubs” on the scale of Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow last year.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale made the Best Actor cut over Robert Redford and Tom HanksHer, Dallas Buyers Club, and Philomena all got Best Picture nominations over Saving Mr. Banks, and Sally Hawkins landed a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in Blue Jasmine, seemingly taking Oprah Winfrey‘s spot from Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  Also, the Academy apparently did not take a liking to Saving Mr. Banks, as the film missed out on a Best Picture nomination and a Best Actress nomination for Emma Thompson.

Hit the jump to take a look at the full nominations list.  The 86th Oscars will be broadcast March 2nd on ABC. [Update: I’ve added my commentary on some of the categories after the jump.]

american-hustle-posterBEST PICTURE

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

[Most people were predicting that either Philomena or Dallas Buyers Club would get in, but few thought both would make the Best Picture cut.  Saving Mr. Banks, a movie that a few months ago many saw as a contender in multiple major categories, appears not to have gone over well with the Academy at all.  The three vyying for the win here, though, are American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave.]

BEST DIRECTOR

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

[After last year’s Best Director debacle, expectations were pretty much thrown out the window for this year’s lineup.  The DGA contenders rarely match up 5-for-5, and with Cuaron, McQueen, and Russell the safe bets, the other two spots seemed a bit up for grabs.  Paul Greengrass felt like a solid choice given that Captain Phillips appeared to be well-liked by everyone, and I thought the Academy might repeat their affinity for more offbeat material by nominating Spike Jonze for Her, but instead Alexander Payne picked up his third nomination and Martin Scorsese, despite certain “controversies” surrounding Wolf of Wall Street, landed his eighth Best Director nod.]

BEST ACTOR

  • Christian Bale – American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern - Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
  • Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

[Again, nothing incredibly surprising here.  Many had Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) and Robert Redford (All Is Lost) making the cut, but in recent weeks those two seemed to be vulnerable as the American Hustle love grew and Leonardo DiCaprio wowed with his Wolf of Wall Street performance.  It’s clear that the Academy has a strong affinity for American Hustle over all, as Russell’s last two films have now earned Oscar nods in all six major categories.]

BEST ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams – American Hustle
  • Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock – Gravity
  • Judi Dench – Philomena
  • Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

[This is the category in which Saving Mr. Banks seemed most likely to make the cut, and yet Emma Thompson failed to land a Best Actress nomination.  If its lack of a Best Picture nomination wasn’t enough, Thompson’s absence here very much shows that the Academy was not high on Banks.  That being said, this one’s all wrapped up for Blanchett to take the win anyway.]

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
  • Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
  • Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
  • the-wolf-of-wall-street-posterJonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

[And so now Jonah Hill is a two-time Academy Award nominee.  Some doubted the possibility of Hill getting in, but his Wolf performance was not only very funny, but also incredibly memorable.  Again the American Hustle love is spread to the entire main cast, and Somali-born newcomer Barkhad Abdi lands his first Oscar nomination for his impressive feature film debut.]

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
  • Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong’O – 12 Years a Slave
  • Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
  • June Squibb – Nebraska

[Oprah Winfrey looked to be Lee Daniels’ The Butler‘s only real shot at an Oscar nomination after first announcing itself as a serious candidate back in August, but she was eclipsed here by the lovely Sally Hawkins, who gave a strong performance in Blue Jasmine opposite the transcendent Cate Blanchett.  This is an exciting category all around, as newcomer Lupita Nyong’O earns her first Oscar nod for her stunning debut in 12 Years a Slave and the 84-year-old June Squibb also gets her first Oscar nomination for Nebraska.]

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell – American Hustle
  • Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
  • Craig Borton, Melissa Warlick – Dallas Buyers Club
  • Spike Jonze – Her
  • Bob Nelson – Nebraska 

[This is where the Inside Llewyn Davis absence really hurts.  Since the guilds had completely shut out the latest effort from the Coen Brothers, there wasn’t much hope for love in the major categories.  However, I thought surely the Academy would recognize the pic for Best Original Screenplay.  Instead, they went for Dallas Buyers Club, which many had written off as simply a solid performance piece, but clearly the Academy was a big fan of the movie as a whole.]

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
  • Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
  • Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope – Philomena
  • John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
  • Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street

[This one played out about as expected.  Philomena played well with older voters, and though Tracy Letts won the Pulitzer for his stage play August: Osage County, his big screen adaptation received mixed reviews.]

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown
  • The Great Beauty
  • The Hunt
  • The Missing Picture
  • Omar

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Ernest & Celestine
  • Frozen
  • The Wind Rises

[It’s tough to discern what the lack of a Monsters University nomination means as a whole.  The film received mostly positive reviews in line with Brave and wasn’t nearly as maligned as Cars 2.  One could make the argument that the Academy has soured on Pixar given the studio’s recent (and slight) creative decline, but then again they awarded Brave this trophy last year.  In any case, it’s Frozen for the win, right?]

Continue Reading on Page 2 for the Rest of the Nominees

the-act-of-killing-posterBEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • The Act of Killing
  • Cutie and the Boxer
  • Dirty Wars
  • The Square
  • 20 Feet from Stardom

[A bit surprising to see the very well-received Stories We Tell make the cut, but the Best Documentary Feature category is always a bit tricky.]

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

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

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • American Hustle
  • Gravity
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Her
  • 12 Years a Slave

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Philippe Le Sound – The Grandmaster
  • Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity
  • Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Phedon Papamichael – Nebraska
  • Roger Deakins – Prisoners

[If Sean Bobbitt had landed a nomination here for 12 Years a Slave, that film would be tied for the most nominations with the other two heavyweights Gravity and American Hustle.  Instead, the Academy went with the foreign film The Grandmaster and the unsurprisingly remarkable Roger Deakins for Prisoners.]

BEST FILM EDITING

  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips 
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • 12 Years a Slave

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • John Williams – The Book Thief
  • Steven Price – Gravity
  • frozen-poster-1William Butler and Owen Pallett – Her
  • Alexandre Desplat – Philomena
  • Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks 

[Many thought Hans Zimmer would land a nod for either 12 Years a Slave or Rush or Alex Ebert would be recognized for his ethereal All Is Lost score, but the composers were instead shut out in favor of the much lighter Philomena and Saving Mr. Banks.  It is nice to see Her land a nomination here, though.]

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Alone, Yet Not Alone” – Alone, Yet Not Alone
  • “Happy” – Despicable Me 2
  • “Let It Go” – Frozen
  • “The Moon Song” – Her
  • “Ordinary Love” – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

[I mean, the winner is “Let It Go.”  That is the correct answer.]

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Iron Man 3
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Star Trek Into Darkness 

[The Lone Ranger nomination is a bit odd considering many had Pacific Rim or World War Z making the cut, but I guess the Star Trek Into Darkness nomination makes sense.  It’s still a shame that the wonderful creature design in Pacific Rim didn’t get recognized, but at the end of the day this is a consolation prize for the four films that will lose to Gravity.]

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • American Hustle
  • The Grandmaster
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Invisible Woman
  • 12 Years a Slave 

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  • The Lone Ranger 

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • All Is Lost
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Lone Survivor

gravity-posterBEST SOUND MIXING

  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Lone Survivor 

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr. Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom 

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE-ACTION)

  • Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
  • Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)
  • Helium
  • Pitakko Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
  • The Voorman Problem 

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