The Oscars didn't play favorites this year, instead spreading the love between the usual suspects -- hello again, Meryl Streep! -- and a few surprises when the Academy Award nominations were announced this morning.
But get ready to debate the snubs because the strong 2013 field of films left some deserving people out in the cold. Yes, Tom Hanks, you're leading that list.
Who was rewarded? Who was robbed? Who could grab the gold on March 2, when the ceremony airs on ABC? Read on.
¦Three's a crowd. The battle for best picture is dominated by three frontrunners: "American Hustle" and "Gravity," which got 10 nods each, and "12 Years a Slave," which received nine. It's too early to tell which is in the lead, but is that a 1970s disco beat we hear in the background, driving the chances for director David O. Russell's fast-paced, flashy "Hustle"?
¦Thanks, but no Hanks. The hotly contested race for best actor is packed with worthy contenders, but not Tom Hanks, who did his best work in years as a man taken captive by Somali pirates in "Captain Phillips." Also left out of the category? Robert Redford for "All is Lost," Idris Elba for "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," and Joaquin Phoenix for "Her."
¦A spoonful of disappointment. "Saving Mr. Banks," the popular behind-the-scenes look at the making of "Mary Poppins," didn't have Oscar magic. Not only was Hanks again ignored for his portrayal of Walt Disney, but Emma Thompson was nudged out of the best actress field. We're guessing Oscar voters hit the automatic button for Meryl Streep of "August: Osage County" instead.
¦O no! Although early on, it appeared this would be Oprah Winfrey's year as a best supporting actress nominee, the media titan's return to acting in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" didn't make the cut.
¦Hair club for actors. "American Hustle" boasts acting nominations in all four categories. That speaks to a remarkable cast of Christian Bale (best actor), Amy Adams (best actress), Bradley Cooper (best supporting actor), and Jennifer Lawrence (best supporting actress) -- and maybe to the comb-overs, perms and Farrah Fawcett curls that Tina Fey at the Golden Globes dubbed "Explosion at the Wig Factory."
¦Siri, who did you vote for? "Her," the thought-provoking romance between a lonely guy and his computer operating system, is in the running for best picture. It also got an original screenplay nod for its director, Spike Jonze. But it's a bummer than Oscar didn't make headlines by choosing Scarlett Johansson's essential voice work as Samantha for a best supporting actress nomination.
¦Score one for flyover country. Most people haven't seen "Nebraska," but the black-and-white character study from director Alexander Payne made it into the best picture field and brought Oscar fave Payne another nod. Even better, it earned much-deserved recognition for quirky Hollywood veteran Bruce Dern, a best actor contender, and octogenarian big-screen unknown June Squibb, a wonderful wild card in the best supporting actress race.
¦Big day for the "Wolf" pack. Martin Scorsese's love-it-or-hate-it "Wolf of Wall Street" walked away with a bunch of key nominations, including one for his direction. But the biggest surprise of the morning was probably that "Wolf" co-star Jonah Hill landed in the best supporting actor category. Wonder if he dropped an expletive at the news, to add to the record 500-plus f-bombs in the film's dialogue?
¦Monstrous omission. Animation fans will be upset about this year's choices, especially when the so-so "The Croods" and "Despicable Me 2" were singled out, and the enchanting "Monsters University" (directed by metro Detroit native Dan Scanlon) was forgotten.
¦Show stoppers. Any year that includes U2 and Karen O in the best song contest is a potentially good one for the Oscar telecast. But we're particularly smiling at the thought of seeing Pharrell Williams perform "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2."
(c)2014 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by MCT Information Services.
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Original headline: Oscars snub Hanks for 'Captain Phillips'; Jonah Hill gets surprise nod
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