Can anything stop “American Hustle” at the Academy Awards?
David O. Russell’s very loose retelling of the Abscam scandal clearly has collected the most momentum in the best-picture race. While “American Hustle” tied with the space thriller “Gravity” early Thursday with the most Oscar nominations, with 10 each, a closer reading of the selections shows that Russell’s movie has broad and growing support among voters.
At the same time, “12 Years a Slave,” which earned nine nominations, remains a strong contender for the best-picture trophy, but that same detailed examination of the nominations shows that filmmaker Steve McQueen’s slave drama isn’t enjoying the same deep love as “American Hustle” and “Gravity.”
Voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated nine films for the top Oscar. In addition to “American Hustle,” “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave,” the nominees are “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
But several of those films were not nominated in other categories in which they had been considered likely selections. Tom Hanks wasn’t nominated as lead actor in “Captain Phillips,” and Paul Greengrass wasn’t named for directing it. Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt wasn’t short-listed for shooting “12 Years a Slave” and Spike Jonze wasn’t nominated for directing “Her.”
Conversely, “American Hustle” star Christian Bale, seen by many prognosticators as a best-actor long shot, was indeed nominated in the category. The film also was nominated for actress (Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence), supporting actor (Bradley Cooper), costume design, directing, editing, production design and original screenplay.
“Dallas Buyers Club” at the same time continued its Phoenix-like rise from the ashes. Rejected some 137 times in various places in its 20-year path to the screen, the AIDS tale drew six nominations. Even if it is seen as an outsider in the best-picture race, its odds-defying run is probably not yet over.
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