“12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” are emerging as head-to-head rivals with “Gravity,” thought to be a strong contender early on, fading in comparison.
The Alfonso Cuarón-directed film premiered at the 70th Venice International Film Festival in August, and won critical acclaim for the acting, direction, screenplay, cinematography and visual effects.
2014 Oscar Nominees for Best Picture
Guide: ♣ Our Pick; ♥ Favorite; ♦ Front Runner; ♠ Dark Horse
- American Hustle, Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon, Producers ♥ ♦
- Captain Phillips, Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
- Dallas Buyers Club, Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers ♣
- Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
- Her, Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
- Nebraska, Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
- Philomena, Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers ♠
- 12 Years a Slave, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
- The Wolf of Wall Street, Nominees to be determined
David O. Russell, American Hustle ♦
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity ♥
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave ♣
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street ♠
It was nominated for a Golden Globe in the drama category and lost to “12 Years a Slave,” and also fell to “12 Years” at The Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics Choice awards.
“American Hustle” upped its front-runner status by winning the SAG for best ensemble cast and the Globe for best comedy. Some of the confusion arises, however, because “American Hustle” won the Critics Choice award for best ensemble cast and best comedy. Yet “12 Years” won both the Globe and Critics Choice awards for drama.
The Best Picture category is crowded at the Oscars this year with nine top films in contention. “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” add to the list.
“Gravity” and “American Hustle” lead with 10 nominations each, but sheer nominations alone aren’t necessarily a reliable predictor of Oscar sentiment.
With McConaughey and Leto cleaning up awards for actor and supporting actor, it begs the question: Where does “Dallas Buyers Club” stand as a Best Picture contender? It would have to be considered a strong dark-horse candidate at this point.
One of the smaller films in the group, “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” could also pull a surprise upset. Out of the group, “Philomena has the best odds of pulling a major upset.
With a respectable worldwide box office of $59.2 million, the film has turned enough heads to deserve attention. Plus, the story and acting are superb. It’s been nominated for four Oscars, including Judy Dench for Best Actress.
Although “Gravity” was shut out for film honors at the Critics Choice and SAG awards, it’s the biggest box-office grossing film in Oscar contention. It’s soared into blockbuster territory with $675 million in receipts worldwide to date.
For that reason alone the big commercial film can’t be ruled out, even though box office success isn’t supposed to be a major factor in Oscar judging.
The best chance for a major win by the film is probably in in the Best Director category. “Gravity’s” Alfonso Cuarón is up against David O. Russell, “American Hustle,” Alexander Payne, “Nebraska,” Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave” and Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Russell and McQueen both have solid chances of grabbing the award and Payne is a legitimate dark-horse contender for his beautifully nuanced film.
Because SAG members make up about 20 percent of Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences voters, the table has been tipped back in “American Hustle’s” favor. But this is one race that’s too close to call.
The 86th Academy Awards will be broadcast live, Sunday, March 2, on the ABC. Be sure to follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest awards season updates and check out the SAG winners below.
|Screen Actors Guild 2014 Winners for Television & Movies|
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role