British film director Steve McQueen, left, poses with the star of his film Chiwetel Ejiofor from "12 Years A Slave." Credit: Reuters
And they're off. The Academy announced its nominations for the 2014 Oscars on Thursday morning, with David O. Russell's "American Hustle" and Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity" tying for the most nominations, earning 10 each, while Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" was right behind with nine.
It's an incredibly crowded year, with nine films up for Best Picture, so voting for the final awards could go almost any way, but we're predicting that the Hollywood Foreign Press got things almost exactly right with their major winners at the Golden Globes.
We'll find out March 2.
Best Picture: "12 Years a Slave" Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club" Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine" Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club" Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave" Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
"American Hustle" has the highest profile in the most major categories, making it the best contender for a sweep — though that seems incredibly unlikely this year. And Judi Dench has to be pleased to make it into the Best Actress race for underdog "Philomena."
Certain films didn't seem to connect at all with the Academy, the most surprising being the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," which only earned two nods, for cinematography and sound mixing. And "Saving Mr. Banks," which had been considered a contender for nominations at least for Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, will have to make do with a Best Original Score nod. But the biggest snub seems to be for "Lee Daniels' The Butler," which wasn't nominated for a single award. Sorry, Oprah.
It's definitely a treat to see Spike Jonze's quiet and fantastic "Her" squeeze its way into the Best Picture race, as well as "Philomena," though neither film has that great a chance of winning the top prize. Hopefully the Academy, like the HFPA earlier this week, will award Jonze for Best Original Screenplay as a consolation. And not seeing Academy favorite Tom Hanks nominated for anything despite well-received roles in "Captain Phillips" and "Saving Mr. Banks" is certainly a surprise, though apparently the Academy needed to make room for Jonah Hill, whom they seem to really like.
List of nominees
Best Motion Picture "American Hustle" "Captain Phillips" "Dallas Buyers Club" "Gravity" "Her" "Nebraska" "Philomena" "12 Years a Slave" "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Performance by an actor in a leading role 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"
Performance by an actor in a supporting role Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips" Bradley Cooper, "American Hustle" Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave" Jonah Hill, "the Wolf of Wall Street" Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Performance by an actress in a leading role Amy Adams, "American Hustle" Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine" Sandra Bullock, "Gravity" Judi Dench, "Philomena" Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"
Performance by an actress in a supporting role Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine" Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle" Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave" Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County" June Squibb, "Nebraska"
Best animated feature film of the year "The Croods" "Despicable Me 2" "Ernest & Celestine" "Frozen" "The Wind Rises"
Achievement in directing David O. Russell, "American Hustle" Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity" Alexander Payne, "Nebraska" Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave" Martin Scorsese, "the Wolf of Wall Street"
Best documentary feature "The Act of Killing" "Cutie and the Boxer" "Dirty Wars" "The Square" "20 Feet from Stardom"
Best foreign language film of the year "The Broken Circle Breakdown" "The Great Beauty" "The Hunt" "The Missing Picture" "Omar"
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
Adapted screenplay "Before Midnight" "Captain Phillips" "Philomena" "12 Years a Slave" "Wolf of Wall Street"