By Collin Ward, Staff Writer
Nominees for Hollywood’s highest honor, the Oscars, were announced this past week.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Birdman” are the leaders of the pack, each scoring nine Oscar nominations.
Both films are nominated for Best Picture.
Joining “Grand Budapest” and “Birdman” in the Best Picture category are “American Sniper,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Whiplash,” “Selma,” “Boyhood,” and “The Imitation Game.”
“Imitation Game” scored eight nominations in total, including two for its stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightly for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, retrospectively.
The Best Actor category has been a hotly contested race all award season. In addition to Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, Steve Carell, and Bradley Cooper beat out the likes of Selma’s David Oyelowo and Jake Gyllenhaal for the prized five slots.
Best Supporting Actor fell exactly how it has been all season with Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, Robert DuVall, and Ethan Hawke all scoring nominations and competing with odds on favorite J.K. Simmons.
Over on the actress side, the lead category boast some of the best working actress in Hollywood, Reese Witherspoon, Rosamund Pike, Felicity Jones, Marion Cotillard, and the seemingly unstoppable Julianne Moore for her work in “Still Alice”.
Emma Stone, Meryl Streep, Laura Dern, Keira Knightly, and “Boyhood’s” Patricia Arquette are all nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
“Boyhood” is nominated for six awards and seems to be the favorite to win the Best Picture Oscar as it won at The Golden Globes and The Critic’s Choice Awards this month.
The big surprise on nomination day was Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.” Nominated for six awards, Eastwood’s war blockbuster was previously shut out of The Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and The Critic’s Choice Awards, not scoring a single nomination in any major category, but with clear support by the academy and its unprecedented box office haul, it could be a serious contender.
It wouldn’t be The Oscars without a few snubs, and they did not disappoint this year.
The most glaring of snubs is the lack of nominations for “Selma.”
Yes, it did score a Best Picture nomination but the film’s only other nomination comes in the Best Original Song category.
David Oyelowo, who was nominated for a Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and British Academy Award for his portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. failed to receive the Oscar nomination.
Selma’s director, Ava DuVernay, could have been the first black female director to ever be nominated in the Best Director category but was shut out in favor of Morten Tyldum, Bennett Miller, Wes Anderson, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and Richard Linklater.
The exclusion of DuVernay and Oyelowo prompted the #OscarsSoWhite hash-tag to trend on twitter.
This is the first time since 1998 that all 20 of the acting nominees are white.
A few years ago, the Academy expanded its Best Picture category to allow up to 10 nominees. Their thought was that this would allow for blockbusters and fan favorites, such as “Interstellar” to get nominated. Christopher Nolan’s space flick was still snubbed even with the extra slots, which makes you wonder: Why is there even an expanded field?
David Fincher’s box office hit “Gone Girl” was virtually shut out, only scoring one well deserved nomination for its leading lady Rosamund Pike. The film, based on Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel of the same name, was praised by its fans for its adaptation to screen; yet Flynn herself, who wrote the screenplay, was unable to score a nomination in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
The other glaring omission is “The LEGO Movie” failing to earn a nomination for Best Animated Feature. Not only was it beloved by critics but also was the fourth-highest grossing film of 2014.
The 87th Annual Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 22 and will be broadcast live on ABC at 7:30pm (est.).
To see a full list of nominees go to Oscar.go.com