With the awards season looming, the bets are on as to which movie will pick up the most trophies at the Golden Globes.
Leading the pack is ’12 Years a Slave’ with seven nominations, including Best Motion Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a free man sold into slavery, in this drama based on a true story.
“It’s been a remarkable journey full of extraordinary people to meet and to work with and to get the film out there and to have it received in the way it has been received and embraced in that way has been amazing,” said Ejiofor.
In the coveted Best Drama category, ’12 Years a Slave’ is up against Somali piracy thriller ‘Captain Phillips’, a strong contender with four nominations including Best Actor for Tom Hanks and Best Director for Paul Greengrass.
The two front-runners could face a serious challenge from lost-in-space drama ‘Gravity’. It has performed well at the box office, hauling in more than $250 million (181 million euros) in the US and Canada since its October release.
Another big contender for a Golden Globes sweep is ‘American Hustle’, based on a famous FBI sting operation in the 1970s and 1980s. The film also scored seven nominations, including Best Actor and Best Actress for lead and supporting roles.
The main rival for ‘American Hustle’ in the Best Comedy or Musical category is Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’, with five Golden Globe nominations, including Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for veteran Bruce Dern.
He picked up Best Actor in Cannes, where the film was nominated for the Palme d’Or.
Best acting nominations favoured acclaimed actors with long careers, like Dame Judi Dench, for her title role in ‘Philomena’, the story of an Irish mother on a journey to find a son she was forced to give up for adoption.
Seventy-seven-year-old Hollywood icon Robert Redford is nominated for his role in ‘All is Lost’, the story of a sailor adrift at sea. It is the actor’s first acting Globes nomination since 1965.
There was disappointment for Lee Daniels’ blockbuster drama ‘The Butler’. The movie has been racking up awards but failed to get any Golden Globe nominations. Starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, it was considered a strong contender.
“No nominations for ‘The Butler’ could surprise a lot of people, but I’m not really surprised, because the movie went out a long time ago, and in the meantime there was a lot of buzz about ’12 Years a Slave’ as well as ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’. So basically, the fact that Nelson Mandela died completely changed the whole perspective,” explained entertainment journalist Ramzi Malouki.
Justin Chadwick’s biopic ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’ was probably the real surprise, with outsider Idris Elba making his way into the Best Actor category.
And in the Foreign-language Film category, this year’s Palme d’Or, ‘La vie d’Adèle’, will be competing with award-winners ‘La Grande Belleza’ and ‘The Hunt’, Iranian movie ‘The Past’ and animated Japanese film ‘The Wind Rises’.
A leading indicator for the Oscars, the Golden Globes will be handed out in Beverly Hills on January 12.