`American Hustle,` `Gravity` lead crowded Oscars race
Washington: Crime caper "American Hustle" and 3D space spectacular "Gravity" topped the Oscars nominations list Thursday with 10 each, leading a crowded field of contenders for Hollywood`s most coveted honors.
Historical drama "12 Years a Slave" was close behind with nine nominations in a year chock full of critically acclaimed movies, leaving few clear frontrunners ahead of the Academy Awards on March 2.
"I`m ecstatic!" Australian Cate Blanchett, nominated for best actress for Woody Allen`s "Blue Jasmine," told AFP shortly after the eagerly-awaited nominations were unveiled at a pre-dawn ceremony in Beverly Hills.
"American Hustle" already had momentum after winning three major prizes at last weekend`s Golden Globes, Tinseltown`s second most high profile awards show, while the harrowing "12 Years a Slave" took best drama.
All four key "American Hustle" actors -- Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper -- won nods.
"To have these actors really put their hearts in it all together, to have them each get a nod is a big deal for us... we created a family together," said director David O. Russell, who himself was also nominated.
"Hustle," "Gravity" and "Slave" were among nine movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, along with "Captain Phillips," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Her," "Nebraska," "Philomena," and "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Under recently changed rules, the best picture category can include between five and 10 films. The fact that nine are in the race this year underlines the strength of the competition.
Somali pirate drama "Captain Phillips," AIDS activist film "Dallas Buyers Club" and black and white road movie "Nebraska" won six Oscar nods each, according to a list released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Martin Scorsese`s epic about financial greed "The Wolf of Wall Street" and futuristic love story "Her" each got five nominations.
But there were also snubs: two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks failed to win a nomination for his roles in "Captain Phillips" or "Saving Mr Banks," while awards season perennials Ethan and Joel Coen got only two nods for "Inside Llewyn Davis" -- neither of them in the main categories.
Veteran actor Robert Redford did not make the best actor shortlist for his powerful solo performance in shipwreck movie "All is Lost." Britain`s Emma Thompson, who played Mary Poppins author PL Travers in "Saving Mr Banks," also was shut out.
For best actor, the nominees were Bale, Bruce Dern for "Nebraska," Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Wolf of Wall Street," Chiwetel Ejiofor for "12 Years a Slave" and Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club."
Both DiCaprio and McConaughey won Golden Globes for their performances. At the Globes, the main acting prizes are split between drama and musical/comedy films.
"`The Wolf of Wall Street` has been a passion project of mine, and I found the role to be one of the most challenging and rewarding of my career," DiCaprio said:
Up for the best actress Oscar are Adams, Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine," Sandra Bullock for "Gravity," Judi Dench for "Philomena" and Meryl Streep for "August: Osage County."
Adams and Blanchett took home Globes on Sunday.
Nominated for best director were Russell, Alfonso Cuaron for "Gravity," Alexander Payne for "Nebraska," Briton Steve McQueen for "12 Years a Slave" and Scorsese for "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Oscar winner Lawrence, who won the best supporting actress Globe, is a favorite in the same category at the Academy Awards.
But she will have stiff competition from Sally Hawkins ("Blue Jasmine"), Lupita Nyong`o ("12 Years a Slave"), Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County") and June Squibb ("Nebraska").
For best supporting actor, the nominees are Cooper, Barkhad Abdi for "Captain Phillips," Michael Fassbender for "12 Years a Slave," Jonah Hill for "The Wolf of Wall Street" and Jared Leto for "Dallas Buyers Club."
The 42-year-old Leto, who had not made a movie for six years, won the Globe and has earned widespread praise for his searing performance in a transgender role.
Reactions poured in within minutes of the announcements.
Cuaron -- who won best director Golden Globe -- paid tribute to Bullock.
"I am particularly moved by Sandy`s nomination. She is the heartbeat of our film. She immersed herself in the part," he said in a statement.
Meryl Streep said: "I am so happy for our film that Julia and I have been nominated. We are both so proud of `August: Osage County.`"
The five contenders for best animated picture are Disney`s fairy tale musical "Frozen," which won the Golden Globe. It is up against "The Croods," "Despicable Me 2," "Ernest & Celestine" and Japanese historical fantasy "The Wind Rises."
The best foreign language film nominees include Italy`s "The Great Beauty," which won the Globe. It is up against "The Broken Circle Breakdown" from Belgium, Denmark`s "The Hunt," Cambodia`s "The Missing Picture" and Palestine`s "Omar."
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