“12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” led the Golden Globe nominations with seven each as Hollywood’s yearly awards race gets under way.
“12 Years a Slave,” released by 21st Century Fox Inc.’s (FOX) Fox Searchlight Pictures, received nominations for best drama, best director and best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association said today in Beverly Hills, California. “American Hustle,” from Sony Corp.’s (SNE) Columbia Pictures, is a finalist for best comedy and director.
The recognition provides studios with marketing ammunition to raise the profile of films, including some that haven’t been widely released, during an awards season that culminates with the Oscars on March 2. The winner of the Golden Globe for best comedy or drama has won the Academy Award for best picture in two of the last three years, including the 2013 pick “Argo.”
“The Globes are a warm-up for the Oscars,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak Corp., said in an interview. “At the very least, it’s a prelude for movies to get the attention of audiences ahead of the Oscars.”
Nominees for best drama include “Captain Phillips,” “Gravity,” “Philomena” and “Rush.’
In the best comedy category, the finalists also include ‘‘Her,’’ ‘‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’’ ‘‘Nebraska’’ and Martin Scorsese’s ‘‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’’
Three films -- ‘‘12 Years a Slave,’’ ‘‘American Hustle’’ and ‘‘Nebraska,’’ which received five nominations -- were selected in each of the top categories, honoring film, directing and screenplay.
‘‘Usually that means they must be considered the Oscar frontrunners,’’ Tom O’Neil, founder of GoldDerby.com, wrote on his website.
Winners will be announced Jan. 12 at the 70th Annual Golden Globes broadcast on Comcast Corp. (CMCSA)’s NBC. Oscar nominations follow on Jan. 16.
‘‘American Hustle,” scheduled for limited release this weekend, features Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence in a fictionalized account of the FBI’s Abscam sting in the late 1970s. Bale and Adams were both nominated for their roles as best actor and actress in comedy.
The movie is poised to benefit by following nominations so closely, Phil Contrino, editor of researcher BoxOffice.com, said in an interview.
“It’s incredibly valuable publicity,” Contrino said.
BoxOffice.com projects the film will garner $17 million the weekend of Dec. 20, when it expands into wide release, and generate $95 million in its U.S. theater run.
Sony labels received 15 nominations, to lead all studios. Units of 21st Century Fox Inc. had 10, followed by nine for Weinstein Co. and eight for Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount Pictures.
“12 Years a Slave” has recorded $35 million in U.S. and Canadian box office sales since its Oct. 18 release, and is still in theaters. The picture has yet to tap international markets.
The movie, set in antebellum U.S., tells the story of a free black man played by Ejiofor who is abducted in New York and sold to a cruel slave owner portrayed by Michael Fassbender.
In the best actor-drama category, Ejiofor is up against Idris Elba, who played Nelson Mandela in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” from Weinstein Co. as well as Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips,” Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club,” and Robert Redford in “All Is Lost.”
“The Butler,” the Weinstein Co.’s civil rights drama, and stars Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker were left out of the nominations. GoldDerby.com had projected that each would make the cut.
“Nebraska,” a black-and-white film from Paramount, follows Dern as a father traveling with his estranged son to claim a million-dollar prize.
Vying with Dern and Bale for best actor-comedy are Leonardo DiCaprio for “Wolf of Wall Street,” Oscar Isaac for “Inside Llewyn Davis” and Joaquin Phoenix for “Her.”
For best actress in a comedy, “Hustle’s” Adams will compete with Julie Delpy for “Before Midnight,” Greta Gerwig for “Frances Ha,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Enough Said” and Meryl Streep for “August: Osage County.”
Best foreign-language nominations went to “The Wind Rises” from Japan, “The Past” from Iran, “The Hunt” from Denmark, “The Great Beauty” from Italy and “Blue Is the Warmest Color” from France.
David O. Russell, director of “American Hustle,” will face competition from Alfonso Cuaron of “Gravity,” Paul Greengrass, who helmed “Captain Phillips,” Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave” and Alexander Payne for “Nebraska.”
The Golden Globe nominations for best TV drama went to “Breaking Bad” on AMC, “Downton Abbey” on PBS, CBS’s “The Good Wife,” Netflix Inc.’s “House of Cards” and “Masters of Sex” on Showtime.
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