American Hustle, Gravity lead Oscars with 10 nominations each

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David O. Russell was nominated for an Academy Award for best director for American Hustle.

The Academy Awards appear to be the three-horse race many expected it would be, with Gravity, American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave all receiving a heap of nominations.

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).

Disney’s making-of Mary Poppins tale, Saving Mr. Banks, also 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.

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 big nominations: best picture, best actor (DiCaprio), best director (Scorsese, his eighth for directing) and best supporting actor (Jonah Hill).

Also doing well Thursday were Spike Jonze’s futuristic romance Her (five nominations, including best original screenplay for Jonze), and Alexander Payne’s black-and-white road trip Nebraska (six nominations, including best director for Payne).

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.

Though historically the most-nominated films have taken home best picture, that’s not been the case in recent years. Six of the last 10 years the most-nominated film hasn’t triumphed in the end, including last year when Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, with 12 nominations, was beaten by Ben Affleck’s Argo.

This year’s Oscar telecast on March 2, with Ellen DeGeneres hosting for the second time, has particular pressure on it to live up to the increasingly popular Golden Globes.

With hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, ratings for the Globes have increased the last two years and drawn good reviews. The Academy Awards have meanwhile struggled to freshen up its more prestigious brand.

Organizations: Blue Jasmine

Geographic location: Nebraska, Beverly Hills, Dallas Philadelphia Osage

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