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Oscars: The Biggest Snubs of the Night

In a nail-biting photo finish, “12 Years a Slave” was crowned best picture of the 86th Academy Awards, besting the night’s most popular film, “Gravity,” which won a total of seven awards.

But that wasn’t the only eyebrow-raising moment of the night.

In a year in which several front-runners were established months ago, such as Cate Blanchett and Jared Leto, there were several notable omissions Sunday night in Hollywood.

Gravity” loses picture, despite love for Cuaron: Director Alfonso Cuaron, who shared the film editing kudo with Mark Sanger, was the heavy favorite to win for helming “Gravity” — in fact, it would have been a seismic snub had he not won.

It was an inevitable outcome even though “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” entered the Oscars with plenty of awards season heat behind them. And even as the night progressed, there was little clarification as to which film would walk away the big winner since “Gravity,” which won seven Oscars, was expected to win the majority of its technical nods. It did — with six below-the-line awards including both sound categories, original score, cinematography, visual effects and film editing.

That said, it’s uncommon for the Oscar picture and director categories to diverge, making this year the 23rd time it’s happened, including last year, though “Argo” director Ben Affleck was not even nominated (an even greater rarity). “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen did win as co-producer, however.

American Hustle” shut-out: The night’s biggest shut-out went to “American Hustle,” which went 0 for 10 — its greatest chance for a win in the original screenplay category ultimately went to Spike Jonze, who won for “Her.”

Though the “American Hustle” shut-out likely stung, it wasn’t completely unexpected since none of the actors were frontrunners (except for possibly Lawrence ) and most of the below-the-line categories succumbed to the weight of “Gravity.” In fact, the night offered few surprises as frontrunners Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett won in the lead acting categories, while Jared Leto not surprisingly won supporting actor for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Losing to McConaughey and Blanchett, respectively, Leonardo DiCaprio and Amy Adams are now 0-9 collectively.

Sorry, J-Law: Lupita Nyong’o, who triumphed over “American Hustle’s” Jennifer Lawrence in the supporting actress category, provided hope mid-way through for the “12 Years a Slave” camp. The film gained momentum after scribe John Ridley won for adapted screenplay (the film’s only three wins, including best picture).

Animated short stunner: The first surprise of the night came in the animated short category where French film “Mr. Hublot” beat out the Disney favorite-to-win “Get a Horse!” (Not surprisingly, “Frozen,” which was preceded by “Get a Horse!” in theaters, won the Oscar for animated feature.)

Other notable disses: Among the other films going home empty-handed were “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “Captain Phillips” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The nominations were led by “Gravity” and “American Hustle,” 10 each; “12 Years a Slave,” nine; “Nebraska,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Captain Phillips,” six each; “Her” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” five each. So no records were set Sunday for shutouts. The records are for “The Turning Point” and “The Color Purple,” 11 noms each; and “Gangs of New York” and “True Grit”  (2010), 10 apiece. All went home empty-handed.

“American Hustle” joins only four other films in Oscar history to lose all 10 or more of its nominations, the latest being “True Grit” in 2010.

In Memoriam omissions: Among those not included in the In Memoriam segment were Dennis Farina and Jonathan Winters. French auteur Alain Resnais died Saturday, likely too late to be included.

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