The most interesting aspect of the list of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards isn’t who’s on it, but who got left out.
As expected, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s Birdman, about a washed-up actor (Michael Keaton) trying to jump-start his career, and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, a whimsical action-adventure set over the course of three decades, led the pack with nine nominations apiece, including Best Picture and Best Director..
Close behind was The Imitation Game, the historical drama about Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), the British genius who cracked the Nazi code during World War II, with eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Clint Eastwood’s Iraq War drama American Sniper, about the life of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, snagged six nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Bradley Cooper. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which was shot over 12 years and depicted the transformation of a boy (Ellar Coltrane) into a young adult, earned six nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.
The Theory of Everything, the story of the marriage between physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife Jane (Felicity Jones), grabbed four nominations, including Best Actor and Best Actress. Also earning five mentions was the underdog Whiplash, the riveting story of the turbulent relationship between an aspiring drummer (Miles Teller) and his unforgiving teacher (J.K. Simmons), who is practically guaranteed to win Best Supporting Actor).
Most of those were expected. More surprising were the poor showings by the critically adored Selma, the story of the 1965 civil rights march, which landed only two nominations, for Best Song and a token Best Picture nod. David Oyelowo’s amazing performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and director Ava DuVernay came up empty, perhaps a victim of the controversy that arose around the film’s depiction of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
The box office hit Gone Girl snagged a single nomination, for Rosamund Pike as the wife who goes missing. The ingenious script by Gillian Flynn, who adapted her own novel, and the skillful direction by David Fincher went ignored. Although Foxcatcher, the story of the tragic relationship between two Olympic wrestlers and the billionaire who offered to sponsor them, fared better than expected with five nominations (including Best Actor for Steve Carell, Best Supporting Actor for Mark Ruffalo and Best Director for Bennett Miller), the movie didn’t crack the Best Picture category, a strong implication it will be shut out on awards night.
Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, the story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini and his capture by Japanese forces in World War II, caught on with audiences, grossing $102 million to date, but the film didn’t impress Academy voters, scoring only three nominations in technical categories including Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins, who has been nominated 11 times but has yet to win. Into the Woods, director Rob Marshall’s lavish adaptation of the Broadway fairy-tale musical, also had to settle for three nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Meryl Streep. Steve James’ Life Itself, a documentary portrait of the late film critic Roger Ebert, failed to crack the Best Documentary lineup. The wildly popular The LEGO movie was shut out of the Best Animated Feature category, but it did land a spot in the Best Song race for its insanely catchy tune Everything is Awesome.
Some happy surprises: Marion Cotillard landed a Best Actress nod for her portrayal of a woman desperately trying to save her job in the riveting French-language drama Two Days, One Night, which opens in Miami on Friday. Wild Tales, a compendium of stories about revenge tinged with dark humor, made the cut for Best Foreign Language film (the movie is scheduled to open Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival on March 6). Reese Witherspoon’s performance as a woman who tries to correct her life by going on an 1,100 mile hike in Wild made the Best Actress category. She will face off against front-runner Julianne Moore, who was nominated for her turn as a linguistics professor afflicted with Alzheimer’s in Still Alice.
Miami audiences will have the opportunity to catch one of the Best Documentary nominees: The Salt of the Earth, an exploration of the life and work of photographer Sebastião Salgado, will screen at the Miami International Film Festival.
Academy Awards Nominations
Below is a complete list of this year’s nominees. The winners will be unveiled during the Oscar telecast at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 22.
Best Picture: “American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Whiplash”
Best Director: Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman,” Richard Linklater, “Boyhood,” Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher,” Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night,” Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything,” Julianne Moore, “Still Alice,” Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl,” Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Best Actor: Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher,” Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper,” Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game,” Michael Keaton, “Birdman,” Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood,” Laura Dern, “Wild,” Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game,” Emma Stone, “Birdman,” Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Best Supporting Actor: Robert Duvall, “The Judge,” Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood,” Edward Norton, “Birdman,” Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher,” J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice,” Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash,” Jason Hall, “American Sniper,” Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything,” Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, “Foxcatcher,” Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler,” Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman,” Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Leviathan,” “Ida,” “Tangerines,” “Timbuktu,” “Wild Tales”
Best Documentary Feature: “Citizenfour,” “Finding Vivian Maier,” “Last Days in Vietnam,” “The Salt in the Earth,” “Virunga”
Best Animated Feature: “Big Hero 6,” “The Boxtrolls,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Song of the Sea,” “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya”
Film Editing: “American Sniper,” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Whiplash,”
Best Song: “Everything is Awesome” from “The LEGO Movie,” “Glory” from “Selma,” “Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights,” “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell ... I’ll Be Me,” “Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game,” Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything,” Gary Yershon, “Mr. Turner,” Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, “Unbroken,” Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman,” Dick Pope, “Mr. Turner,” Robert Yeoman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, “Ida”
Best Costume Design: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Inherent Vice,” “Into the Woods,” “Maleficent,” “Mr. Turner”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: “Foxcatcher,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Best Production Design: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Interstellar,” “Into the Woods,” “Mr. Turner”
Best Sound Editing: “American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” “Interstellar,” “Unbroken”
Best Sound Mixing: “American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “Interstellar,” “Unbroken,” “Whiplash”
Best Visual Effects: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Interstellar,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Best Short Film, Live Action: “Aya,” “Boogaloo and Graham,” “Butter Lamp,” “Parvaneh,” “The Phone Call”
Best Short Film, Animated: “The Bigger Picture,” “The Dam Keeper,” “Feast,” “Me and My Moulton,” “A Single Life”
Best Documentary, Short Subject: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” “Joanna,” “Our Curse,” “The Reaper,” “White Earth”