Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oscar Nominations Are In!

There was a time when I looked forward to getting up at 7:30 am Central time just to see the Oscar nominations announced. This is not that time.

But this morning, whether I was watching or not, actor Chris Hemsworth and Cheryl Boone, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, showed up at 5:30 Pacific time to tell us who's in and therefore who's out and who has been egregiously overlooked among the 2013 crop of movies.

Who's in? The slippery Abscam pic American Hustle and space adventure Gravity, with ten nominations each. American Hustle managed the nifty trick of scoring nominations in seven of the top categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress and Original Screenplay. That gives American Hustle a chance to join It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Silence of the Lambs as a "Big Five" winner, a category reserved for those rare films that can win the Best Pic, actor, actress, director and screenplay awards. It's a tough row to hoe. Annie Hall managed four of the five (no Best Actor for you, Woody Allen), as did Mrs. Miniver and Gone With the Wind, who also missed out on Best Actor wins, while American Beauty got everything but Best Actress. Can American Hustle win Best Picture, for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence and for its screenplay? Unlikely.

Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are the current Best Picture frontrunners, with Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street also nominated.

Contenders for Best Actor include Christian Bale as the sleazy guy with the comb-over in American Hustle, Bruce Dern as the grizzled oldster looking for lottery winnings in Nebraska, Leonard DiCaprio as the corrupt stockbroker in The Wolf of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor as the man captured and sold into slavery in 12 Years a Slave, and Matthew McConaughey as the feisty HIV positive patient in Dallas Buyers Club who isn't taking no for an answer when it comes to possible treatments. Who will win? That is one jam-packed category.

The Best Actress nominees are also an impressive bunch. Cate Blanchett is at the top of the list for her role as a depressed Blanche Dubois type in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. She is joined by Amy Adams, a slinky con woman forced to work for the Feds in American Hustle, Sandra Bullock as an astronaut lost in space in Gravity, Judi Dench as Philomena, a mother looking for her son, and Meryl Streep as a different sort of mother, one with a drug problem and a vicious tongue in August: Osage County.

Who's left out? Robert Redford for All Is Lost, Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks are the most obviously overlooked, while the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis is the biggest snub for Best Picture.

The Supporting Actor category consists of Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), with Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and June Squibb (Nebraska) contending for Best Supporting Actress.

Golden Globe winning director Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) will take on Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), David O. Russell (American Hustle), and Martin Scorsese (Wolf of Wall Street) for Best Director honors.

If you want to see the complete list of nominees, including trailers for their movies, click here for the official Oscar site. As you can tell by the poster at the top of this post, Ellen DeGeneres will host the 2014 Oscar ceremony, which will be broadcast live on ABC on Sunday, March 2.

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