Golden Globes 2014: ‘American Hustle,’ ‘12 Years a Slave’ take lead

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By mid-November, when most directors of holiday movies were unwinding with their work largely completed, filmmaker David O. Russell was pulling 18-hour days and seven-day weeks, rushing to finish “American Hustle.”

The mad dash was worth it: “American Hustle,” opening in limited release Friday, has vaulted into the top tier of Oscar contenders.

Nominations for the Golden Globes — where “American Hustle” tied with “12 Years a Slave” for the most selections with seven — coupled with “American Hustle’s” strong showing in Wednesday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards have transformed Russell’s retelling of the 1970s Abscam scandal into a legitimate rival to the biographical drama “12 Years a Slave” and the space thriller “Gravity,” which long have been Academy Award front-runners.


PHOTOS: Golden Globe nominations snubs and surprises | Complete list of nominees

The Globe nominations were kind to other films coming out later this year: Both “The Wolf of Wall Street,” the account of a win-at-all-costs stockbroker premiering on Christmas, and “Her,” a dystopian tale of severed interpersonal relationships opening Dec. 18, received multiple nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., including selections alongside “American Hustle” for best comedy or musical motion picture.

But other late season entries didn’t fare as well. The Globe voters failed to nominate “August: Osage County,” also opening Christmas, or “Saving Mr. Banks,” premiering Friday, in the comedy or musical category.

“We’ve been killing ourselves in this intense period of time,” Russell said after the Globe nominations were announced early Thursday. “We thought it was alive and these characters were special. And we all looked at each other as we were finishing the film saying we hope we’re not the only five people to feel this way. It was very emotional for me.”

PHOTOS: Golden Globes 2014 nominee reactions

The other best picture finalists in the comedy or musical category were Alexander Payne’s road movie “Nebraska,” which received five nominations in all, and the Coen brothers’ folk music fable “Inside Llewyn Davis,” which received three. “Captain Phillips” and “Gravity” each received four nominations.


For top dramatic pictures, the selections made by the HFPA’s fewer than 100 voters were the historical drama “12 Years a Slave”; the Somali piracy thriller “Captain Phillips”; the 3-D space spectacle “Gravity”; “Philomena,” about a mother’s search for her son; and the car racing film “Rush.”

One other movie that barely was finished in time — “Wolf of Wall Street,” which had to postpone its release for more than a month from Nov. 15 because director Martin Scorsese was behind schedule — collected a nomination for star Leonardo DiCaprio in the comedy or musical actor race.

FULL COVERAGE: Golden Globes nominations 2014

He will compete against “American Hustle’s” Christian Bale in the actor in a comedy or musical category, along with Bruce Dern from “Nebraska,” Oscar Isaac for “Inside Llewyn Davis” and Joaquin Phoenix for “Her.”

In addition to Chiwetel Ejiofor from “12 Years a Slave,” the dramatic actor nominees were Idris Elba for “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips,” Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club” and Robert Redford for “All Is Lost.”

The Globe selections for dramatic actress were Cate Blanchett from “Blue Jasmine,” Sandra Bullock in “Gravity,” Emma Thompson from “Saving Mr. Banks,” Judi Dench in “Philomena” and Kate Winslet in “Labor Day.” The nominees for comedy or musical actress were Amy Adams for “American Hustle,” Julie Delpy for “Before Midnight,” Greta Gerwig for “Frances Ha,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Enough Said” and Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County.”


In a setback for “Saving Mr. Banks,” Thompson received the film’s only nomination, and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” was ignored completely, including a snub for costar Oprah Winfrey. “August: Osage County” received two acting honors but nothing else. Both “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “August: Osage County” had fared well with SAG the day before, earning nominations in the cast category along with nominations for Winfrey and other cast members.

BALLOT: Cast your Golden Globe Awards vote

Despite the “American Hustle” surge, “12 Years a Slave,” along with “Gravity,” remains a leading candidate for the Academy Awards. Alone with “American Hustle,” it was the only one of the 10 movies up for a Golden Globe best picture that also collected a SAG nomination for ensemble, the acting union’s equivalent of the best picture category.

Asked to explain how the film remains so prominent in the conversation — “12 Years a Slave” opened nearly two months ago, on Oct. 18 — producer Dede Gardner said, “You hearken back to the original reason we made it in the first place: the staying power of narrative and character.”

The Golden Globes will be presented on Jan. 12.

Times staff writer Steven Zeitchik contributed to this report.