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The 10 Biggest Surprises of the 2014 Oscar Nominations

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire January 16, 2014 at 10:54AM

The Oscar nominations -- for better or worse -- are out! While the full list of nominations is here, we've already scrolled through them and picked out 10 things that people may not have seen coming.
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The Oscar nominations -- for better or worse -- are out! While the full list of nominations is here, we've already scrolled through them and picked out 10 things that people may not have seen coming. For what it's worth:

1. "American Hustle" and "Gravity" lead the way. Not terribly surprising in itself, as both films were clearly poised to do well. But many -- including myself -- expected "12 Years a Slave" to get the most nominations this morning. Instead it got nine to the 10 that "Hustle" and "Gravity" managed. The Academy took every chance they could to nominate those two, even giving David O. Russell his second film in a row to get acting nominations in every single category (though oddly, "Hustle" was snubbed for makeup and hairstyling, which seemed like one of its surest nominations). "12 Years," on the other hand, missed out on very expected nominations for original score and cinematography, suggesting some hesitation towards the film overall.

2. Tom Hanks isn't even a one-time nominee. For a while there, it seemed like two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks would be a two-time nominee this year for his work in "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Captain Phillips." And while the hopes for the former faded considerably, he seemed like a near lock for his impressive work in "Phillips." But in the end, he didn't even manage that. Not that we can feel particularly sorry for someone who already has two Oscars, but still...

3. Neither is Emma Thompson! Probably the biggest shocker of the acting nominations was the lack of one for Hanks' "Banks" co-star Emma Thompson. We knew the best actress race was going to be tight, but it seemed like Meryl Streep or Amy Adams would be the ones that were going to miss out. But nope, it was Thompson who was excluded -- and we'll miss out on her presence come March 2nd. Once again, the Golden Globes take this one...


4. "Stories We Tell," "Blackfish" and "Tim's Vermeer" miss out on best doc nods. The best documentary category is essentially expected to be one big surprise, but for three films that were largely predicted to make the cut to miss out still surely had a few folks doing a double take at the list. "Blackfish," "Stories We Tell" and "Tim's Vermeer" were all left hanging in favor of surprise nods for "Cutie and the Boxer" and "Dirty Wars." And while the "Stories" snub does hurt pretty hard for me personally, it's still a strong lineup overall in a year that was clearly overflowing with great options.

5. "Dallas Buyers Club" dominates. While it was crystal clear "Dallas Buyers Club" was heading for acting nods for Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey, and that the chances were good it would have a best picture nomination to go along with it, the fact that it added best original screenplay, best film editing and best makeup and hairstyling to that trio goes to show there's serious love for "Dallas" in the Academy.

Oprah Winfrey in the "Lee Daniels' The Butler."

6. Noprah! Another big acting snub came by way of none other than Ms. Oprah Winfrey, who lost out on a best supporting actress nomination for "Lee Daniels' The Butler." She missed out at the Globes too, but it seemed like a strong bet the Academy would make up for that. Instead they nominated Sally Hawkins for "Blue Jasmine," in doing so making up for the tragic snub of her work in "Happy-Go-Lucky" a few years back.

7. The sole representative of The Weinstein Company's trio of films about various moments in black history is... U2? Oprah's "The Butler" was one of three films The Weinstein Company was campaigning for that dealt with black history in various ways, the others being "Fruitvale Station" and "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom." Somehow in the end the three films wound up with a singular representative at the Oscars: Bono and company for their song "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela." Take what you want from that.

8. Very little love for "Inside Llewyn Davis." We knew the latest from the Coens was in trouble when it got snubbed by most of the guilds, but few saw a nomination count of just two (cinematography and sound mixing). It missed out on original screenplay, editing, production design and costume design, not to mention best picture. Which was definitely a bit more epic of an overall omission that most saw coming.

9. A movie called "Alone Yet Not Alone" got a nomination for best song? Ever heard of a movie called "Alone Yet Not Alone"? Me neither. But it ended up with more nominations than "Rush," "Short Term 12," "Blue is the Warmest Color," "The Past," "Enough Said," "Labor Day," "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "Fruitvale Station" combined. The film -- directed by Ray Bengston and George D. Escobar -- is described by IMDb as this: "The year is 1755, and the English colonies are being ravaged by the atrocities of war. Opposing European powers have clashed over the fertile Ohio valley, and entire families are devastated by the ensuing violence." And in by far the weirdest nomination of the morning, its theme song got an Oscar nomination (over Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" no less). Hear its glory for yourself:


10. Jonah Hill! Lastly, a nomination that a lot of people saw coming is still worth noting as a surprise because it came with virtually no precursors. This year's Jacki Weaver, Jonah Hill pulled of a nomination for "The Wolf of Wall Street" without any love from BAFTA, SAG, the Globes or the Critics Choice to come before it.

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Awards Season Roundup