The harrowing historical epic 12 Years a Slave and the con-artist caper American Hustle led the 71st annual Golden Globes with seven nominations each, setting up two very different films as Academy Awards front-runners.
One outlandish and farcical, the other grimly accurate, American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave dominated the Golden Globes on Thursday, when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced its nominees from Beverly Hills, Calif.
Hailed by critics as the movies’ most unblinking portrait of slavery, 12 Years a Slave verified its Oscar favorite status with nominations including best film drama, Chiwetel Ejiofor for best actor in a drama, Steve McQueen for best director and Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o for their supporting roles. The film is based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery.
American Hustle dominated on the Globes’ other category side: comedy or musical. The fictionalized story of the FBI’s Abscam investigation amid the disco-era 1970s earned nominations for best movie comedy and David O. Russell for best director. Much of its starry cast received nominations, including lead actors Christian Bale and Amy Adams, as well as last year’s Oscar darling, Jennifer Lawrence, for best supporting actress.
For Russell, who gathered many of the stars of his last two acclaimed films ( Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter) for American Hustle, the warm reception completes a personal redemption.
Also in the mix is Alexander Payne’s father-son road trip Nebraska, with five nominations, including best actor for Bruce Dern. The 3-D space odyssey Gravity earned four nominations, as did the Somali pirate thriller Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks as the kidnapped cargo-ship captain.
Alfonso Cuaron’s innovative spectacle and box-office hit Gravity, for which star Sandra Bullock received a best actress nomination, should be a heavyweight at the Academy Awards, which honor technical categories that the Globes don’t.
This year’s comedy competition – usually a mixed bag compared to the dramatic categories – could be the strongest field ever for the Globes. Aside from American Hustle, the group includes Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, Spike Jonze’s Her and the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.
The soulful futuristic romance Her and the `60s Greenwich Village folk tale Inside Llewyn Davis both reaped three nominations, including nods for its stars: newcomer Oscar Isaac for Llewyn Davis and Joaquin Phoenix for Her.
The last film of 2013 to screen, Scorsese’s three-hour financial industry extravaganza had been one of the biggest question marks this awards season. After being snubbed Wednesday by the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, it earned a nomination for Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as an out-of-control Wall Street trader, along with the best picture nomination.
The 77-year-old Dern rounds out best actor in a comedy for his performance as a taciturn Montana man who believes he’s won a mailing sweepstakes. Dern has been unusually forthright about his honest enjoyment in being back in the spotlight with Nebraska, which was also nominated for Payne’s screenplay and June Squibb’s supporting performance.
He’s joined on the dramatic best actor side by another 77-year-old veteran, Robert Redford, who had surprisingly been overlooked by the Screen Actors. Redford, who hasn’t ever won an acting Oscar, was nominated by the Globes for his nearly unspoken performance as a man shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean in All Is Lost.
In the dramatic best picture category, 12 Years a Slave was joined by Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena and Rush.
Most notably shutout was Lee Daniels’ The Butler, the civil rights history told through a long-serving White House butler played by Forest Whitaker. Oprah Winfrey has been considered a favorite among supporting actresses. (Also denied were hopefuls Fruitvale Station and Prisoners.)
Blue Is the Warmest Color, The Great Beauty, The Hunt, The Past and The Wind Rises were nominated for foreign language film. Three films made it into best animated feature film: Frozen, Despicable Me and The Croods.
A film that could have easily been a theatrical release, Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace drama Behind the Candelabra, topped the Globes’ television nominations. The HBO film helped the cable channel yield a leading nine nominations among TV networks.
The digital platform Netflix, though, emerged as a new challenger with six total nods. The subscription service’s first major foray into original programming, the political thriller House of Cards, tied Candelabra with four nominations. House of Cards, produced by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey, is also a product of filmmakers who turned to the small screen.
Associated Press writers Jessica Herndon and Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.