By ELIZABETH MARCELLINO
City News Service
BEVERLY HILLS — “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” led the pack of Oscar contenders Jan. 15 with nine nominations each for the 87th Academy Awards, with “The Imitation Game” following close behind with eight nods.
The other five best picture nominees are Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” “Boyhood;” “Selma;” “The Theory of Everything,” directed by James Marsh; and “Whiplash,” directed by Damien Chazelle. The academy’s process allows for up to 10 best picture nominees.
The 12-years-in-the-making drama “Boyhood,” the big winner at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, picked up six nominations, including a directing nod for Richard Linklater. Best picture hopeful “Selma,” which some had predicted would earn a shot at an Oscar for director Ava DuVernay, received just one other nomination — for its original song, “Glory.”
The lack of recognition for “Selma,” combined with the fact that no actors of color were nominated, drew quick criticism on social media sites.
DuVernay, however, took the high road, celebrating the best picture nod.
“Happy Birthday, Dr. King. An Oscar gift for you,” she tweeted, adding a shout-out to actor David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King Jr. in the film. Oprah Winfrey appeared in the film as a civil rights activist and is one of its four producers.
In addition to Linklater, director nods went to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for “Birdman,” Bennett Miller for “Foxcatcher,” Wes Anderson for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and Morten Tyldum for “The Imitation Game.”
“Birdman,” shot and edited to look as if it were captured in a single take, also garnered nominations in three acting categories, cinematography, original screenplay, sound editing and sound mixing.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” received no love for its actors, including Ralph Fiennes, who was an anticipated nominee for his lead role as a hotel concierge caught in a battle for a family fortune. The quirky tale, full of Anderson-esque details, was nominated for original screenplay, cinematography, costume design, production design, original score, film editing and makeup/hairstyling.
Michael Keaton picked up a nomination for his role as a one-time blockbuster superhero actor trying to revive his career on Broadway in “Birdman.”
“If there’s one word right now, it’s grateful,” Keaton told the Hollywood Reporter, saying his brother Paul called to tell him about the nomination.
Keaton was joined in the best actor category by Eddie Redmayne for his role as physicist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything;” Benedict Cumberbatch for his portrayal of British World War II codebreaker Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”; box-office favorite and now three-time nominee Bradley Cooper for “American Sniper;” and Steve Carell for his transformation into millionaire murderer John du Pont in “Foxcatcher.”
All but Cooper are first-time Oscar nominees. Keaton and Redmayne both took home prizes at the recent Golden Globe Awards.
Carell took to Twitter to thank the Academy for “such a great honor,” while Cooper told the Hollywood Reporter his nomination was a tribute to Chris Kyle, the late Navy Seal that Cooper portrays. Cumberbatch said in a statement to various media outlets that calling his parents about the nomination was “one of the proudest moments of my life.”
Best actress nominees are Julianne Moore for her role as a linguistics professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in “Still Alice;” 2008 Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard for her portrayal of a young mother fighting to keep her job in the Belgian film “Two Days, One Night;” Felicity Jones for her work opposite Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything;” Rosamund Pike as the murderous wife in “Gone Girl;” and Reese Witherspoon for her soul-searching role in the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild.”
Witherspoon previously took home an Oscar for her performance in “Walk The Line.” Moore, now a five-time Oscar nominee, won a Golden Globe Jan. 11.
Cotillard, who failed to make the lists of many Oscar prognosticators, told the Hollywood Reporter she had “made fun of people who would think I had a chance to be nominated, and I honestly, genuinely thought they were out of their mind. I’m in shock.”
Actresses scoring nominees for supporting roles were first-timers Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood” and Emma Stone for “Birdman,” along with Laura Dern for “Wild,” Keira Knightley for “The Imitation Game” and Meryl Streep for “Into the Woods.” This is Streep’s 19th nomination. She has won three Oscars.
Supporting actors garnering nominations were 84-year-old Oscar-winner Robert Duvall for “The Judge,” four-time nominee Ethan Hawke for “Boyhood,” Ed Norton for “Birdman,” Mark Ruffalo for “Foxcatcher” and first-time nominee J.K. Simmons for “Whiplash.”
Best foreign-language films nominated were “Ida” (Poland), “Leviathan” (Russia), “Tangerines” (Estonia), “Timbuktu” (Mauritania) and “Wild Tales” (Argentina).
Adapted screenplays that will compete for the golden statuette are “American Sniper,” “The Imitation Game,” “Inherent Vice,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash.” “The Theory of Everything” was deemed ineligible for competition for a Writers Guild of America award.
Original screenplays nominated are “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “Foxcatcher,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Nightcrawler.”
The Oscar nominees for best animated feature film are “Big Hero 6,” “The Boxtrolls,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Song of the Sea” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.”
Original songs vying for the Oscar statuette are “Glory” (from “Selma”), “Lost Stars” (“Begin Again”), “Everything Is Awesome” (“The Lego Movie”), “Grateful” (“Beyond the Lights”) and “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (“Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me”).
Both the leading films – “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — are Fox Searchlight pictures. The studio also distributed “Wild,” and the three films together bagged a total of 20 nominations. Sony Pictures Classics was another big studio winner, with 18 nominations for “Foxcatcher,” “Whiplash,” “Mr. Turner,” “Still Alice,” documentary feature “The Salt of the Earth” and foreign films “Leviathan” and “Wild Tales.” Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken” earned three nominations for cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing.
The Oscars will be presented Feb. 22 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, with Neil Patrick Harris hosting.