Oscar nominations: winners and losers
Philippa Hawker examines the big winners from the Oscar nominations, as well as those overlooked by the Academy.PT0M0S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-30z25 620 349 January 17, 2014
Cate Blanchett, three designers and an animation supervisor lead a strong Australian charge at the Academy Awards this year.
Blanchett has been nominated for best actress for her role in Blue Jasmine, while two-time Oscar winner Catherine Martin has been nominated twice again for The Great Gatsby - for best costumes and best production design with set designer Beverley Dunn.
Cate Blanchett has been nominated for her turn as a New York socialite whose life is falling apart in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.
Michael Wilkinson, an Australian who has worked on such big Hollywood movies as Terminator Salvation, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and Man of Steel since leaving for the US a decade ago, has been nominated for the costumes in American Hustle.
Animation supervisor David Clayton, who has been working in New Zealand on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and who worked on King Kong and Avatar, is up for visual effects on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Leading the nominations for the 86th awards with 10 were American Hustle, David O. Russell's crime caper about the FBI recruiting con artists to trap corrupt politicians, and Gravity, Alfonso Cuaron's bold 3D action sci-fi movie about two astronauts stranded in space.
Frontrunner: American Hustle picked up 10 nominations. Photo: AP
Steve McQueen's drama 12 Years A Slave, about a man kidnapped into slavery in the 1840s, has nine nominations.
All three movies are up for best picture against Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street, with 12 Years A Slave considered the favourite.
Best director is between Cuaron for Gravity, McQueen for 12 Years A Slave, Russell for American Hustle, Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street and Alexander Payne for Nebraska.
Sandra Bullock was nominated for her role in Gravity. Photo: AP
After universal acclaim and a string of lead-up prizes, Blanchett will go into the awards as favourite to win her second Oscar - her first was for The Aviator – for playing a faded New York socialite in Blue Jasmine.
She is up against Amy Adams (American Hustle), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena) and Meryl Streep (August: Osage County).
Joining Blanchett as the country's most prolific Oscar nominee with six is Martin, who has won twice for Moulin Rouge so far.
Oscar hopeful: Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave. Photo: AP
The designer, who is married to director Baz Luhrmann, has been nominated previously for art direction-set direction on Romeo + Juliet and costumes on Australia.
Wilkinson, who is in pre-production on Batman vs Superman, heard about the nomination when his agent woke him up with an early morning phone call in Los Angeles.
"He gave me the astonishing news," he said.
"It was an amazing surprise.
"I almost jumped right out right out of bed and probably nearly touched the ceiling. I had a shower so I could calm myself down and let the news really sink in - it all felt a bit dreamlike and surreal for a while.
"Then I gave my husband [fellow Australian Timothy Martin] a hug and we had a celebratory breakfast."
Wilkinson said it was amazing to be up against Martin in the costumes category.
"I feel very proud to be in the same company. It's a fascinating phenomenon that Australians continue to have an interesting impact on Hollywood, especially in the design areas."
Up against the designers for 12 Years A Slave, The Grandmaster and The Invisible Woman, they are both strong contenders given their striking costumes.
"As soon as I read the script, I was so excited because each of the characters have a clear and unique relationship to their clothes," Wilkinson said.
"They're really using the power of clothes as part of their hustle and dressing as these characters they're aspiring to be."
His nomination is part of a phenomenal Oscars run for Russell – eight nominations for both The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, including all four acting categories for the first time in more than three decades last year, and now 10 for American Hustle, including all four acting categories again.
"I just got off the phone with David O. Russell and I said you had eight nominations last year, you have 10 this year, when is this craziness going to end?" said Wilkinson.
"I don't know where you go from there.
"I'm so happy for him. He creates these unbelievable characters that are unlike any other categories around and for a costume designer that's really golden. They're wildly imaginative and incredibly unique and they're full of spectacular flaws and spectacular passions. For a costume designer, that's great to really get your teeth into and flex your design muscle."
In the best actor category, the likely favourites are Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) in a field that also includes Christian Bale (American Hustle), veteran Bruce Dern (Nebraska) and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street).
Former Hollywood limo driver Barkhad Abdi, who played a Somali pirate in Captain Phillips, is nominated for best supporting actor against Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years A Slave), Jaret Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) and Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street).
Big names Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) are up for supporting actress against Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) and two little-known actresses who have shone in breakthrough roles - Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave) and June Squib (Nebraska).
Notable omissions include Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, Robert Redford for All Is Lost, Emma Thompson for Saving Mr Banks and Paul Greengrass for directing Captain Phillips.
The Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis was nominated only for sound mixing and cinematography, while The Butler was overlooked completely.
Ellen DeGeneres will host the Oscars on March 2.