The searing historical epic 12 Years a Slave and the con-artist caper American Hustle lead the 71st annual Golden Globes with seven nominations each.
The nominations announced Thursday morning by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association suggested American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave may be this year's Oscar favorites. Hailed by critics as the movies' most unblinking portrait of slavery, 12 Years a Slave verified its front-runner status with nominations including best film drama, Chiwetel Ejiofor for best actor in a drama and Steve McQueen for best director.
American Hustle dominated on the Globes' other category side: comedy or musical. The fictionalized story of the FBI's Abscam investigation in the late 1970s earned nominations for best movie comedy, Christian Bale for best actor in a comedy, Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress in a comedy and David O. Russell for best director.
Also in the mix are Alexander Payne's father-son road trip Nebraska, with five nominations, including best actor for Bruce Dern. The space odyssey Gravity earned four nominations, as did the Somali pirate thriller Captain Phillips.
This year's comedy competition could be the strongest field ever for the Globes. Aside from American Hustle, the group includes Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, Alexander Payne's Nebraska, Spike Jonze's Her and the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis.
The last film of 2013 to screen, Scorsese's three-hour financial industry extravaganza had been one of the biggest question marks this awards season. Along with the best picture nomination, it earned one for Leonardo DiCaprio's leading performance.
Along with 12 Years a Slave, the dramatic best picture category was rounded out by Captain Phillips, `'Gravity, `'Philomena and Rush. Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, which also received a nomination for Sandra Bullock, will surely benefit more from the Academy Awards' technical categories, which the Globes don't honor.
Most notably shutout was Lee Daniels' The Butler, the Civil Rights history told through a long-serving White House butler played by Forest Whitaker.
The awards and their boozy telecast are known for a desire to attract stars, even if their films aren't quite up to snuff. (It will be a long time before the HFPA lives down its nominations for Johnny Depp's The Tourist. ) This year's ceremony on Jan. 12 will again be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Last year's telecast saw a bump in viewership to 19.7 million.
The last two years, one of the Globes' best-picture winners went on to top the Academy Awards. Last year, the Globes awarded Ben Affleck's Argo best picture for drama. The year before that, the silent film ode The Artist won best picture for a comedy.
List of nominees
-- Picture, Drama: 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena, Rush.
-- Picture, Musical or Comedy: American Hustle, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, The Wolf of Wall Street.
-- Actor, Drama: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave ; Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom ; Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips ; Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club ; Robert Redford, All Is Lost.
-- Actress, Drama: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine ; Sandra Bullock, Gravity ; Judi Dench, Philomena ; Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks ; Kate Winslet, Labor Day.
-- Director: Alfonso Curon, Gravity ; Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips ; Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave ; Alexander Payne, Nebraska ; David O. Russell, American Hustle.
-- Actor, Musical or Comedy: Christian Bale, American Hustle ; Bruce Dern, Nebraska ; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street ; Joaquin Phoenix, Her.
-- Actress, Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams, American Hustle ; Julie Delpy, Before Midnight ; Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha ; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said ; Meryl Streep, August: Osage County.
-- Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips ; Daniel Bruhl, Rush ; Bradley Cooper, American Hustle ; Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave ; Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.
-- Supporting Actress: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine ; Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle ; Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave ; Julia Roberts, August: Osage County ; June Squibb, Nebraska.
-- Foreign Language: Blue Is the Warmest Color, The Great Beauty, The Hunt, The Past, The Wind Rises.
-- Animated Film: The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Frozen.
-- Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her ; Bob Nelson, Nebraska ; Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan, Philomena ; John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave ; Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American Hustle.
-- Original Score: Alex Ebert, All Is Lost ; Alex Heffes, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom ; Steven Price, Gravity ; John Williams, The Book Thief ; Hans Zimmer, 12 Years a Slave.
-- Original Song: Atlas (music and lyrics by Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ; Let it Go (music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez), Frozen ; Ordinary Love (music by Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. and Brian Burton, lyrics by Bono), Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom ; Please Mr. Kennedy (music and lyrics by Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen), Inside Llewyn Davis ; Sweeter Than Fiction (music and lyrics by Taylor Swift and Jack Antonoff), One Chance.
-- Series, Drama: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Masters of Sex.
-- Actor, Drama: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad ; Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan ; Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex ; Kevin Spacey, House of Cards.
-- Actress, Drama: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife ; Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black ; Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black ; Kerry Washington, Scandal ; Robin Wright, House of Cards.
-- Series, Musical or Comedy: The Big Bang Theory, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Girls, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation.
-- Actress, Musical or Comedy: Zooey Deschanel, New Girl ; Lena Dunham, Girls ; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie ; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep ; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation.
-- Actor, Musical or Comedy: Jason Bateman, Arrested Development ; Don Cheadle, House of Lies ; Michael J. Fox, The Michael J. Fox Show ; Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory ; Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
-- Miniseries or Movie: American Horror Story: Coven, Behind the Candelabra, Dancing on the Edge, Top of the Lake, White Queen.
-- Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor ; Rebecca Ferguson, White Queen ; Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven ; Helen Mirren, Phil Spector ; Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake.
-- Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Matt Damon, Behind the Candelabra ; Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra ; Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge ; Idris Elba, Luther ; Al Pacino, Phil Spector.
-- Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge ; Janet McTeer, White Queen ; Hayden Panettiere, Nashville ; Monica Potter, Parenthood ; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family.
-- Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Josh Charles, The Good Wife ; Rob Lowe, Behind the Candelabra ; Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad ; Corey Stoll, House of Cards ; Jon Voight, Ray Donovan.