THE British drama 12 Years A Slave has been nominated for nine Academy Awards, including best film.
Directed by Steve McQueen, it tells the true story of a free black man kidnapped into slavery in the American south. It secured Oscar nominations for Chiwetel Ejiofor as best actor, Michael Fassbender as best supporting actor and Lupita Nyong’o as best supporting actress.
Londoner McQueen, who is in the running for the best director award, said: “I’m just very excited.
“We worked very hard and we’re privileged to be in this position. You can achieve a debate in cinema that you can’t achieve with reportage or documentary. You can really connect with the audience.”
Ejiofor said: “At no point during filming, in the sweltering heat of New Orleans, did any of us ever foresee the journey this film would take us all on.
“Steve McQueen created an entire family to tell one man’s tale and I am delighted that so many of this family have also been recognised today.
“I am hugely grateful to the Academy for this great honour, and, of course, to Solomon Northup for sharing his story through his breathtaking book.”
Another British movie, Philomena, which tells the story of an Irish woman trying to find the son she was forced to give up for adoption, was nominated for best film, best adapted screenplay best music and best actress for Dame Judi Dench.
Dame Judi said: “This is just the loveliest news. I’m so happy for everybody involved, and so proud to have been part of the wonderful experience that Philomena has been.”
The nominations were revealed in Los Angeles early yesterday, and ground-breaking 3D movie Gravity and crime caper American Hustle topped the list, with ten each.
Gravity’s nods included best actress for Sandra Bullock and best director for Alfonso Cuaron, as well as a host of technical nominations for its 3D effects.
American Hustle became the 15th film in Hollywood history to secure nominations in the four main acting categories, including for Britain’s Christian Bale as best actor. Amy Adams secured her fifth nomination, and her first in the leading actress category. She has yet to win an Oscar.
Director David O Russell, who was also nominated, said: “You always worry, as sort of the captain, that one of your great performances is not going to get recognised, but you pray for them all. They all put so much into it and they did it together so it’s nice none of them got left out.”
Bookmaker William Hill said it had seen a flurry of bets for American Hustle and had made it second favourite for the best film behind 12 Years A Slave, which won that category in the Golden Globes earlier this week.
Among the names missing yesterday was Robert Redford, who had been tipped for a best-actor nod after his performance as a stricken sailor in All Is Lost – he is the only actor on screen for the duration of the film.
The winners will be announced at the Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday, 2 March.
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska
David O Russell, American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
Film Music (original score)
John Williams The Book Thief
Steven Price Gravity
William Butler and Owen Pallett Her
Alexandre Desplat Philomena
Thomas Newman Saving Mr Banks
Music (original song)
Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel “Alone Yet Not Alone” from Alone Yet Not Alone
Pharrell Williams “Happy” from Despicable Me 2
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez “Let It Go” from Frozen
Karen O and Spike Jonze “The Moon Song” from Her
U2 “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy AND Ethan Hawke Before Midnight
Billy Ray Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope Philomena
John Ridley 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter The Wolf of Wall Street
Eric Warren Singer and David O Russell American Hustle
Woody Allen Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze Her
Bob Nelson Nebraska