Academy Awards Nominees Announced: Voters Go Indie

Academy AwardsEllen DeGeneres will host the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd and now the nominees for this year’s ceremony are set. The nominees for all of the major categories were released early this morning and David O. Russell’s American Hustle is tied with the George Clooney and Sandra Bullock space-epic Gravity for the most nominations this year with ten a piece. However, this year the voters appear to have also chosen smaller productions that are lesser known to the mainstream public for the Best Picture and Best Director categories. Scott Rudin’s Captain Phillips and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street the only two films this year in the Best Picture category with major mainstream appeal.

“Best Picture” this year consists of nine movies. They are the before mentioned American Hustle, Gravity, Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street, but also Steve McQueen’s gritty, racial period piece  12 Years a Slave, Alexander Payne’s austere masterpiece Nebraska, the thought provoking Dallas Buyers Club and Spike Jonze’s quirkily comforting Her. These last four more independently stylized pictures beat out films like the blockbuster action movie Lone Survivor for the title.

The “Best Actor” category gave out nominations to Bruce Dern for his dizzying and hilarious role in Nebraska, Chrsitian Bale’s reunion with Russell in American Hustle, DiCaprio’s all or northing effort in The Wolf, Mathew McConaughey head turning performance in Dallas Buyers Club and Chiwetel Ejiofor film defining role in Slave. Surprisingly left out was Robert Redford’s performance in the gripping All is Lost.

“Best Actress” nominees are Amy Adams’s sensuous role in American Hustle, Meryl Streep again for August: Osage County, Cate Blanchett’s Blanchet Dubois inspired role in Blue Jasmine, Judi Dench’s heartbreaking turn in Philomena and Sandra Bullock’s sci-fi determination in Gravity. Early predictions have it being a two horse race between stalwarts Streep and Blanchett.

The “Best Supporting Actor” nominees were given to Barkhad Abdi performance in Captain Phillips, Jonah Hill as DiCaprio’s side kick in The Wolf, Bradley Cooper sporting incredible sideburns in American Hustle, Michael Fassbender in his third movie with McQueen in Slave and Jared Leto returning to the screen in Dallas Buyers Club. This category appears to be fairly up for grabs right now with Fassbender and Cooper leading the way with their explosive performances.

“Best Supporting Actress” nominees are Sally Hawking/ Blue Jasmine, Julia Roberts/ August: Osage County, June Squibb/ Nebraska, Jennifer Lawrence/ American Hustle, Lupita Nyong’o/ 12 Years a Slave. The small budget Nebraska received more Oscar love in this category and it might be the one award it could win on Oscar night. June Squibb is scathingly hilarious, but watch out for last years Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence, whose stock is red hot right now.

The last major category at the Academy Awards, “Best Director,” also seemed to go indie by the voters. Alexander Payne/ Nebraska, Martin Scorsese/ The Wolf of Wall Street, Steve McQueen/ 12 Years a Slave, Alfonso Cuaron/ Gravity and David O. Russel/ American Hustle. Martin Scorses being the only name on that list readily available to the public. McQueen, Payne and Russell all released movies this year that should continue to rise their stock as elite Hollywood directors.

The Academy Awards are almost a month and a half away so there is still plenty of time to fill in the gaps of movies you have not seen yet before the show. So far this year is already shaking up to be interesting as the voters released a list of nominees that highlights the work of some of the more indie releases this year.

By Nick Manai

LA Times

Academy Awards

Newsday

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