Will ‘American Hustle’ go 0 for 10 at Oscars?

When Oscar nominations were announced,  “American Hustle” led the way (alongside “Gravity”) with 10 nods, leading many pundits to proclaim it the frontrunner for Oscar glory.

“Hustle” earned bids for Picture, Director (David O. Russell), Original Screenplay (Eric Warren Singer & Russell), Actor (Christian Bale), Actress (Amy Adams), Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) as well as three craft nods for Editing, Production Design and Costume Design.

Indeed, Russell outdid himself at the Oscars. These 10 bids top the eight earned last year by his film “Silver Linings Playbook” and the seven earned in 2010 by “The Fighter.” And he became the first director ever to make two movies which landed nominations in all four acting categories.

After all this good news, will there be bad news on Oscar night? Could “American Hustle” be shut out entirely? Last week, during one of our Editors’ slugfess, that very possibility was suggested. So, let’s delve a little deeper.

Best Picture
For Best Picture, “Hustle” may find it difficult to pull ahead in this three horse race. After winning Best Comedy/Musical at the Globes and claiming the Ensemble trophy at the SAG Awards, it appeared unstoppable. But then the PGA, in an unprecedented tie, bestowed its Best Picture prize on “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity.” All of a sudden, “Hustle” began to lose some of its shine, while “Gravity” and especially “12 Years a Slave” became much more formidable competition in the lead up to the Oscar voting period, which kicks off Feb. 14. I wouldn’t be banking on a win for “Hustle” here.

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”) was the overwhelming favourite when he claimed the DGA prize. This win puts him in pole position to take home the Best Director Oscar. In the 65-year history of the DGA awards, it’s winner has gone on to repeat at the Oscars an impressive 58 times. Although Russell on his third nomination might appear due for a win, it appears likely sit this one out again.

Best Original Screenplay
Last year, Russell lost Adapted Screenplay for “Silver Linings Playbook.” This year, he may finally claim an Oscar with a win (along with Eric Warren Singer) for Best Original Screenplay. If “Hustle” wins at the WGA (it leads the field with 5/6 odds at GoldDerby), then it will be the favourite at the Oscars. But look out for Spike Jonze’s “Her,” which is a strong contender, having won the combined screenplay prize at the Globes and racked up original screenplay wins at the Critics Choice Awards and from critics groups in Chicago, Detroit, Georgia, Kansas City, San Diego, St. Louis and Washington DC. Don’t be too surprised if Jonze steals this Oscar from under Russell’s nose.

The Actors
Unless there’s a monumental shift in momentum over the coming weeks, Bale, Adams and Cooper are not likely to win on Oscar night. However, Lawrence is still very much in the running for a second consecutive history-making win. Previous champ Bale (“The Fighter,” 2010) was a surprise nominee in the ultra-competitive Best Actor field, but is languishing in fifth place with 100/1 odds. Although we recently wondered whether Adams might win her first Oscar on her fifth nomination, the consensus appears to be that Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) has Best Actress all wrapped up. And Cooper is in a similar boat, as Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) is the clear frontrunner in Best Supporting Actor.

But Best Supporting Actress is less clear, as Lawrence — last year’s Oscar winner for Best Actress for Russell’s “Playbook” — is in a fierce battle with Lupita Nyongo (“12 Years a Slave”), currently leading the pack with 1/3 odds over Lawrence’s 4/1 odds. Nyongo recently won the all-important SAG Award, putting a dampener on Lawrence’s buzz post-Globes win.

The Crafts
Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, and Alan Baumgarten are currently in fourth place in our racetrack odds, suggesting that they are outsiders in the Best Editing race. Cassidy and Struthers were nominated last year too (for “Playbook”), but lost to William Goldenberg for “Argo.” Expect them to lose out to Cuaron and Mark Sanger for their “Gravity” achievement.

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In Best Production DesignJudy Becker and Heather Loeffler are trailing with fifth-place 50/1 odds. For Best Costume DesignMichael Wilkinson is faring far better with second-place 4/1 odds. However, they all face two-time Oscar champ Catherine Martin (alongside Beverly Dunn in Production Design) for her lauded creative achievement in husband Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby.” Wilkinson could pull out a surprise here as one of only two nominees from a film nominated for Best Picture. However, time and time again we’ve seen that in Costume Design it’s all about the most costumes. Indeed, if anything can knock out “Gatsby” it could be the lavish period costumes of “The Invisible Woman.

What do you think is going to win Best Picture? Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Come back and change your predictions as often as you like till Oscar night, March 2.

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