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As with every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has plenty of surprises in store with the Oscar nominations. This morning was no different. While the cast of American Hustle has to be blasting some ‘70s tunes and partying, the crew behind Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks has to be wondering what on earth happened. Of course, that’s only the start of the surprises and snubs.
Saving Mr. Banks was considered a favorite at least for a Best Picture nomination and Emma Thompson was guaranteed a Best Actress nomination. But the Academy must have grown tired of love letters to Hollywood after The Artist and Argo, so the film gut surprisingly shut out. The Disney film scored just one nomination for Thomas Newman’s score.
Thompson was the casualty of American Hustle’s sudden rise. While Best Actress favorites Meryl Streep (August: Osage County), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Judi Dench (Philomena) and Sandra Bullock (Gravity) were all nominated, Amy Adams’ surprise nomination pushed Thompson out. She does already have an Oscar for Howards End, but that was two decades ago.
Best Actor was the most competitive category, easily. All Is Lost’s Robert Redford was pushed out, but his contemporary - Bruce Dern - did get a nomination for Nebraska. Hustle’s Christian Bale also pushed Captain Phillips star Tom Hanks out of the category, which was a huge surprise. Hanks still hasn’t been nominated since 2000.
Leonardo DiCaprio finally got some love from the Academy for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, which had a surprisingly strong showing. The film may have been controversial, but it still got nominated for Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Director. Jonah Hill even got a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Yes, the guy from Superbad is now a two-time Oscar nominee.
The other top category that had a surprising nomination was Best Director. Alexander Payne was nominated for Nebraska, which left Captain Phillips’ Paul Greengrass out of the party. Otherwise, expected nominees David O. Russell (Hustle), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave) and Scorsese were all nominated.
Her and Philomena also had surprisingly strong showings. Philomena snagged a Best Picture nomination, adapted screenplay and Best Actress (Judi Dench). Spike Jonze’s Her also earned a Best Picture nomination and original screenplay.
Inside Llewyn Davis was a big shutout film, even though the Coen Brothers usually do well. Lee Daniels' The Butler was absent too, with Oprah Winfrey not even being nominated for Best supporting Actress.
So who wins on March 2? The Best Picture race is clearly down to 12 Years A Slave (9 nominations), American Hustle (10) and Gravity (10). Gravity got a lot of love in the technical categories, but if the actors branch overwhelmingly loves Hustle, that will be hard to overcome. Although 12 Years A Slave is a great film and one we’ll be talking about forever, Hustle is going to come out on top.
You can check out the list of nominees here.