Two stories of America — one about its sometimes perverse capacity for reinvention, the other about the most tragic period in the country’s history — were among the leaders Thursday for the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards.

“American Hustle,” a story about con artists based loosely on the late 1970s Abscam scandal, tied for the lead with 10 nominations. The movie was nominated in several major categories, including picture, director (David O. Russell), actor (Christian Bale), actress (Amy Adams), supporting actor (Bradley Cooper), supporting actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and adapted screenplay.

And “12 Years a Slave,” based on Solomon Northup’s 19th-century narrative about being taken from freedom into slavery, earned nine nods, including picks for best picture, best director (Steve McQueen), best actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), best supporting actor (Michael Fassbender) and best supporting actress (Lupita Nyong’o).

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