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Oscar Watching: HUSTLE for 12 YEARS

The New York critics went for American Hustle, while Gravity and Her tied with critics in Los Angeles. The guilds and industry awards threw in their thoughts on which films should lead the race. 12 Years a Slave and Hustle snagged Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nods for motion-picture case and tied for the most nods at the Golden Globes (seven each) last week. For what it’s worth, the Broadcast Film Critics Association(BFCA) unveiled its Critics’ Choice Movie Awards nominees on Monday, and 12 Years and Hustle lead with 13 bids apiece.

The awards season is already at that point, I suppose, but things do get interesting when we look beyond the films with the leading tallies.


12 Years a Slave

Best Picture

To keep this from becoming “12 Years vs. Hustle,” let’s look at the other contenders that garnered recognition over the last week and a half. August: Osage County and Dallas Buyers Club picked up cast nods at SAG but missed Globe bids in their respective picture races. It hurts both films but particularly the former – the star power of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts failed to garner a picture bid? Lee Daniels’ The Butler rounds out SAG’s motion-picture cast nominees, but the Globes dismissed the film entirely. (More on that later.)

Keep in mind, though, that not every cast nomination translates to a picture nomination at the Oscars, but films that miss out on cast nods at SAG rarely win Oscar’s top prize – I won’t say “never” since some will be quick to point out Braveheart’s best picture win – and Globe attention doesn’t hurt. (Then again, Gravity never played into SAG’s top race for obvious reasons; the space-set thriller netted a Globe nod for motion picture, drama.) A cast win for The Butler or Dallas at SAG would likely seal the deal for a picture nomination, but we expect 12 Years or Hustle to win, right?

HFPA love for Captain Phillips and Philomena– both nominees for motion picture, drama – helps each film, but the motion picture, drama bid for Rush may be nothing more than a reminder of the group’s love for Ron Howard. Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, and The Wolf of Wall Street join Hustle in the motion picture, musical or comedy. Each film should garner at least a screenplay bid at the Oscars.

Hustle also earned the best limited debut of 2013 with a per-screen average of about $123,409 from six locations and a $740,455 total from just three days. Meanwhile, Saving Mr. Banks pulled in about $413,373 from 16 screens, hardly an impressive start. Its lackluster showing with SAG and the Globes – only Emma Thompson’s performance represents the film with both groups, which many thought would recognize Banks in their top categories – also hurts.

Hustle and Banks go wide this weekend; Llewyn gets a significant expansion. Look for Hustle to boogie on down to a fantastic gross this weekend; the general public should respond to Banks more than art-house audiences did, but its limited debut is troubling. Llewyn has performed well so far, though its expansion is crucial. Her and The Past debut in select locations this weekend.

1. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)

2. American Hustle (David O. Russell)

3. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)

4. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)

5. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)

6. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (Lee Daniels)

7. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée)

8. Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock)

9. Her (Spike Jonze)

10. Philomena (Stephen Frears)
11. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
12. Inside Llewyn Davis (Ethan and Joel Coen)
13. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
14. Rush (Ron Howard)
13. Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
15. August: Osage County (John Wells)
16. Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche)
17. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve)
18. Enough Said (Nicole Holofcener)
19. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
20. The Book Thief (Brian Percival)
21. Labor Day (Jason Reitman)
23. All is Lost (J.C. Chandor)
24. Short Term 12 (Destin Cretton)
25. Lone Survivor (Peter Berg)


Best Director

The history to be made with a Steve McQueen win has already inspired much ink, and it’s becoming more likely with Hustle arguably moving past Gravity in the race overall. The next big shakeup here, I imagine, will come with the Directors Guild of America’s (DGA) nominees on Jan. 7.

1. Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave

2. David O. Russell for American Hustle

3. Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity

3. Alexander Payne for Nebraska

5. Spike Jonze for Her

6. Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips
7. Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street
8. Lee Daniels for Lee Daniels’ The Butler
9. Ethan and Joel Coen for Inside Llewyn Davis
10. Ryan Coogler for Fruitvale Station


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The Author

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren loves the wonderful world of film and all that comes with it. He specifically loves long takes, fabulous actresses, and keeping up with the Oscar season - even when it's far too early to make sense of anything.