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Golden Globe best picture nominations

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The announcement of the 71st Golden Globe nominations, last Thursday, has kicked off the 2014 award season. All but one of the films nominated for the best dramatic motion picture are based on actual events. Here's a run down of all five.

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'12 Years a Slave,' is a period piece based on the autobiographical book, of the same title, published in 1853. The story follows Solomon Northup, a pre-Civil War Era free black man who is kidnapped in 1841 then sold into slavery. Three of the film's stars have been nominated, Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays Northup, is nominated for best actor, Michael Fassbender is nominated for best supporting actor, and Lupita Nyong’o is nominated for best supporting actress.

'Captain Phillips,' also based on a true story, follows the 2009 hijacking of the container ship MV Maersk Alabama, the first American shipping vessel to be set on by pirates in two hundred years. Tom Hanks plays the title character and is nominated for his eighth Golden Globe. Former Somali citizen Barkad Adbi, who plays Phillips' antagonist Muse, is nominated for best supporting actor.

'Gravity,' a film by Alfonso Cuarón, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, is the only story not inspired by actual events. Two astronauts are adrift and lashed together in space after a disaster leaves them with no way of contacting Earth. This film is one of the most visually striking films of the year. Sandra Bullock earns her fifth nomination for best actress.

The fourth film, 'Philomena,' is inspired by the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith and stars Judi Dench as the title character. The story follows Sixsmith, played by Steve Coogan, as he aides Philomena Lee's search to find the son she was forced to give up some fifty years earlier. Dench's performance, called “the best reason” to see the film by Chicago Tribune writer Kenneth Turan, is nominated for the best actress award.

Ron Howard's 'Rush,' is a dramatic re-creation of the intense rivalry between two Formula One drivers of the 1970's, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. This rivalry unfolds in a sport where the slightest mistake can cost everything. The film stars Chris Hemsworth as the out-going Englishman James Hunt, and Daniel Brühl as the meticulous Austrian Niki Lauda.

Though it is never certain, many of these nominations could be a foreshadow to the Oscar nominations to be released on Thursday, January 16th.

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