The searing historical epic 12 Years a Slave and the con-artist caper American Hustle lead the 71st annual Golden Globes with seven nominations each.
The nominations, announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, suggested American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave may be this year’s Oscar favourites.
Hailed by critics as the movies’ most unblinking portrait of slavery, 12 Years a Slave verified its front-runner status with nominations including best film drama, Chiwetel Ejiofor for best actor in a drama, and Steve McQueen for best director.
It also stars Killarney- reared Michael Fassbender, but he missed out on a nomination.
American Hustle dominated on the Globes’ other category side: Comedy or musical.
The fictionalised story of the FBI’s Abscam investigation in the late 1970s earned nominations for best movie comedy, Christian Bale for best actor in a comedy, Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress in a comedy, as well as David O’Russell for best director.
Also in the mix are Alexander Payne’s father- son road trip Nebraska, with five nominations, including best actor for Bruce Dern.
The space odyssey Gravity earned four nominations, as did the Somali pirate thriller Captain Phillips.
This year’s comedy competition could be the strongest field ever for the Globes.
Aside from American Hustle, the group includes Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Spike Jonze’s Her, and the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.
The last film of 2013 to screen, Scorsese’s three-hour financial industry extravaganza had been one of the biggest question marks this awards season. Along with the best picture nomination, it earned one for Leonardo DiCaprio’s leading performance.
Along with 12 Years a Slave, the dramatic best picture category was rounded out by Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena, and Rush.
Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, which also received a nomination for Sandra Bullock, will likely benefit more from the Academy Awards’ technical categories, which the Globes don’t honour.
Most notably shutout was Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the Civil Rights history told through a long-serving White House butler played by Forest Whitaker.
The awards and their boozy telecast are known for a desire to attract stars. This year’s ceremony on Jan 12 will again be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
The last two years, one of the Globes’ best-picture winners went on to top the Academy Awards.
Last year, the Globes awarded Ben Affleck’s Argo best picture for drama.
The year before that, the silent film ode The Artist won best picture for a comedy.
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