Friday, 17 January 2014

GOLD STANDARD: Gravity, American Hustle headline 2014's class of Oscar contenders

AHEAD OF THE PACK: A diverse batch of films are vying for top honours at the upcoming Oscars.

With less than two months to go before Hollywood's biggest night arrives, the Motion Picture Academy on Thursday morning revealed this year's list of nominees who will be vying for a little gold man come March 2. 

Maintaining their impressive season-long run, David O. Russell's American Hustle and Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity picked up the lion's share of nominations (10 apiece) including all-important bids for Best Picture, Director, and Film Editing, as well as recognition for their respective casts in the acting categories. Also strongly making its presence felt: Best Director contender Steve McQueen's riveting tour-de-force 12 Years A Slave, which scored an impressive nine noms. 

As for the other top contenders, all boasting Best Picture credentials: the Tom Hanks-piloted Captain Phillips, Alexander Payne's road-trip family drama Nebraska and the HIV saga Dallas Buyers Club each snagged six nominations while Spike Jonze's quirky dramedy Her earned five. The Judi Dench maternal tearjerker Philomena received four noms from Academy voters. 

Though Idris Elba didn't make the final cut for Best Actor consideration, his film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom was honoured with a Best Original Song nomination ("Ordinary Love", written and performed by U2.) The Black community is also represented in that category by hip-hop superproducer Pharell Williams' tune "Happy" from Despicable Me 2, and in the acting categories by Somalia's Barkhad Ali (Captain Phillips) and Chiwetel Ejiofore and Lupita Nyong'o, the award-worthy stars of 12 Years A Slave, which is highly fancied to walk away with the grand prix on March 2.

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