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Oscars 2015: 'Birdman,' 'Budapest' lead; nominations least diverse since 1998

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Students from Inner-City Filmmakers (ICF), a training and film industry job development program, carry the 50 Oscar statuettes of the 79th Academy Awards down the red carpet to the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Centre February 24, 2007 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)
Mark Mainz/Getty Images
Students from Inner-City Filmmakers (ICF), a training and film industry job development program, carry the 50 Oscar statuettes of the 79th Academy Awards down the red carpet to the Kodak Theatre in this file photo taken at Hollywood & Highland Centre February 24, 2007 in Hollywood, California.

See list of nominees, watch trailers and more >>

"Selma" is in. But "Foxcatcher," "Gone Girl" and "Nightcrawler" are not.

Thursday morning's nominations for the Academy Awards cut a wide — and sometimes contradictory — swath, with several heavily favored films and filmmakers left out of Hollywood's biggest party.

According to some measures, the nominations are also the least diverse since 1998. There is not a single person of color among the 20 people nominated for lead and supporting actor and actress. A year ago,  Lupita Nyong'o won the supporting actress trophy for "12 Years a Slave," and the film's black director (Steve McQueen) won the top honor, when the movie was named best picture. 

According to a Los Angeles Times story in late 2013, the academy is 93 percent white, and 76 percent male. The average age of an Oscar voter was 63. Thursday's nominations even inspired a trending hashtag on Twitter: #OscarsSoWhite.

After the nominations were announced, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was asked whether the organization has a problem with recognizing diversity.

Not at all," she told "The good news is that the wealth of talent is there, and it's being discussed, and it's helpful so much for talent — whether in front of the camera or behind the camera — to have this recognition, to have this period of time where there is a lot of publicity."

The lack of diversity carries over to the filmmaking nominations. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexico-born director of "Birdman," is the only one of the five nominees for directing who expands the diversity pool. The black female director of "Selma," Ava DuVernay, was snubbed. And there is not a single woman among the 15 total selections for directing, original and adapted screenplay.

Overall, the pack was led by two comedies, "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," which came away with nine Oscar nominations each, including best picture. "Birdman" might have had a 10th nomination, but its widely-acclaimed score, by drummer Antonio Sanchez, was deemed ineligible by the Music Branch Executive Committee of the Motion Picture Academy.

"The Imitation Game" followed with eight nominations.

The most closely watched race, for best picture, included eight selections, rather than the maximum of 10. (Movies have to surpass a certain voting threshold to make the Oscar shortlist.) The nominees for the top statuette in the 87th Academy Awards are: "American Sniper," "Birdman," "Boyhood," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "The Imitation Game," "Selma," "The Theory of Everything," and "Whiplash."

The inclusion of "Selma" at the expense of "Foxcatcher," "Gone Girl," "Nightcrawler" and even "Interstellar" was a mild surprise, as the civil rights movie has been struggling to collect award nominations in recent days.

"Selma" was not nominated for the top honors from the Producers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America, snubs which historically are not a harbinger of good Oscar fortune.

The film has been criticized for how it depicts conversations between Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon Johnson. The filmmakers have defended their storytelling, while distributor Paramount Pictures said the "Selma" shutouts from the PGA and DGA were attributable to the studio not sending voters screeners of the film to voters in the guilds because the movie wasn't finished in time.

Bennett Miller was nominated for directing "Foxcatcher," even though the film was not nominated for best picture. In addition to Iñárritu, the other filmmakers nominated for directing are Richard Linklater for "Boyhood," Wes Anderson for "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and Morten Tyldum for "The Imitation Game." 

In the Oscars' best actor competition, the nominees did not include "Selma" star David Oyelowo, who plays King. Instead, the Academy nominated Steve Carell for "Foxcatcher," Benedict Cumberbatch for "The Imitation Game," Michael Keaton for "Birdman," Eddie Redmayne for "The Theory of Everything" and Bradley Cooper for "American Sniper."

In addition to not including Oyelowo, Jake Gyllenhaal from "Nightcrawler" was not nominated.

The best actress selections were Marion Cotillard for "Two Days, One Night," Felicity Jones in "The Theory of Everything," Julianne Moore" for "Still Alice," Rosamund Pike for "Gone Girl" and Reese Witherspoon for "Wild." The most notable omission was Jennifer Aniston from "Cake."

The supporting actor picks were Robert Duvall for "The Judge," Ethan Hawke for "Boyhood," Edward Norton for "Birdman," Mark Ruffalo for "Foxcatcher" and J.K. Simmons for "Whiplash."

Patricia Arquette was nominated for supporting actress for "Boyhood," a category where she will face Laura Dern in "Wild," Keira Knightley in "The Imitation Game," Emma Stone in "Birdman" and Meryl Streep in "Into the Woods."

One of the most notable omissions was "The Lego Movie" in the animated feature race. The category includes "Big Hero 6," "The Boxtrolls," "How to Train Your Dragon 2," "Song of the Sea" and "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya."

The Oscars will be presented on ABC on Feb. 22 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Neil Patrick Harris, the popular past host of the Tonys and the Emmys, will be the emcee.

Who do you think was snubbed? What do you think of these nominations? Let us know in the comments, on our Facebook page or on Twitter (@TheFrame, @KPCC).

Complete List of Nominees


American Sniper
Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper and Peter Morgan

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole

Richard and Cathleen Sutherland

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
MORE: Actor Ralph Fiennes: Working with Anderson 'was a dream job' »

The Imitation Game
Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman

Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner

The Theory of Everything
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce and Anthony McCarten
MORE: Stephen Hawking calls biopic 'broadly true' »

Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook and David Lancaster

ACTOR — in a Leading Role

Steve Carell

American Sniper
Bradley Cooper

The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch
MORE: Cumberbatch couldn't 'bear the tragedy' of Alan Turing »

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Michael Keaton
MORE: Director Iñárritu calls Keaton's performance 'almost a miracle' »

The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne

ACTRESS — in a Leading Role

Two Days, One Night
Marion Cotillard

The Theory of Everything
Felicity Jones

Still Alice
Julianne Moore
MORE: Moore hopes role changes stigma around Alzheimer's »

Gone Girl
Rosamund Pike

Reese Witherspoon
MORE: Witherspoon's quest for more 'complex' female leading roles »

ACTOR in a Supporting Role

The Judge
Robert Duvall

Ethan Hawke

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Edward Norton

Mark Ruffalo

J.K. Simmons

ACTRESS in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette

Laura Dern

The Imitation Game
Keira Knightley

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Emma Stone

Into the Woods
Meryl Streep


Big Hero 6
Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli

The Boxtrolls
Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable and Travis Knight

How to Train Your Dragon 2
Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold

Song of the Sea
Tomm Moore and Paul Young

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura


Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Robert Yeoman

Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski

Mr. Turner
Dick Pope

Roger Deakins


The Grand Budapest Hotel
Milena Canonero

Inherent Vice
Mark Bridges

Into the Woods
Colleen Atwood

Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive

Mr. Turner
Jacqueline Durran


Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Richard Linklater
MORE: Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke's surprise over nominations »

Bennett Miller

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game
Morten Tyldum
MORE: Tyldum and writer Graham Moore make a splash at Telluride »


Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
MORE: Poitras was scared government would shut film down »

Finding Vivian Maier
John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

Last Days in Vietnam
Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester

The Salt of the Earth
Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier

Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara


Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry

Aneta Kopacz

Our Curse
Tomasz Śliwiński and Maciej Ślesicki

The Reaper (La Parka)
Gabriel Serra Arguello

White Earth
J. Christian Jensen


American Sniper
Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach

Sandra Adair

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Barney Pilling

The Imitation Game
William Goldenberg

Tom Cross


Poland; Directed by Pawel Pawlikowski

Russia; Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

Estonia; Directed by Zaza Urushadze

Mauritania; Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako

Wild Tales
Argentina; Directed by Damián Szifron


Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier

Guardians of the Galaxy
Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

MUSIC — Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat
MORE: Desplat on fighting composer's block »

The Imitation Game
Alexandre Desplat

Hans Zimmer

Mr. Turner
Gary Yershon

The Theory of Everything
Jóhann Jóhannsson

MUSIC — Original Song

"Everything Is Awesome" from THE LEGO MOVIE
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson

"Glory" from SELMA
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn

"Grateful" from BEYOND THE LIGHTS
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from GLEN CAMPBELL...I'LL BE ME
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond

"Lost Stars" from BEGIN AGAIN
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois


The Grand Budapest Hotel
Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)

The Imitation Game
Maria Djurkovic (Production Design); Tatiana Macdonald (Set Decoration)

Nathan Crowley (Production Design); Gary Fettis (Set Decoration)

Into the Woods
Dennis Gassner (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)

Mr. Turner
Suzie Davies (Production Design); Charlotte Watts (Set Decoration)

SHORT FILM — Animated

The Bigger Picture
Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees

The Dam Keeper
Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi

Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed

Me and My Moulton
Torill Kove

A Single Life
Joris Oprins

SHORT FILM — Live Action

Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis

Boogaloo and Graham
Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney

Butter Lamp (La Lampe au Beurre de Yak)
Hu Wei and Julien Féret

Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger

The Phone Call
Mat Kirkby and James Lucas


American Sniper
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Martin Hernández and Aaron Glascock

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Brent Burge and Jason Canovas

Richard King

Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro


American Sniper
John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga

Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten

Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee

Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley


Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist

Guardians of the Galaxy
Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould

Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

X-Men: Days of Future Past
Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer

WRITING — Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper
Written by Jason Hall

The Imitation Game
Written by Graham Moore
MORE: Screenwriter risked 'career suicide' to do 'Imitation Game' »

Inherent Vice
Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything
Screenplay by Anthony McCarten

Written by Damien Chazelle
MORE: Chazelle on how virtuosity is bloody painful »

WRITING — Original Screenplay

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Written by Richard Linklater

Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
MORE: Writers on how the script came together as dark love triangle »

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Written by Dan Gilroy

This story has been updated.