The film Seabiscuit, the true story of the horse of the same name, has achieved fantastic success in the Oscar nominations. The film has been nominated in seven different categories, including best picture, despite the fact that it was released in June last year with little Oscar buzz.

Gary Ross’ film adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling novel, tells the story of a small, spirited racehorse, who emerges as a national hero when he becomes a racing phenomenon while America is in the grip of depression in the 1930s.

Seabiscuit’s story brings together the lives of three men – owner Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper), and jockey Red Pollard (Toby Maguire) – whose united belief in the horse’s potential changes all of their lives.

The film had a disappointing showing in the Bafta nominations, not appearing a single time, and was unlucky at the Golden Globes, when neither of its two nominations — for best dramatic film and for William H. Macy as best supporting actor — held good.

The seven Oscar nominations come as something of a surprise to the film industry, although it was widely considered that by tying Seabiscuit’s Oscar campaign to the release of the DVD, Universal Pictures’ promotion of the film would have a far-reaching effect.

“We’re both thrilled and humbled at Seabiscuit’s continuing track record,” stated Stacey Snider, chairman of Universal Pictures. “From the beginning, this was a story that truly moved us. And we all feel that Gary wrote and directed an amazing film version of Laura’s inspired book.

“We believed Seabiscuit was a winner from the start, and it’s such a joy to see that belief borne out, first with the audiences, then with the critics, and now with the accolades this film has received from such esteemed organizations.”

The film’s large advertising campaign, believed to have cost up to $2.5 million, appears to have paid off. Nominations include best picture, writing (adapted screenplay), cinematography, art direction, sound, film editing and costume design.

“Obviously I feel great personally, best picture and the writing, but I really feel great that my entire crew was recognised,” said filmmaker Gary Ross. “To recognise everyone who worked so hard, helping me every day, would make any director proud.”