<p>&quot;American Hustle&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;&nbsp;each picked up 13 nominations from the Broadcast Film&nbsp;Critics Association.</p>

"American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave" each picked up 13 nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Credit: Sony Pictures/Fox Searchlight

'American Hustle' and '12 Years a Slave' lead Critics' Choice Movie Awards nominations

Dubious genre categories again provide the opportunity to bait movie stars

So yes, the headline is that "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave" led this morning's Critics's Choice Movie Awards nominations (courtesy of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, of which I am a member). But when you stop and analyze the list, it's worth pointing out that three of "Hustle's" 13 nominations came in the "comedy" categories that were added along with a few other dubious genre fields by the group last year in order to land more high-profile attendees to the annual awards show. "12 Years" had no such padding from a genre bump, so it's really the dominant force here and I expect it to carry through to a win next month as it continues to be the critics' choice region-to-region for the year's best film.

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Credit: A24

Roundup: Why an Oscar for James Franco is no laughing matter

Also: The expansion of the Academy, and the best hair in 'American Hustle'

Since James Franco started popping up on critics' awards lists -- most notably with that tied LAFCA win -- for his off-the-wall performance in "Spring Breakers," I've noticed a lot of readers dismissing him as a "joke" contender. (Isn't that the inside-the-box thinking for which we usually chastise voters?) But while A24 has been appropriately playful with their campaign, it's no joke to them, nor to Franco himself. He talks to Mark Olsen: "Honestly, I don't know why people say, 'Really? Is this a real campaign?' I'm an Academy voter. I've been nominated for an Oscar. I'm more proud of this performance than anything that I've done ... I've been working in this industry for 16 years. I know when I'm a part of something that's cutting edge. I want to go out and say yeah … consider it."  [LA Times]

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<p>Alfonso Cuar&oacute;n directs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on the set of &quot;Gravity.&quot;</p>

Alfonso Cuarón directs George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on the set of "Gravity."

Credit: Warner Bros.

'12 Years a Slave' tops with San Francisco critics, but 'Gravity' wins four

And James Franco picks up another critics award

Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" was a big favorite with the San Francisco Film Critics Circle this year, picking up four awards from the group including Best Director. But it was "12 Years a Slave" that the group named Best Picture of the year. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Cate Blanchet took top acting honors, while James Franco nabbed his second prize of the critics circuit. "American Hustle" won two awards, for Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and Best Original Screenplay. Check out the nominees here, the full list of winners below and the rest of the season's craziness at The Circuit.

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<p>Peter O'Toole at the 2002 Academy Awards.</p>

Peter O'Toole at the 2002 Academy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

On the curious nobility of Peter O'Toole's unlucky Oscar history

The late Irish actor holds the record for most nominations without winning
“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride – my foot!” said Peter O’Toole, somewhat mischievously, as he accepted his Honorary Oscar from Meryl Streep at the 2002 Academy Awards. “I have my very own Oscar now to be with me until death us do part.”

 It was a speech of twinkly good grace from the Irish actor, then 70 years old – seasoned enough, in other words, to know that an Oscar is nice and all, but not so important that it can’t be left behind at the pearly gates. But it was also delivered with a kind of good-humored resignation. O’Toole may have been several years off retirement – and there was one more near-brush with victory still in his future -- but he seemed to know he’d never win a competitive Oscar. More to the point, he seemed to know there was nothing more to be gained from winning one, if indeed there ever had been. O’Toole’s charm, on screen and off, so often lay in being the guy just outside the inner circle.

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<p>Chiwetel Ejiofor in &quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;</p>

Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave"

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'12 Years a Slave' wins four from Houston film critics

The steamroll through the regional critics awards continues

Also handing out awards today was the Houston Film Critics Society. The group also went with "12 Years a Slave," bringing the film's Best Picture tally up to seven, for those keeping score at home. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sandra Bullock picked up top acting honors, while Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o maintained their impressive dominance in the supporting ranks. Check out the nominees here and the full list of winners below. And, again, keep track at The Circuit.

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<p>Sandra Bullock in &quot;Gravity&quot;</p>

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity"

Credit: Warner Bros.

'12 Years a Slave' wins big with Kansas City film critics

Sandra Bullock picks up some Best Actress steam

The Kansas City Film Critics Circle has tapped Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" as the year's best, falling in line with a number of regional critics as of late. The film dominated the group's choices, also picking up wins for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. The group added a little more intrigue in the Best Actress field, though, by giving "Gravity" star Sandra Bullock her second critics award of the day (following Houston earlier this afternoon). Check out the full list of winners below, and as always, be sure to keep track of the season via The Circuit.

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Gregory Ellwood's top 10 films of 2013

Gregory Ellwood's top 10 films of 2013

Films with iconic and haunting images rule the year

Another year, another top 10 list. This one, however, will be slightly different than previous installments.

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<p>Johnny&nbsp;Depp sports his aged Tonto makeup on the set of &quot;The Lone Ranger&quot;</p>

Johnny Depp sports his aged Tonto makeup on the set of "The Lone Ranger"

Credit: Make-Up Artist Magazine

'American Hustle,' 'Bad Grandpa' and 'The Lone Ranger' among Oscar makeup and hairstyling finalists

'The Hobbit' and 'Rush' fail to make the cut

The Academy has announced this year's bake-off finalists for the Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar, and the big omissions appear to be Ron Howard's "Rush" and Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." But the Jackass boys have cause for celebration!

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<p>An image of hope from the trailer for Christopher Nolan's &quot;Interstellar&quot;</p>

An image of hope from the trailer for Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar"

Credit: Warner Bros.

'One year from now,' will we be talking about 'Interstellar' in the Oscar race?

The trailer for Christopher Nolan's latest hit today and it has something to say

The teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan's first foray into filmmaking with the "Dark Knight" trilogy firmly in his rear view mirror landed today, and it's certainly a tease. Fleeting images of America's space race populate it, from Bell X-1 aircraft dropping into the atmosphere for collision course with the sound barrier to Walter Cronkite removing his glasses in awed disbelief after Neil Armstrong, the alien, set foot on the moon. Matthew McConaughey's voice over reflects a world that has left that innovation behind, and with it, the spirit to achieve wonders.

This is a thematic thread I'm very, very interested in, and where once "Interstellar" was a genre curiosity — well, more than that, a sci-fi excursion I was very much looking forward to from an immensely talented commercial filmmaker and a charismatic, revived leading man fronting an amazing cast — it has now taken on a whole new hue for me. This could be an extremely meaningful portrait at a time when NASA is seemingly funded just enough to keep the lights on, when that eagerness to "make the unknown known" has given way to global concerns that are often times necessary, others merely a distraction.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave."
Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave."
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'12 Years a Slave' leads San Francisco Film Critics Circle nods

'Wolf of Wall Street' lands some top mentions

Another nomination list, another leading haul for "12 Years a Slave." This time, it's the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, and Steve McQueen's film receives nine nods. It's not an especially inventive list, but it's a solid one: nice to see the stars of "Blue is the Warmest Color" rack up another mention, while those of you rooting for "The Wolf of Wall Street" will be pleased to note nominations for Best Picture, Director and Actor. Perhaps the least expected mention: Harrison Ford's supporting actor nod for "42." That dogged FYC campaign finally yields some fruit. Winners will be announced on Sunday. 

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