The Oscar nominations were announced today, and while Hollywood favorites American Hustle and Gravity dominated the field with 10 nominations each, including best picture and best director, 12 Years a Slave was running right on their heels with nine nominations.
The critically acclaimed historical film was nominated in five of the major categories: best picture, best leading actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), best director (Steve McQueen), best adapted screenplay (John Ridley), best supporting actress (Lupita Nyong’o) and best supporting actor (Michael Fassbender).
However, nominations don't always lead to wins, as the Golden Globes demonstrated, when 12 Years a Slave won only one out of its seven nominations. None of its actors walked away with a Golden Globes award, even though many critics considered Ejiofor and Nyong’o shoo-ins in their respective categories.
The feel-good story of this year's announcements is Captain Phillips' first-time actor Barkhad Abdi's nomination for best supporting actor. The big break for the Somali former limousine driver from Minneapolis came after he answered a casting call he heard about one day while watching TV.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the film adaptation of the book that chronicles the life of the former president of South Africa, received only a nod in the major categories, securing a nomination for best original song for U2's "Ordinary Love."
Lee Daniels' The Butler and Oprah Winfrey's performance in that film were once again shut out, as they were in the Golden Globes, not earning a single nomination.
Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted the Oscars in 2007, returns this year to emcee the event, which will be shown live on ABC, March 2.
You can see the entire list of nominations for all categories here.