This year’s list of Oscar nominations has raised eyebrows in Hollywood and beyond, not least because, for just the second time since the turn of the Century, every nominee in the Academy’s four acting categories is white.
Notably, the black British actor David Oyelowo, acclaimed for his performance as Martin Luther King, Jr in Selma, the first major film about the civil rights leader, was left out of the Best Actor category as the nominations were announced early on this morning. Selma’s director, Ava DuVernay, had been tipped to be the first black woman ever nominated for Best Director, after she was shortlisted for last weekend’s Golden Globes. But she, too, was locked out of Oscar contention in another all-white category.
The 2011 Oscars also featured an exclusively white crop of 20 acting nominees. Up until then, the last time no actor of colour was nominated was in 1998. Selma was nominated for Best Picture, where it will compete against Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which led the field with nine nominations apiece. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was also shortlisted for Best Pictu re, and remains the overwhelming favourite to win.
Neither Oyelowo nor Grand Budapest Hotel star Ralph Fiennes was named in the Best Actor category, but two other British actors, Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch, will do battle for the prize with Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton, who is favoured for his performance as a washed-up blockbuster star trying to reclaim his credibility on Broadway in Birdman.
Keaton’s is the only fictional character in a category dominated by biopics: Redmayne won a Golden Globe last weekend for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the computing pioneer who cracked the German Enigma code, but was later persecuted by the British authorities for his homosexuality, in The Imitation Game.
Oscars 2015 nominations
Oscars 2015 nominations
1/28 Birdman - 10 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
2/28 The Grand Budapest Hotel - 10 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Director (Wes Anderson), Best Picture, Film Editing, Production Design, for Makeup and Hairstyling, Costume Design, Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Original Score
3/28 The Imitation Game - 8 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actor ( Keira Knightley) Best Director (Morten Tyldum), Film Editing, Production Design, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score
4/28 American Sniper - 6 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay
5/28 Boyhood - 6 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Actress in Supporting role (Patricia Arquette) Film Editing, Best Director (Richard Linklater), Original Screenplay
6/28 Whiplash - 5 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay
7/28 The Theory of Everything - 5 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score
Working Title Films
8/28 Foxcatcher - 5 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Director (Bennett Miller), Best Actor (Steve Carrell), Original Screenplay, Makeup and Hairstyling
9/28 Selma - 2 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song
10/28 Mr Turner
Oscar nominated for Production Design, Costume Design, Cinematography, Original Score
Reese Witherspoon is Oscar-nominated for best actress in a leading role and Laura Dern is nominated for best supporting actress
12/28 Two Days, One Night
Marion Cotillard has been nominated in the best actress category
Oscar nominated for Original Screenplay
14/28 Gone Girl
Rosamund Pike is Oscar nominated for best actress in a leading role
Twentieth Century Fox
Nominated for Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Production Design, Sound Mixing, Original Score
16/28 Still Alice
Best actress in a leading role nomination for Julianne Moore
17/28 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
Oscar nominated for Sound Editing
18/28 Into The Woods
Oscar nominated for Production Design, Costume Design, Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep)
19/28 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Robert Redford and Chris Evans film is nominated for Special Effects
20/28 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Nominated for an Oscar in the Visual Effects category
20th Century Fox
21/28 The Lego Movie
Oscar nominated for best song 'Everything Is Awesome' but snubbed in best animation category
22/28 X-Men, Days of the Future Past
Oscar nominated in the Visual Effects category
Alan Markfield / 2013 Marvel & Subs / 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
23/28 Begin Again
Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in Begin Again which is Oscar nominated for best original song
24/28 Guardians Of The Galaxy
Nominated for Visual Effects, for Makeup and Hairstyling
Oscar nominated for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography
26/28 How To Train Your Dragon 2
Oscar nominated for Animated Feature Film
Oscar nominated for Costume Design
© Disney Enterprises, Inc.
28/28 Inherent Vice
Oscar nominated for Adapted Screenplay
Theory of Everything producer Eric Fellner said he knew early in the film’s production that Redmayne’s performance would be a special one. “There’s an emotional scene when he’s playing croquet and has very pronounced physical issues starting to develop in his body,” Fellner said. “I remember watching the monitor and thinking, ‘Oh my God, this guy is going to nail it.’”
Redmayne’s co-star Felicity Jones and fellow Brit Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) were both named in the Best Actress category, where they will face stiff competition from Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Reese Witherspoon (Wild) and Julianne Moore, whose Golden Globe-winning turn as an Alzheimer’s sufferer in Still Alice is expected to see her triumph on Oscar night, too.
Perhaps the most shocking omission in this year’s nominations was The Lego Movie, which was snubbed in the Best Animated Feature category. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 3D hit was not only rapturously reviewed, but also became the highest-grossing film of the year in the UK, and the fourth-highest grossing in the US.
After The Lego Movie picked up just one nomination, for original song “Everything is Awesome”, Lord made light of his disappointment by “making his own” statuette from Lego, and posting the image on Twitter. “This is not a tragedy,” he wrote. “Congrats to incredible crew and cast of The Lego Movie, who made a classic.”
The Oscars will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris on Sunday 22 February, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.