Dallas Buyers Club — which was a cover story for us, because it deals with a momentous time in the history of AIDS in Dallas and the U.S. — scored big at the Oscar nominations announcement this morning, taking six nominations including best picture, best actor Matthew McConaughey and best supporting actor Jared Leto. It is the apparent frontrunner in the acting categories, has an uphill battle for best picture, as Gravity and American Hustle won 10 nominations apiece, and 12 Years a Slave has nine.
McConaughey has momentum, but he’s hardly a lock, with best actor among the most competitive categories in recent years. The four other nominees — Hustle‘s Christian Bale, Slave‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nebraska‘s Bruce Dern and The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Leonardo DiCaprio — all turning in career-best performances. That left no room for Robert Redford, Idris Elba, Tom Hanks and many other excellent actors in 2013.
The best actress list was more predictable, with the four sure-things — Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock in Gravity, Judi Dench in Philomena and Meryl Streep in August: Osage County — being joined by wild card Amy Adams of American Hustle. This is Adams’ first leading actress nomination but her fifth over all; she has never won and is up against four previous winners.
The five best director nominees all led best picture nominees (Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity; Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave, David O. Russell, Hustle; Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street; Alexander Payne, Nebraska), which leaves four best picture nominees (Dallas Buyers Club, Capt. Phillips, Her and Philomena) pretty much in the lurch — it’s rare that a film without a director nomination wins best pic. However, the last time it happened was just last year, with Argo, so there’s hope.
There were some notable snubs other than in the best actor category. The documentary God Loves Uganda by gay filmmaker Roger Ross Williams was overlooked, as was the Cannes favorite, the lesbian romance Blue is the Warmest Color.
All the nominees are after the jump.