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12 Years A Slave set for Oscar nod

Chiwetel Ejiofor is a strong contender for an Oscar nomination: Photo © 12 Years A Slave set for Oscar nod Photo

Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave is expected to lead the UK charge for Oscar glory when the Academy Award nominations are announced today.

The film, which has already picked up 10 Bafta n ominations, was crowned best movie drama at the Golden Globes earlier this week.

Its stars, including Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, are strong contenders to be nominated, as is McQueen himself.

But the film, based on the true story of a free New Yorker kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south of the United States, faces competition from crime caper American Hustle and space drama Gravity.

Bookmakers William Hill said it had seen a flurry of bets for American Hustle, which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale, and have made it second favourite for the Best Picture Oscar behind 12 Years A Slave.

It has also shortened the odds on Dallas Buyers Club star Matthew McConaughey winning the Best Actor Oscar, although Ejiofor is still favourite.

A spokesman for William Hill said: " Just a fortnight ago we thought that 12 Years A Slave and Chi wetel were certainties for Oscar glory but the latest gamble suggests that may just not be the case."

Other possible nominees include Dame Judi Dench for her role in Philomena, which is based on the true story of a woman's search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption in 1950s Ireland.

The film could also pick up a nomination for her co-star S teve Coogan, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work on the film's screenplay.

Previous Oscar winners Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet could all be nominated again.

Other films expected to attract the Academy's attention include Martin Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street, modern-day pirate drama Captain Phillips and Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom, which stars Luther actor Idris Elba as the South African leader.

The nominations will be announced by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth and Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in Beverley Hills later today.

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