Overall, this year’s 87th Academy Award nominations got things right. But as usual, there are some surprises and snubs. Here are some notable ones:
▪ Comedies score — Oscar doesn’t usually show much for love for comedies, but two ambitious ones fared very well: “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” led the nominations with nine each. It’s a particularly surprise showing for “Budapest,” which scored very well in technical categories.
▪ Speaking of “Budapest” — The directing category was probably the hardest to call this year, but what was most surprising was also the most pleasing: Wes Anderson scored his first directing nomination, for “Grand Budapest Hotel.” Many are fans of his work and think the nomination is long overdue.
▪ “Foxcatcher” misses — While the Olympic wrestling drama fared well with five nominations, two surprises happened: director Bennett Miller was nominated while the film itself didn’t get nominated for best picture. Many thought it would be the other way around.
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▪ Sorry, “Selma” — The Martin Luther King drama surprisingly nabbed only two nominations, for best picture and best original song. Many thought director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowo were going to get some Oscar love. DuVernay would have been the first African-American woman nominated for directing, and only the fifth woman overall.
▪ No “Cake” — Jennifer Aniston was a dark horse for best actress, and she indeed didn’t make the finish line, despite a prominent campaign. Marion Cotillard took her place with “Two Days, One Night.”
▪ “Sniper” aims high — Clint Eastwood failed to receive a directing nomination (coming off his Directors Guild nomination earlier this week), but “Sniper” did much better than expected with six noms, including a surprise one for Bradley Cooper as best actor.
▪ Dern delights — It was mostly as predicted in the supporting actress category, but Laura Dern edged into what many thought would be Jessica Chastain’s place for “A Most Violent Year.” It’s a nice, much deserved showing for Dern.
▪ “Ida” who? — The Polish drama “Ida” came out of nowhere to nab a best cinematography nomination, a very rare feat for a foreign film.
▪ Score times two — Alexandre Desplat was a double nominee in the best original score category for his work on “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Imitation Game.”
▪ “Gone” went without — David Fincher’s drama nabbed only one nomination, for Rosamund Pike as best actress. Many thought it was a best picture contender and a front-runner for best original score for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
▪ Lego loses — Many thought “The Lego Movie” was a lock to win the best animated feature category. It didn’t even get nominated.