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Friday, December 01, 2023

With the 87th annual Academy Awards a month away, one of Hollywood’s biggest nights is preparing to bestow one of the industry’s highest honors to some of the year’s brightest stars and screenmakers. Usually, the nominees for the Oscars follow the same general pattern as ceremonies preceding them, including the Golden Globes. This year’s batch, however, has taken a sharp turn from the norm and has garnered some sharp criticism in response. In analyzing the big categories, as well as evaluating the facts, this moviegoer is wondering how the ceremony will ultimately go down.

Best Picture

Who’s Nominated: We’ve got the historical pieces (“The Imitation Game,” “Selma,” “The Theory of Everything”) pitted against the realistic flicks (“American Sniper,” “Boyhood,” “Whiplash”), and the pair of eccentric — but lovable — oddballs (“Birdman,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel”).

Who Will Win: Despite “Budapest” taking home the Best Picture — Musical/Comedy Golden Globe, the 12-year film “Boyhood” will likely take this round.

Who Got Snubbed: Perhaps the eerie “Nightcrawler” had a shot, but other than that, these flicks seem to support the general consensus.

Best Actor

Who’s Nominated: It’s a battle of the Brits (Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game” and Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”) versus good ole American boys Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”), Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper”).

Who Will Win: Despite Cooper making his first big appearance this awards season (Seriously, no Globe nod? It’s a Clint Eastwood film, for crying out loud), it’s between the two Globe winners for this one: Redmayne versus Keaton. In my opinion, this is the closest category of them all.

Who Got Snubbed: Uh, did David Oyelowo (“Selma”) and Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”) get, like, abducted from the nominees list in the middle of the night, or…?

Best Actress

Who’s Nominated: The usual suspects of Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”), Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”) and Marion Cotillard (“Two Days, One Night”) for the surprise!

Who Will Win: Moore’s got this one in the bag, guys. After that Globe win, it looks like it’s pretty much a done deal.

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Who Got Snubbed: If you’ve been reading/listening/overhearing people on the bus lately, odds are a lot of them have been saying something along the lines of  “Ugh, Jennifer Aniston was ROBBED!” (Maybe? I don’t know, but with all of this press attention it’s been getting, it has seemed that way.) Amy Adams for “Big Eyes” was missing, too — a bit strange considering she won the Globe for the role in the Musical/Comedy category equivalent.

Best Supporting Actor

Who’s Nominated: Robert Duvall (“The Judge”), J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) and Mark Ruffalo (“Foxcatcher”) will face off against two E’s: Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”) and Edward Norton (“Birdman”).

Who Will Win: Similar to Moore’s category, Simmons’ role (and Globe win) as a tough-as-nails music instructor will almost guarantee him the trophy.

Who Got Snubbed: No real surprises here. We can now all take a collective breath in gratitude.

Best Supporting Actress

Who’s Nominated: Many Globe repeats including Emma Stone (“Birdman”), Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”), Meryl Streep (“Into The Woods”) and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) with the lovely addition of Laura Dern (“Wild”). Seriously, Dern was wonderful in this film.

Who Will Win: Arquette’s already got a Globe and Richard Linklater’s (director of “Boyhood”) blessing on her side, so this category seems pretty locked up.

Who Got Snubbed: Looks like Jessica Chastain (“A Most Violent Year”) isn’t getting any Academy love this year, but it’s cool — this girl ends up being part of many Oscar-attractive films year after year, so her time will surely come.

Other Notable Snubs

“Selma” director Ava DuVernay was denied the chance to make Oscar history as the first black female filmmaker to be nominated for Best Director. Both Lorde and Lana del Rey weren’t included in the Best Original Song category, while “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn wasn’t nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay … for her own novel. And who, pray tell, is Best Animated Featured Film going to go to if one of the biggest, most beloved successes of last year, “The Lego Movie,” isn’t part of the fun?

All of these nominations — and, to some, lack thereof — have been under intense, critical speculation since they were announced on Jan. 15. But despite all of this discord, we can all agree on one thing: the Academy certainly knows how to keep us guessing and speculating — and possibly screaming in frustration.

Who do you think were the biggest snubs and surprises? Tweet your thoughts @AlyssaVHolcomb and tune into the Oscars on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. on ABC.

[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 1/22/2015 under the headline “Trophy Hunting: Oscar nominations full of surprises and snubs"]

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