The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards have been announced, and leading the pack are American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave, with seven and six nominations respectively in the major categories. Overall, American Hustle and Gravity both had ten nominations in total (most of Gravity's are in the technical categories), while 12 Years A Slave is close behind with nine.
Nebraska and Captain Phillips follow with six nods, with The Wolf Of Wall Street, Her and Dallas Buyers Club each on five. Philomena had four, while Blue Jasmine and The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug each picked up three (the latter all technical).
The Best Picture nominees are American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf Of Wall Street. The big story there is probably the scant love for Inside Llewyn Davis (perhaps it's thematic, given that his whole life seems to be about rejection), which was roundly snubbed, while early contenders like Rush, Fruitvale Station and Saving Mr. Banks also missed out on a place.
Director nominees were, unsurprisingly, taken from among the ranks of the Best Picture nominees: David O. Russell for American Hustle, Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, Alexander Payne for Nebraska, Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave and Martin Scorsese for The Wolf Of Wall Street. Generally speaking, Best Picture winners also have a nominee in this category, so this suggests that these are the five frontrunners there. Looking at the Best Editing nominees, traditionally a very strong indication of who's in the running for Best Picture, suggests that Gravity, American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave are - as common sense already suggests - the frontrunners, as they're the only three with nods in all those frequently linked categories.
Best Actor nominees are Christian Bale for American Hustle, 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. There's only one former winner there - Christian Bale took Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter, which suggests that he should only ever work with David O. Russell if he wants awards. This list is bad news for, among others, Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, Oscar Isaac for Inside Llewyn Davis and Robert Redford for All Is Lost, but it's hard to argue much with the strength of the nominees.
Best Actress nods went to Amy Adams for American Hustle, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock for Gravity, Judi Dench for Philomena and, as is traditional, Meryl Streep, this time for August: Osage County. All of those nominees are previous winners apart from Amy Adams, who's a four-time nominee in the Supporting category. Could this be her year? We suspect not, given Blanchett's current frontrunner status, but you never know. The biggest omission is undoubtedly Emma Thompson, who was wonderful in Saving Mr. Banks.
Best Supporting Actor nominees are Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender, Jonah Hill and Jared Leto. What does this tell us? Well, American Hustle has nods in all the major categories and all the acting categories, which bodes well for its chances. Also, isn't it great to see a complete newcomer, the star of The Hangover, a mutant, a guy best known (still) for comedy and the former Jordan Catalano all competing for Best Supporting Actor?
Best Supporting Acturess nominess are Sally Hawkins, Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong'o, Julia Roberts and June Squibb. That's another eccentric selection, mixing two former Best Actress winners with a first-time film star, a seasoned veteran and a beloved scene-stealer.
Adapted Screenplay nods went to Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, Philomena, 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf Of Wall Street. If you're wondering how Before Midnight counts as an adaptation, it is of course based on the trio's previously existing characters. Original Screenplay lines up American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Dallas Buyers Club, Her and Nebraska - another strong line-up.
This year's Animated Film nominees are The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, Frozen and The Wind Rises. From the number of nominees, you'll immediately notice that there were more than 15 eligible films this year (otherwise there would only be three nominees) and you're probably glad to see Miyazaki get some Academy love. Notable by its absence is Monsters University, with Pixar missing out on its semi-traditional spot.
Foreign Language nominees were The Broken Circle Breakdown, The Great Beauty, The Hunt, The MIssing Picture and Omar. Cannes favourite Blue Is The Warmest Colour apparently didn't qualify this year, hence (we suspect) its omission.
The Act Of Killing, Cutie And The Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Square and 20 Feet From Stardom were the nominees for Documentary Feature. Killing and The Square have undoubtedly had the most attention among that lot - but will it translate into a win?
Best Original Song nominees came from Alone Yet Not Alone, Despicable Me 2, Frozen (of course), Her and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. We think Frozen's Let It Go is probably the frontrunner there, but if there are enough U2 fans among the Academy voters (possible) we might see an upset.
In the technical categories, there were a few surprises. Thelma Schoonmaker missed out on an Editing nod for Wolf Of Wall Street; American Hustle's astonishing hair efforts were blanked in the Make-Up & Hairstyling cateory; Barry Ackroyd was unlucky to miss out on a Cinematography nod for Captain Phillips, as were Anthony Dod Mantle for Rush and Sean Bobbitt. In Visual Effects, we were vaguely surprised to note that the Academy nominated five films even though it would surely take some sort of Roland Emmerich-style cataclysm to stop that award at least going to Gravity.
This year's Oscars will take place on March 2 at the Dolby Theatre, and Empire will be covering them every step of the way. The full nominations are below.
MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
LIVE ACTION SHORT