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American Hustle (shown)
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Saving Mr. Banks
Dallas Buyers Club
It was a two-way race between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity — until both were hit by the swinging ’70s. The disco-era con-artist saga American Hustle came on very strong late in the season, and is now a lock for a nomination and the film some voters think could take the big prize. EW’s top five includes those films, plus Nebraska and Her, but there could be as many as 10 nominees. (Remember, according to Academy rules, at least 5 percent of voters need to rank a film No. 1 on their ballots for it to make the cut. Being everyone’s No. 4 choice isn’t enough.) The Wolf of Wall Street has bitterly divided voters, but still probably has enough support to secure a nomination, along with Saving Mr. Banks and Captain Phillips. If there ends up being a ninth or 10th slot, the smaller but passionate fan bases of Dallas Buyers Club and Philomena make them the likeliest candidates.
Wild-Card Contender: Inside Llewyn Davis
The big question mark this year is the Coen brothers’ folk-music dramedy Inside Llewyn Davis. It has won a lot of critics’ awards but hasn’t fared well in the guild contests, where Joel and Ethan Coen are traditionally favorites. This is a movie a lot of people just don’t get, although some absolutely adore it. The weighted ballot rewards enthusiasm, so if the list does go to 10, Davis could sneak in.
Image Credit: Francois Duhamel
February 21 2014 — 12:00 AM EST