Oscar 2014: Fox Searchlight–Clear Victory

birdman_posterFox Searchlight emerged as the big victor at the 87th Academy Award nominations after two of its films, “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” led the field with nine nominations each.  Both movies were also nominated for best picture.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu of “Birdman” and “Grand Budapest’s” Wes Anderson were triple nominees, as director, writer and producer of the pictures. Inarritu shared writing credit with three collaborators; both shared producing credits with others.

The Weinstein Co.’s “The Imitation Game” was close behind with eight mentions, including a best actor nod for Benedict Cumberbatch and directing for Morten Tyldum, making his English-language bow.

Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” (Warner Bros.) and Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” (IFC FIlms) had six nominations each. Linklater is another triple nominees, as director, writer and a producer.

Sony Pictures Classics scored 18 bids, spread wide among “Foxcatcher,” “Whiplash” (five noms apiece),”Mr. Turner” (four) and various other categories, including documentary and foreign-language film.

Netflix scored its first Oscar nomination with the documentary “Virunga.”

Eastwood and “Selma” director Ava DuVernay were snubbed in the directing category.

“Selma” actor David Oyelowo was also left out of the best actor races. “Selma” scored two nominations, for best picture and best song.

The five actor contenders are Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper, Cumberbatch, Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne. This is Cooper’s third consecutive nomination, though the others are first-timers.

This year’s actress contenders include Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon. Cotillard and Witherspoon are previous winners, Moore a previous nominee. Jones and Pike are first-timers.

“Nightcrawler,” which recently raised its awards profile with nominations in six guild votings, nabbed an original screenplay bid for Dan Gilroy.

One of the biggest surprises was the omission of “The Lego Movie” in the animated feature category. It was well-liked, and many considered it the front-runner to win.

J.J. Abrams, Alfonso Cuaron, Chris Pine and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the nominees in a two-part live event at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. This was the first time the Academy and ABC televised all the categories on the air, after previously limiting it to about 10 of the 24 races.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the 2015 Oscars will be broadcast live February 22 on ABC.