Oscar 2014: Major Surprises

Oscar Nominations for 2014:

SURPRISE: Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”

Cooper packed on 40 pound of muscle, learned how to fire military rifles and completely disappeared onscreen to star in “American Sniper.” He earned the best reviews of his career, but the lack of a SAG or Golden Globe nomination makes his last-minute entrance in the best actor race a surprise. Then again, the Academy loves Cooper—it’s his third consecutive nomination, following “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle.“

SURPRISE: Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”

Most film critics were cheering this morning when Cotillard’s name was announced in the best actress race. She gives one of the most nuanced performances in the year in the Dardenne brothers drama about a depressed factor worker women who had just been laid off. But Oscar pundits were worried that the Cannes drama hadn’t been widely screened, and that Cotillard could cancel herself out with her other strong lead performance in James Gray’s “The Immigrant.” But the weighted ballot for the Oscars, which reward passion, worked in Cotillard’s favor, as there were enough fans of “Two Days, One Night.”

SURPRISE: Laura Dern, “Wild”

After missing out on a Golden Globe and SAG nomination, Dern picks up her first Oscar nod since 1992’s “Rambling Rose” for playing Cheryl Strayed’s mother.

SURPRISE: Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”

Miller picks up his second career Oscar nomination for directing (after 2006’s “Capote”), even though “Foxcatcher” didn’t land a best picture nomination. He got in over Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”) and Clint Eastwood (“American Sniper”).

SURPRISE: “Inherent Vice,” Adapted Screenplay

Paul Thomas Anderson’s trippy adaption of the Thomas Pynchon novel left many viewers confused, but the Academy managed to still find a way to recognize the director of “Boogie Nights” and “There Will Be Blood.”

He took a spot that could have gone to Gillian Flynn, the former Entertainment Weekly critic who adapting her own novel into the script for David Fincher’s “Gone Girl.”