“American Hustle,” “Gravity” Lead the Oscars Race with 10 Nominations Each

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The cast of “American Hustle,” a film that earned 10 Oscar nominations. (Photo: New York Times)

Last Thursday, at 5:38 a.m., the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the films and creators they have nominated for small golden statues. Leading the pack is “American Hustle,” David O. Russell’s sprawling ’70s crime drama, and “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuaron’s thriller starring Sandra Bullock. Both received 10 Oscar nods, with “12 Years a Slave” following with nine.

Nine films received best picture nominations, a category that can include a maximum of 10 films. One of those nine, Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” did surprisingly well this year with five nominations, considering the graphic nature of the film. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were nominated for their work in the film. Given Dicaprio’s history of coming up short (seven times) in the best actor category, the odds show someone else will be chosen, even if DiCaprio deserves the award.

The visual effect nominees are “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” “Iron Man Three,” “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug,” “Gravity,” and “The Lone Ranger.” As you might recall, after seeing “Pacific Rim,” I labeled it as one of my favorite movies of all time for its top-notch special effects. By some means the Disney Western “The Lone Ranger” beat out, in my opinion, one of the most visually spectacular and imaginative movies of the year.

Another surprise of this year’s nomination is the absence of America’s sweetheart, Tom Hanks, in the acting categories. “Captain Phillips” and “Saving Mr. Banks” may not have been the year’s best films, but it seems strange that the Academy, known for its love of Tom Hanks, modern-day thrillers out on the ocean, and period pieces starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, denied Hanks a nomination. Even with those two omissions, this year’s Oscar nominees offer little to dispute.

Look for more in-depth predictions of this year’s Oscars in the coming weeks.