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'American Hustle,' 'Gravity' tie with 10 Oscar nominations

'American Hustle' was nominated for 10 awards.

5 things we learned from Oscar nominations

By Todd Leopold

CNN


(CNN) -- The nominations for the Academy Awards were presented Thursday morning, and as always there were trends and surprises. Here are a few things we learned:

1. Make way for older women.

It's not for nothing that one of best jokes from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes referred to the lack of meaty roles for actresses of a certain age: "Meryl Streep (is) so brilliant in 'August: Osage County,' proving that there are still great parts in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over 60," said Fey. And yes, Streep was nominated for an Oscar (for best actress) as well.

But also nominated were Judi Dench, 79, and perhaps more surprisingly, June Squibb, 84. Squibb is a longtime character actress -- you may remember her as Elderly Woman in "Far From Heaven" or Mrs. Cone in an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" -- who got a chance to shine as Bruce Dern's exasperated yet caring wife in "Nebraska." In fact, of the 10 actresses nominated for either best actress or best supporting actress, six are over 40 and two others -- Amy Adams and Sally Hawkins -- are in their late 30s.

2. Diversity, but no diversity.

This year featured a number of notable movies starring or directed by people of color, including "Lee Daniels' The Butler," "Fruitvale Station," "42," "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" and "12 Years a Slave." But of that group, only "12 Years" got any support from the Oscars, with nine nominations. "Mandela" picked up a nod for a U2 song; "Fruitvale" -- despite showcasing rising talents Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler -- got nothing. And despite a $100 million box office -- and raves for performers Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey -- "The Butler" also came up with zero. During the Globes show, there was a Twitter hashtag protesting the lack of diversity: #notbuyingit. You'll probably see it again on Oscar night.

3. Where's Tom Hanks? What about Oprah?

Tom Hanks is one of the most beloved film stars in Hollywood. He's a successful producer and two-time Oscar winner. After a sluggish few years, marked by "Cloud Atlas," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and "Larry Crowne," he was back in the good graces at the box office and with critics, thanks to "Captain Phillips" and "Saving Mr. Banks." The result? No Oscar nominations. Maybe he split the vote; maybe voters just weren't that impressed. (They certainly weren't by "Mr. Banks.")

As for Winfrey -- also a successful producer and personality -- the theory is that "The Butler's" summer release hurt its chances. But it was still a surprise that her name wasn't listed for either the Oscars or the Golden Globes. Better luck at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Oprah.

4. There are no sure things.

The handicappers were wrong about a lot. Take a gander:

• Snubbed: Robert Redford, "All Is Lost." An almost wordless solo performance goes for naught at the Oscars. "Lost," indeed. • Snubbed: The Coen brothers, "Inside Llewyn Davis." Despite their offbeat production, Ethan and Joel have become Oscar favorites -- even if it's just a scriptwriting nod. Not this year. Llewyn Davis will have to keep walking the streets (probably with a waterlogged shoe). • Snubbed: Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks." So much for "Banks" despite its Disney pedigree. • Snubbed: James Gandolfini, "Enough Said." The academy thought "Enough" was apparently too much, since neither Julia Louis-Dreyfus nor Nicole Holofcener's script were picked, either. • Surprise!: Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine." The academy loves Woody Allen screenplays (he got nominated, too), and Hawkins wasn't overlooked. • Surprise!: "Philomena." A small, character-driven movie about a woman searching for her son? Best picture, best actress (Dench) and best adapted screenplay nominations are the prizes.

5. Love for "Dallas Buyers Club."

Perhaps "Hustle," "12 Years" and "Gravity" will duke it out for best picture. But remember "no sure things," because when it came to audience response at the nominations, "Dallas Buyers Club" was the clear winner, greeted with cheers for every nomination. It has an Oscar-friendly subject -- a heroic battle against AIDS -- and strong performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. It received a surprising six nominations.

The Academy Awards are March 2.

 

Christopher Palmeri
(c) 2014, Bloomberg News

LOS ANGELES — "American Hustle," a retelling of a 1970s FBI sting, was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including best picture, tying the space thriller "Gravity" as Hollywood prepared to hand out its highest honors.

"12 Years a Slave," director Steve McQueen's drama about a free black man sold into slavery, was nominated for nine Oscars, including best picture. It's one of nine films that will vie for the industry's top prize, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced today in Beverly Hills, California.

The nominations, ranging from historical pictures to a 3-D space adventure, give academy members a broad sampling of Hollywood fare to choose from. "12 Years a Slave," which won a best picture Golden Globe Award last week, is a drama with hard- to-watch scenes that depict the violence of slavery, while "American Hustle," the Globe winner for best comedy, takes a farcical look at the political scandal known as Abscam.

"The nominees show this is a really strong year for challenging films," said Joe Pichirallo, chairman of the undergraduate film and television school at New York University. "These are not your cookie-cutter films and many of them did really well at the box office."

"12 Years a Slave," from 21st Century Fox Inc., is the favorite to win best picture, followed by Time Warner Inc.'s "Gravity" and "American Hustle" from Sony Corp., according to GoldDerby.com. The site aggregates opinions from journalists, users and its own editors. Stars from all three films, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sandra Bullock, Christian Bale and Amy Adams, were nominated for their lead roles.

This year's nominations were also notable for who got left out. Oscar winning directors Joel and Ethan Coen were passed over for their film "Inside Llewyn Davis," which got nominations for sound mixing and cinematography. "Lee Daniel's The Butler," which stars Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, received no nominations. Two of Hollywood's leading men, in "Captain Phillips" and "All Is Lost," also missed out.

"The fact that Tom Hanks and Robert Redford didn't make the cut shows what a strong year it is," said Phil Contrino, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com

"Captain Phillips," a best-picture nominee from Sony, features Hanks as a freighter captain whose ship is hijacked by pirates. The film also grabbed nominations for a supporting role, writing, editing and sound

Another best-picture nominee, "Dallas Buyers Club," from Universal Pictures' Focus Features, stars Matthew McConaughey as a hustler who helps AIDS patients get the medicine they need after he is diagnosed with the disease. He's nominated for best actor, while co-star Jared Leto is up for supporting actor.

The other nominees for best picture are "Nebraska," about an aging, alcoholic dad who travels to the state to collect a million-dollar sweepstakes prize; "Her," about a man who falls for a sultry computer voice; "Philomena," featuring Judi Dench as a woman trying to find the son taken from her years earlier; and "The Wolf of Wall Street," Martin Scorsese's feature about a Wall Street scam artist.

Among the studios, Time Warner's Warner Bros. led the nominations with 20, while Sony had 19, counting feature films with two or more nominations, according to the academy.

The Oscars will be handed out March 2 in a televised ceremony carried live on ABC.

In the best actor category, Bale was nominated for his leading role as a con man in "American Hustle." In "12 Years a Slave" Ejiofor plays the title role of Solomon Northup, a free black man sold into slavery. Dern is nominated for the lead role in "Nebraska," while Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for his role as a penny stockbroker in "The Wolf of Wall Street"

For best actress, Bullock, starring in "Gravity," will compete with Adams for her role in "American Hustle," Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine," Dench for "Philomena," and Meryl Streep for "August: Osage County." With the latest nod, Streep has been nominated 18 times for Oscars and has won three times.

The best director nominees were David O. Russell for "American Hustle," Alfonso Cuaron for "Gravity," Alexander Payne for "Nebraska," Steve McQueen for "12 Years a Slave," and Martin Scorsese for Paramount's "The Wolf of Wall Street."

The Academy Awards, and even nominations, typically translate into increased box-office and home-video sales for films. "Argo," last year's best-picture winner, saw its domestic ticket revenue climb 24 percent to $136 million after receiving its nomination, according to Imdb.com.

Fox Searchlight, part of 21st Century Fox, is expanding the number of theaters screening "12 Years a Slave" according to the studio. Since its October release, the movie has collected $51.7 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to researcher Box Office Mojo.

"Gravity" is the most popular nominee with fans, collecting more than $675 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo. Burbank, Calif.-based Warner Bros. planned to expand the film to more theaters Friday.

Among best-picture winners since 1978, "Titanic" is the top-grossing picture with inflation-adjusted domestic revenue of $1.06 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In the documentary category, a film backed by Netflix garnered a nomination. "The Square" is a chronicle of the Egyptian protest movement from director-producer Jehane Noujaim.


— With assistance from Yvette Romero in New York.

 

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