When Academy Awards nominations came out on Wednesday morning, most pundits noticed immediately that they were lacking the usual left-field touch. Last year saw French drama Amour pick up a best picture Oscar nod, along with lead actress Emmanuelle Riva. In 2012, Demian Bichir got a best actor nomination for the little-seen A Better Life. But this year's nominees are almost eerily mainstream.

NebraskaBruce Dern [L] Has Picked Up A Nomination for 'Best Actor' at the Oscars

That's not to say there weren't a few surprises. Gravity and 12 Years a Slave were expected to get the most nominations (they got 10 each), with American Hustle, Her and Nebraska. But the unexpected inclusion of Philomena and Dallas Buyers Club pushed out awards-season favourites Inside Llewyn Davis and Fruitvale Station. Read our reviews for 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, and American Hustle.

In the acting categories, Christian Bale managed to nab the best actor nomination that was expected to go to Tom Hanks, while Judi Dench bumped out Emma Thompson in a crowded best actress category.

And while the Coen brothers' acclaimed Inside Llewyn Davis had to settle for two nods (cinematography and sound mixing), several award-winning films failed to get any notice at all, including the reigning Palme d'Or champ Blue Is the Warmest Colour, Pixar's Monsters University, the award-winning documentaries Stories We Tell and Blackfish, and Lee Daniels' frankly over-rated The Butler.

Watch the trailer for 12 Years a Slave:

On the other hand, it's great to see David O. Russell once again score nominations in the top seven categories with American Hustle (just as he did with Silver Linings Playbook last year). And with such high-profile nominees, predicting the winners might not be as easy as it usually is.