3 Films ‘Hustle’ for the Lead – Oscar Nominations Breakdown

gravity 12 years hustle split

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts ad Sciences (AMPAS) gave us plenty of surprises – both good and bad – when they announced their 86th Annual Oscar nominations this morning.

The big story is American Hustle, which tied Gravity for the lead with 10 nods each, followed closely by 12 Years a Slave with 9. Any one of them could still win, but this proves it really is a 3-way race. All 3 got the crucial Picture/Director/Editing trifecta that is often necessary to go the distance.

All 9 of the Best Picture nominees got more nominations than any of the other films. A majority of the different branches seemed to be on the same page. I feel like this kind of symmetry is actually pretty rare. (Scroll to the bottom of my complete nominations list for a list of total nominations per film.)

I’m actually pretty proud of a decent showing in my own predictions. (Scroll down to see my brag list and how I did on each category.) But there were a fair number selections and snubs that few people saw coming – including at least one that NOBODY could’ve guessed.

The Good…

  • A much stronger-than-expected showing for The Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club was very heartening to see.
  • Philomena for Best Pic, expected but not guaranteed.
  • American Hustle got nods in all 4 acting categories (the best thing about the movie). This is extremely rare, and yet it’s 2 years in a row for a David O. Russell film.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor. I predicted it, but most pundits figuring he was in 6th place. Now that he’s in, I think he actually has a decent chance for the win, though it’s still a tight race.
  • Sally Hawkins was excellent in Blue Jasmine I’m happy to see her remembered here.
  • The Hobbit’s FX and dual Sound nods. Despite the series’ chronic bloating, it still continues to break new ground on the tech front.
  • Ernest & Celestine!!!
  • Get A Horse!

The Bad…

  • American Hustle‘s tied for the most nominations makes it even more likely to steal the ultimate win from Gravity and 12 Years a Slave (two vastly superior films).
  • Zero nominations for Rush, The Butler, Pacific Rim, or The Hunger Games.
  • Captain Phillips had a worse showing than expected, with both Tom Hanks and director Paul Greengrass missing out on nominations.
  • Part of the Rush shutout, Daniel Bruhl was passed over for one of the very best performances of the year.
  • Part of The Butler shutout, Oprah Winfrey (the best part of that film) was denied.
  • The Coen Bros. missed a screenplay nod for Inside Llewyn Davis. The film itself only managed 2 mentions.
  • 12 Years a Slave’s stunning cinematography was ignored.
  •  Part of The Hunger Games shutout, the amazing costumes were not mentioned, nor the memorable Makeup & Hairsyling
  • Speaking of M&H: the Academy seemed to love American Hustle, so how did it miss out here for those amazing hairdos?
  • No love for Hanz Zimmer’s excellent score for 12 Years a Slave, or Alex Ebert’s work on All Is Lost.
  • No Pacific Rim for visual effects is a travesty. If it weren’t for Gravity, I would’ve pegged it for the de facto winner.
  • Monster’s University is Pixar’s second ever miss for Animated Feature, after Cars 2.
  • Blackfish really deserved a nomination, and it could’ve used the extra publicity to help its valiant cause.
  • Stories We Tell was also widely expected to compete for the documentary win. While I haven’t seen it yet, everything I’ve read makes me disheartened that it was left out.

The WTF??!?!…

  • Best song. This category is notorious for providing some real head-scratchers year after year. (Last year they included a little-known documentary, and the year before that they only nominated TWO songs!) This year is no different, with an unexpected snub for Lana del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” from The Great Gatsby.
  • But the real shot of crazy here is “Alone Yet Not Alone” from a film of the same name. A film which NOBODY has ever even heard of, let alone seen. It doesn’t appear on Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, or Box Office Mojo. It turns out it’s a religious film with a fairly offensive sounding synopsis, made purely for the Christian market. So how the hell did it get nominated? Perhaps because one of the composers is head of the Academy’s music branch…

Brag List
79 (+ 9 alternates) correct out of 108 predictions
2 perfect categories (+ 6 with alternates)
14 categories missed only one
5 missed two
0 missed more than two
Plus I got the one animated short I predicted, Get A Horse!

My predictions, by the numbers…

Best Picture 9/9!!!
Out: Saving Mr. Banks; Blue Jasmine

Best Director 4/5 + alternate
In: Alexander Payne, Nebraska; Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Out:  Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips; Spike Jonze, Her

Best Actor 4/5
In: Christian Bale, American Hustle; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Out: Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips; Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Best Actress 4/5 + alternate
In: Amy Adams, American Hustle
Out: Emma Thompson, Saving Mr Banks

Best Supporting Actor 3/5 + alternate
In: Bradley Cooper, American Hustle; Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Out: Daniel Bruhl, Rush; James Gandolfini, Enough Said

Best Supporting Actress 4/5
In: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Out: Oprah Winfrey, The Butler

Best Adapted Screenplay 5/5!!!

Best Original Screenplay 4/5 + alternate
In: Dallas Buyers Club
Out: Inside Llewyn Davis

Cinematography 4/5
In: The Grandmaster
Out: 12 Years a Slave

Costume Design 4/5
In: The Grandmaster
Out: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Editing 4/5
In: Dallas Buyers Club
Out: The Wolf of Wall Street; Rush

Makeup and Hairstyling 2/3
In: Dallas Buyers Club
Out: American Hustle; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Score 3/5 + alternate
In: Philomena; Saving Mr. Banks
Out: 12 Years a Slave; All is Lost

Song 3/5
In: Alone Yet Not Alone (Alone Yet Not Alone); “Happy (Despicable Me 2)
Out: Young and Beautiful (The Great Gatsby); So You Know What It’s Like (Short Term 12)

Production Design 4/5 + alternate
In: Her
Out: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Sound Editing 4/5
In: The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug
Out: Rush

Sound Mixing 4/5
In: The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug
Out: All Is Lost

Visual Effects 3/5 + alternate
In: The Lone Ranger; Star Trek Into Darkness
Out: Pacific Rim; Oblivion

Foreign Film 4/5 + alternate
In: The Missing Picture
Out: The Grandmaster

Animated Feature 4/5 + alternate
In: Ernest & Celestine; Despicable Me 2
Out: Monsters University

Documentary Feature 3/5
In: Cutie and the Boxer; Dirty Wars
Out: Blackfish; Stories We Tell

Animated Short 1/1

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