The con-artist comedy "American Hustle and the 3-D space odyssey "Gravity" led the Academy Award nominations Thursday morning with 10 each, including nods for best picture.
Though much of the awards season to date seemed to be a contest between Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle," the Sandra Bullock flick "Gravity" emerged Thursday as a top Oscar contender.
"12 Years a Slave" narrowly trailed "Gravity" and "American Hustle" with a total of nine nominations.
Nine films were nominated for best picture. The other nominees are "12 Years a Slave," ''Captain Phillips," ''Dallas Buyers Club," ''Her," ''Nebraska," ''The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Philomena."
The most notable omission by the academy was Tom Hanks, whose lead performance in "Captain Phillips" was widely considered a shoo-in. Robert Redford, expected by many to be nominated for the shipwreck drama "All Is Lost," also missed out on a best actor nod. Redford has never won an acting Oscar.
Disney's making-of "Mary Poppins" tale "Saving Mr. Banks" also failed to land either a best picture nomination or a best actress nod for Emma Thompson.
The Best Lead Actress nominees included Amy Adams, for "American Hustle"; Cate Blanchett, for "Blue Jasmine"; Sandra Bullock, for "Gravity"; Judi Dench, for "Philomena"; and Meryl Streep, for "August: Osage County".
Nominees in the Best Lead Actor category included Christian Bale, for "American Hustle"; Bruce Dern, for "Nebraska"; Leonardo DiCaprio, for "The Wolf of Wall Street"; Chiwetel Ejiofor, for "12 Years a Slave"; and Matthew McConaughey, for "Dallas Buyers Club.”
With her Lead Actress nomination, Streep pads her record for most acting nominations. This is her 18th nod, including three wins, the last for 2011's "The Iron Lady."
Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" came into Thursday as one of the biggest question marks of an awards season that has often left many guessing. The nearly three-hour Wall Street extravaganza of money, sex and drugs became a lightning rod of debate, with many questioning whether it glamorized the infamous trader Jordan Belfort.
But "The Wolf of Wall Street" landed big nominations: best picture, best actor (DiCaprio), best director (Scorsese, his eighth for directing) and best supporting actor (Jonah Hill).
Also doing well Thursday were Spike Jonze's futuristic romance "Her" (five nominations, including best original screenplay for Jonze), and Alexander Payne's black-and-white road trip "Nebraska" (six nominations, including best director for Payne).
This year's Academy Awards telecast on March 2, with Ellen DeGeneres hosting for the second time, has particular pressure on it to live up to the increasingly popular Golden Globes. With hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, ratings for the Globes have increased the last two years and drawn good reviews. The Academy Awards have meanwhile struggled to freshen up its more prestigious brand.
The Associated Press contributed to this report