3 January 2014 9:00 AM, PST | backstage.com | See recent Backstage news »

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture “12 Years a Slave”The closest thing to a certainty this year, Steve McQueen’s slavery epic is both beautiful and chilling—and perfectly cast. Eschewing sympathy for empathy and refusing to let the audience off the hook, that many of McQueen’s cast made us hate them was impressive; that we couldn’t look away was astounding. “American HustleDavid O. Russell reteamed with a lot of his former stars for this con comedy set in the 1970s, and the ease of reuniting shows in the final product. Christian Bale and Amy Adams do inspired work as a grifter couple, while Bradley Cooper brilliantly subverts his sex symbol image and Jennifer Lawrence turns in an atypically toxic performance. Getting movie stars to share the screen equally is tricky, but “American Hustle” succeeded admirably. “August: Osage County”An all-star cast doesn’t »

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