Oscars 2014: who are this year’s best actress, actor and film nominee contenders?

From The Wolf of Wall Street to 12 Years a Slave, Tom Hanks to Sandra Bullock - which films and stars will be on everyone's lips come awards season?

American Hustle 


It’s the Oscar nominee dream team. Last year’s best actress success story Jennifer Lawrence is back, with her Silver Linings Playbook co-star and director, plus 2013 Oscar nominee Amy Adams. 

David O Russell’s American Hustle, based on the true story of the 80s Abscam operation, could just follow in Silver Lining’s footsteps, and maybe even better it – Silver Linings only won one of it’s many nominations, remember.

According to those in the know, Christian Bale is definitely in the running for best actor while multiple-time nominee Amy Adams is in with a chance of bagging a best actress nod too. A supporting actress nomination is looking extremely likely for Lawrence, who might just find herself in the holding her second Oscars statue later this year.

Actors and actresses, aside. This movie is likely to get lucky when it comes to costume, hair and make up. Have you seen Bradley Cooper’s curls?

12 Years a Slave

The memoir of Solomon Northup, a free man and talented violin player who was sold into slavery, 12 Years a Slave is bound to be recognised in some capacity at this year’s Academy Awards. 

A lot of people will have their fingers crossed for the film’s leading man, British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. A spot on the best actor shortlist would be well deserved for him. The movie has some serious star power behind it though, with appearances from Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch, so there will be plenty of famous faces vying for recognition. 

Meanwhile, director Steve McQueen might find himself up for best director, while the film is almost a dead cert for best picture. 

The Wolf of Wall Street

Production delays didn’t stop the Oscar buzz when it came to The Wolf of Wall Street. Which had probably got something to do with the film’s leading man Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars as Jordan Belford, a real-life wall street stockbroker who was investigated for fraud.

When it comes to the Oscars, DiCaprio will no doubt have his fingers crossed for a best actor nod, while Scorsese will be gunning for best picture. Matthew McConaughey (who might be up for best supporting), (a very funny) Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie also star. 


The nature of Alfonso Cuaron’s deep-space thriller means that stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock filmed most of it in front of a green screen. Praise for the film has been nothing but positive, with emphasis being put on the use of 3D and visual effects, so it’ll be a surprise if it doesn’t dominate the technical categories. 

Cuaron will be hoping for a best director nod while Sandra Bullock could find herself nominated in the best actress category for a performance that has wowed critics

August: Osage County

If rumours are to be believed, Meryl Streep is likely to find herself on the best actress list for this family saga from director John Wells. And not for the first time. Streep holds the record for the most Academy Award nominations, having been nominated an impressive 17 times. 

August: Osage County stars Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch and Abigail Breslin. Roberts might fancy her chances as best supporting, but writer Tracy Letts and producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov (who worked on last year’s winner Argo) could be in with a chance too. 

Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett leads this serious Woody Allen film about Jasmine, a rich socialite whose marriage melts down. Finding herself penniless and homeless she moves in with her adopted sister in San Francisco and attempts to start a new life. Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins and Bobby Cannavale also star. 

Allen’s a 15-time nominee but he might just get himself another here. You’d be wise to look out for Blanchett’s name on the best actress list, too.  


Who can resist a bit of Judi Dench? Team her with Steve Coogan and you must surely be on to a winner. Stephen Frears’ Philomena follows the story of journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) as he helps the now middle-aged Philomena try to find out what happened to the child who has forcibly taken from her when she was a young woman in Ireland.

The small-scale British flick has the potential to follow in the footsteps of The Queen (Frears directed that, too) and The King’s Speech. Four-time nominee Judi Dench has been tipped to get a best actress nod but Coogan’s got a real chance here too. He wrote, produced and acted in Philomena, so he’s got good odds of gaining recognition from the Academy on one of those fronts. 

Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks’s latest film casts him as the captain of an American cargo ship which is boarded by Somali pirates.

The tense retelling of 2009’s real-life hijacking of the Maersk Alabamaevent looks to be steaming towards awards season. 

Hanks is a likely contender for best actor – and about time too. The double Oscar winner will be feeling left out, not having been nominated since 2001’s Cast Away – and Captain Phillips might just get a nod for adapted screenplay. 

Saving Mr Banks

Captain Phillips isn’t the only Oscar contender Tom Hanks is starring in this year. Saving Mr Banks tells the story behind the making of Disney’s Mary Poppins, with Hanks playing Walt Disney himself. 

Emma Thompson – surely a definite best actress nominee? – is the true star of this flick though. She plays PL Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, who battled with Disney for 16 years before granting him permission to turn it into the all-singing, all-dancing film we know and love today. 

We all know Hollywood loves movies about… well, Hollywood. But it remains to be seen whether this film can win itself a place in the best picture category. 

Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey transformed his appearance to star as Ron Woodroof, a cowboy who was diagnosed as HIV positive, in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club. 

The film, which also stars Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner, tells the true-life story of Woodroof, who began smuggling unapproved drugs into America to help AIDs patients get the medication they needed during the 1980s. 

The tale has been deemed remarkable and astonishing by film critics and is likely to see McConaughey and Leto receive nods at the Academy Awards for best actor and best supporting actor. As a film Dallas Buyers Club has bagged itself a number of accolades so far, too, so it might even see itself in the best picture category. 


The Butler 

Historical drama Lee Daniels’ The Butler charts the notable events of the 20th century and the black rights movement through the eyes of The White House butler Cecil Gaines, played by Forrest Whittaker. 

Since it’s release the film has garnered mainly positive reviews. Potential nominations could come from Whittaker, Oprah Winfrey, who stars as Cecil’s wife Gloria, and David Oyelowo, who plays their son Louis. 


Joaquin Phoenix stars alongside Rooney Mara, Scarlett Johansson and Amy Adams (again) in this arty Spike Jonze film about a recently separated writer who falls for the female voice on a newly purchased operating system that is designed to meet his every need.

Her might make it onto the best picture shortlist and best original screenplay, while Johansson could get a nod (if a a voice can win an Oscar..?)


Shot in black and white, Nebraska tells the tale of an old man who travels from Montana to Nebraska because he believes he’s won $1million. 

Bruce Dern and June Squibb are in with a chance of nominations, for best actor and best supporting actress, while the film might find itself on the best picture and best original screenplay shortlist. 

Inside Llewyn Davis 

The Coen brothers document one week in the life of fictional folk singer Llewyn Davis as he navigates the music scene of New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1961. 

The film, which stars Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman and Justin Timberlake, is looking like a likely candidate for the best picture shortlist.