Oscars: 10 Things About The Nominations…

The Oscar headlines are dominated by American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity – but here’s a closer look at the certainties, surprises and shocks amongst this year’s crop.

1. The best picture list is a diverse as ever
A 3D space thriller (Gravity). A black-and-white road movie (Nebraska). A harrowing historical drama (12 Years a Slave). And the story of a man who falls in love with his computer operating system (Her) .

2. Hustle’s ensemble cast triumphs again
Director David O Russell has pulled off the same trick he managed with Silver Linings Playbook last year by getting nominations in all four acting categories. His stars, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, were also recognised in last week’s Bafta nominations.

3. Shocks and snubs
The absence of Tom Hanks from the best actor race is one of the biggest shocks, missing out for his role in Somali piracy thriller Captain Phillips. Hanks has received both Bafta and Screen Actors Guild (Sag) nominations, which makes the omission all the more conspicuous.

4. Which films got nothing?
Even the backing of Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein could not rescue Lee Daniels’ The Butler from the Oscar wilderness. Oprah Winfrey was considered something of a shoo-in for best support actress. But it got nothing. Ron Howard’s motor-racing drama Rush also drew a blank. Not great news for its star Chris Hemsworth, who was invited to read out this year’s Oscar nominations.

5. Surprises and celebrations
It’s a good day for The Wolf of Wall Street – the longest and sweariest film on the best picture list, which crams more than 500 uses of the f-word into its almost three-hour running time.

Martin Scorsese’s sex-and-drugs marathon also snorted up nods for best director, best actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a slightly unexpected supporting nod for Jonah Hill, as well as an adapted screenplay slot for Terrence Winter.

After her Bafta nomination, many will be pleased to see Sally Hawkins in the best supporting actress race for her role as Ginger in Blue Jasmine, opposite the scene-stealing Blanchett.

Philomena was never a certainty for best picture but the 6,000 Academy voters said “yes”, as well as putting Dame Judi Dench up for leading actress. It gained additional nods for original score and adapted screenplay.

6. New faces
Among the less familiar faces in the acting categories are Barkhad Abdi and Lupita Nyong’o, both making their movie debuts.

7. An old face is back…
Bruce Dern, who plays cantankerous Woody Grant in Nebraska was last nominated for an Oscar 35 years ago – for his supporting actor role in 1978’s Coming Home.

8. … and so is Mickey Mouse
The veteran cartoon mouse dates back to 1928, making him 86 years old. But he stars in Disney’s Get a Horse! which is up for best animated short.

The film, which combines hand-drawn animation with computer graphics, has been shown in cinemas before Disney’s box-office smash Frozen (also up for best animated feature).

9. A film starring Martin Freeman is nominated (and it’s not The Hobbit)

10. Will the Oscars feel the force of Gravity?
When it comes to the Oscars, science-fiction films are rarely rewarded outside the technical categories. So sci-fi fans will be wondering what chance Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity has of taking the top prize.

Oscar history shows that sci-fi films haven’t fared well when up for best picture.

So could Gravity be the sci-fi film to reach for the stars – or will it come down to Earth with a bump?