Hustling an Oscar faces a struggle with Gravity

Crime caper American Hustle and space spectacular Gravity topped the Oscar nominations list with 10 each, leading a crowded field of contenders for Hollywood’s most coveted honours — with 12 Years a Slave star Michael Fassbender, U2 and Philomena among the Irish hopefuls.

Hustling an Oscar faces a struggle with Gravity

Fassbender was named in the Best Supporting Actor category while U2 are nominated for Best Original Song for ‘Ordinary Love’ from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Historical drama 12 Years a Slave won nine nominations in a year chock full of critically acclaimed movies, leaving no clear favourites ahead of the Academy Awards on March 2.

American Hustle already had momentum after winning three major prizes at last weekend’s Golden Globes, while the harrowing 12 Years a Slave took best drama.

Hustle, Gravity and Slave were among nine movies nominated for the best picture Oscar, along with Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club and black-and-white road movie Nebraska were next with six Oscar nods each.

Martin Scorsese’s epic about financial greed The Wolf of Wall Street and futuristic love story Her each got five nominations.

But there were also snubs: two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks failed to win a nomination for his roles in Captain Phillips or Saving Mr Banks, while awards season perennials Ethan and Joel Coen got only two nods for Inside Llewyn Davis — neither of them in the main categories.

For best actor, the nominees were Christian Bale for American Hustle, Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club.

Both DiCaprio and McConaughey won Golden Globes for their performances. At the Globes, the main acting prizes are split between drama and musical/comedy films.

Up for the Best Actress Oscar are Amy Adams for American Hustle, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock for Gravity, Judi Dench for Philomena and Meryl Streep for August: Osage County.

Dame Judi Dench said: “This is just the loveliest news. I’m so happy for everybody involved, and so proud to have been part of the wonderful experience that Philomena has been.”

The film, based on the true story of Irish woman Philomena Lee and her search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption in 1950s’ Ireland, is also shortlisted for best picture, and Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope are nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Nominated for Best Director were David O Russell for American Hustle, Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity, Alexander Payne for Nebraska, Briton Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave and Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street.

The Best Supporting Actress category will have stiff competition from Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and June Squibb (Nebraska).

For Best Supporting Actor, the nominees are Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).

The 42-year-old Leto, who had not made a movie for six years, won the Globe and has earned widespread praise for his searing performance in a transgender role.

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