What the Screen Actors Guild giveth, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. taketh away.
One day after SAG voters handed "August: Osage County," "The Dallas Buyers Club" and "Lee Daniels' The Butler" fresh Oscar energy, the Golden Globes on Thursday undercut the three films' awards momentum, failing to nominate any of the trio in the best picture categories, even as the productions were well represented in acting selections.
The snubs accentuated the strong recognition for "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave," which tied with a leading seven Golden Globe nominations apiece. Those two films — alongside "Osage County," "Dallas Buyers Club" and "The Butler" — previously received ensemble nominations from SAG voters, the equivalent of the acting union's best picture shortlist.
"It's really the proverbial case of the stars aligning themselves," said Richard Suckle, a producer of "American Hustle," filmmaker David O. Russell's retelling of the Abscam bribery scandal. The movie opens Friday and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Even though the HFPA nominates movies and leading performances in two categories — drama and comedy or musical — that yields at minimum 10 total selections, the Golden Globe voters placed several less prominent movies in its best picture race, including the long shots "Philomena," about a mother's search for her child, and the car racing tale "Rush."
The dramatic motion picture selections made by the HFPA's fewer than 100 members were the historical drama "12 Years a Slave," the Somali piracy thriller "Captain Phillips," the space disaster story "Gravity," "Philomena" and "Rush."
Globe voters themselves assign movies into the distinct categories, and some of their choices for top comedy or musical yielded some questionable determinations. "Her," a dystopian look at technology and interpersonal connections, was deemed to be a comedy, as was "The Wolf of Wall Street," a chronicle of a substance-abusing, prostitute-smitten and law-breaking stock broker.
In addition to "Her," "American Hustle" and "Wolf of Wall Street," the other movies shortlisted for top comedy or musical were director Alexander Payne's road movie "Nebraska" and the Coen brothers' folk music fable "Inside Llewyn Davis."
Even with "American Hustle" in the ascendancy, director Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" is showing no signs of slowing down.
By tying with "American Hustle" for the most nominations, the slave drama remains one of the strongest contenders for the Academy Awards, whose nominations are announced Jan. 16.