LOS ANGELES — “American Hustle” and “Gravity” dominated the Academy Award nominations Thursday, earning 10 nominations apiece, while “12 Years a Slave” followed with nine nominations. All three earned nominations for best picture and best director.

The top nominees – a con-man comedy, a lost-in-space thriller and a harrowing depiction of slavery in America – have fortified their status as the front-runners for Oscar gold. All three performed well this awards season, earning critics honors as well as taking home the marquee trophies at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday.

“Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Nebraska” each earned six nominations, including best picture. “Her,” “Philomena” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” rounded out the roster of nine best picture nominees.

The 86th Academy Awards are in a position to make Oscar history. If Steve McQueen wins best director for “12 Years a Slave,” he will be the first black filmmaker to do so.


The nominations are a Cinderella story of sorts for “Dallas Buyers Club.” Hollywood passed on the film – an intimate and poignant look at the AIDS crisis in the 1980s – again and again. But the project was vindicated with Thursday’s strong showing. Besides a best picture nomination, it earned nominations for original screenplay and a first-time nomination for Matthew McConaughey in the lead actor category and Jared Leto in the supporting actor category.


In addition to McConaughey, the lead actor nominees for the 86th Academy Awards are Christian Bale for “American Hustle,” Leonardo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Bruce Dern for “Nebraska” and Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave.”

Lead actress contenders include Amy Adams for “American Hustle,” Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine,” Sandra Bullock for “Gravity,” Judi Dench for “Philomena” and Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County.”

Besides McQueen, best director nominees are Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity,” David O. Russell for “American Hustle,” Martin Scorsese for “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Alexander Payne for “Nebraska.”

Jennifer Lawrence, who won the lead actress Oscar last year for “Silver Linings Playbook,” is nominated again this year, in the supporting actress category for “American Hustle.” Bradley Cooper, who was nominated for lead actor last year for playing her “Silver Linings” leading man, also returns this year with a nomination in the supporting actor category for “American Hustle.”


If the 23-year-old Lawrence goes on to win, she’ll make history as the youngest woman ever to have two Academy Awards, and the first actress to win back-to-back Oscars since acting legend Katharine Hepburn accomplished that feat in the late 1960s.


Rounding out the best supporting actress nominees are Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine,” Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave,” Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County” and June Squibb in “Nebraska.” If Squibb, 84, goes on to win, she’ll be the oldest performer to take home Oscar gold.

Nominated along with Cooper and Leto in the best supporting actor category are: Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips,” Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave” and Jonah Hill in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Notably missing from the nominations list were lead actor contenders Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips” and Robert Redford for “All Is Lost.” Also overlooked were Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks,” Oprah Winfrey for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and Paul Greengrass for directing “Captain Phillips.”

The Oscars will be telecast live on ABC on March 2.

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