Lee Daniels The Butler didn't do it—score an Oscar nomination that is. Nor did the film's actors, which makes it one of the more curious snubs of the 2014 Oscar season. Nominations were announced early Thursday.
American Hustle and Gravity boasted the most attention—10 noms in all for each—and Nebraska surpassed expectations, grabbing nods for Best Picture, Actor (Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress (the delightful June Squibb), Best Director (Alexander Payne) and Best Screenplay (Bob Nelson).
Good news for Dallas Buyers Club, the riveting period piece about an HIV-positive man in the 1980s who became an unlikely advocate for others during the AIDS crisis: The film collected six nominations, alongside Captain Phillips and Nebraska.
“I am honored and grateful for this nomination," Matthew McConaughey noted of the news. "I love working in an industry and craft that inspires me daily and allows me to tell stories that translate humanities and move people. I share this with the entire Dallas Buyers Club family of filmmakers, cast, and crew—and the real-life Ron Woodroofs and Rayons who continue to fight and live with dignity. Thank you.”
Let's not forget that McConaughey also turned heads last year in Mud. He's on a roll.
Other big Oscar surprises: Tom Hanks was off the Best Actor list for Captain Phillips; Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) didn't garner a nom; nor did Robert Redford (All Is Lost) who, surprisingly, has never taken home the gold for Best Actor.
The Best Picture race, at least for now, seems to be between American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave (which received 9 noms).
By all accounts, it feels like an American Hustle win this year. The film did well at the Golden Globes last weekend and true, it smacks of Best Picture, but so does 12 Years a Slave. And Gravity does, too, that matter, but more so for its ability to create such an unforgettable journey from beginning to end.
Elsewhere ... it's time to be honest: Can't we already hear Jennifer Lawrence accepting her award on Oscar night? Or Amy Adams for that matter? But should the Academy dare to be bold this year, it would be downright refreshing to see some of the following on the this year's list of Best Oscar winners: Matthew McConaughey or Bruce Dern (Best Actor); a tie for Best Actress (Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep); Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club); Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) or June Squibb (Nebraska) for Best Supporting Actress; Twenty Feet From Stardom (Best Documentary): Frozen (Best Animated Feature); Before Midnight (Best Adapted Screenplay); Her or Blue Jasmine (Best Screenplay).
The Oscar telecast unfolds March 2 with Ellen DeGeneres returning for the second time as host. In the meantime, take note of some of the nominees below.
"Dallas Buyers Club"
"12 Years A Slave"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
Christian Bale, "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years A Slave"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Amy Adams, "American Hustle"
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"
Judi Dench, "Philomena"
Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
Bradley Cooper, "American Hustle"
Michael Fassbender, "12 Years A Slave"
Jonah Hill, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine"
Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years A Slave"
Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"
David O. Russell, "American Hustle"
Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"
Steve McQueen, "12 Years A Slave"
Martin Scorsese, "The Wolf Of Wall Street"
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
"Despicable Me 2"
"Ernest & Celestine"
"The Wind Rises"
BEST FOREIGN FILM
"The Broken Circle Breakdown" (Belgium)
"The Great Beauty" (Italy)
"The Hunt" (Denmark)
"The Missing Picture" (Cambodia)
"The Act of Killing"
"Cutie & The Boxer"
"Twenty Feet From Stardom"
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
"Before Midnight," written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
"Captain Phillips," screenplay by Billy Ray
"Philomena," screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
"12 Years A Slave," screenplay by John Ridley
"The Wolf of Wall Street," screenplay by Terence Winter
"American Hustle," written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
"Blue Jasmine," written by Woody Allen
"Dallas Buyers Club," written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
"Her," written by Spike Jonze
"Nebraska," written by Bob Nelson