The day has come: we now have our nominees for the 2015 Academy Awards. After a pretty predictable Golden Globes, with some surprises in Grand Budapest winning Best Comedy and Lego Movie not winning Best Animated, the Oscar’s are full of surprises. I will only be covering the biggest surprises in the major categories, because the minor technical ones are always a bit scattered and people don’t care for them as much, though they should.


Best Picture:


Grand Budapest Hotel




American Sniper

Imitation Game

The Theory of Everything

Reaction: This will always be the category with the most surprises. Whiplash being nominated is a great and wonderful surprise. A small indie movie up against all of these heavy hitters is a great addition. American Sniper, which was completely forgotten at the Globes, has picked up quite a few nominations. No love for Foxcatcher, though it is up for director and actor, so it is certainly a surprise considering its buzz. The biggest qualm people have this year is that there are no movies strictly about women up, and as I had said in my reactions to the Globe nominations, there just weren’t that many great movies. Sure Wild was a good film, but nowhere as good as these films (I have yet to see American Sniper and Selma.)


Best Actor:

Steve Carell- Foxcatcher

Benedict Cumberbatch- The Imitation Game

Bradley Cooper- American Sniper

Michael Keaton- Birdman

Eddie Redmayne- The Theory of Everything

Reaction: Bradley Cooper getting nominated is the biggest surprise for actors on the list. As for off the list, David Oyelowo not being nominated for Selma reduces the category to a totally caucasian affair. After the Globes, this will be a really contentious category. On one hand we have the slightly newcomer in Redmayne who won for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking at the Globes, and on the other hand we have Keaton who has been around for quite some time without a win or even a nomination. Ralph Fiennes is also a notable name missing for the category considering Grand Budapest has 9 nominations elsewhere.


Best Actress:

Rosamund Pike- Gone Girl

Julianne Moore- Still Alice

Reese Witherspoon- Wild

Marion Cotillard- Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones- The Theory of Everything

Reaction: Marion Cotillard is the biggest surprise here. I doubt many people have even heard of Two Days, One Night, and it’s even more surprising that it isn’t nominated for Best Foreign Film. My biggest qualm is the lack of Amy Adams, especially since she took home the Globe for Best Actress in a comedy. The race was down to her and Emily Blunt, who is also absent from the list.


Best Supporting Actor:

Robert Duvall- The Judge

Ethan Hawke- Boyhood

Edward Norton- Birdman

Mark Ruffalo- Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons- Whiplash

Reaction: No surprises here. This was essentially the same list from the Golden Globes.


Best Supporting Actress:

Patricia Arquette- Boyhood

Keira Knightley- The Imitation Game

Laura Dern- Wild

Emma Stone- Birdman

Meryl Streep- Into the Woods

Reaction: Biggest mixup here is Laura Dern’s nomination since she has been pretty non-existent at other Awards shows. The big name that people were probably expecting to be up there was Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year, but sadly it got zero nominations.


Best Director:

Richard Linklater- Boyhood

Bennett Miller- Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson- Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum- The Imitation Game

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu- Birdman

Reaction: Miller’s and Tyldum’s inclusions are the bigger surprises here because Tyldum is a first-time nom and Miller’s film wasn’t even nominated for Best Pic. DuVarnay, the director of Selma, is also absent. Due to its critical acclaim and timeliness, one would think they would add some variety and give her the nom so she would be the first ever African American female director who got the nom. No nomination for Eastwood for American Sniper despite its large number of nominations. Sadly no nomination for Chazelle who directed Whiplash, either.


Best Original Screenplay:





Grand Budapest Hotel

Reaction: I wasn’t surprised by any inclusions or exclusions in this category.


Best Adapted Screenplay:

American Sniper

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything


Imitation Game

Reaction: The notable exclusion here is Gone Girl. Whiplash is also a bit of a controversy because of the actual film’s creation. It was originally shot as a short film to show funders what they were thinking, but apparently that counts as previously written material, so it is an adapted screenplay and not original.


Best Animated Film:

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Big Hero 6

The Box Trolls

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Reaction: The Lego Movie is not here. Everything is currently not awesome. It was single-handedly the most creative and inventive film of the year and its only nomination is for Best Song. Perhaps it wasn’t nominated because it had a scene with real people, but it is still billed as animated. Oh well. Instead we get two indie animated films that hardly have the mass appeal of The Lego Movie


Best Foreign Film:




Wild Tales


Reaction: I have yet to see any of these (though Ida is apparently on Netflix) so hopefully by the time of the Oscars I will be able to give a better reaction.


Best Cinematography


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Mr. Turner



Reaction: Mr. Turner is a bit of a dark-horse here. With hardly any nominations everywhere else, its cinematography must be quite amazing. Unbroken is only nominated for 3, and this is its biggest nomination. The Oscar-bait movie has missed out on all major categories. Ida is a bit of an oddity here because it is a foreign film in a minor category for the Oscars. Other films could have filled its spot, but perhaps they found beauty in its black and white photography.


Best Editing:


Grand Budapest Hotel

Imitation Game


American Sniper

Reaction: It makes me happy to see Whiplash here too, same with Boyhood. American Sniper is the odd one in here, but the biggest, and perhaps most painful surprise, is the exclusion of the beautifully edited “one-take” Birdman. The editing and cinematography made that movie. Apparently it was not appreciated by the Academy, though.


Best Score:

The Imitation Game

The Theory of Everything


Mr. Turner

Grand Budapest Hotel

Reaction: No Birdman again. It’s soundtrack was phenomenal, but it seems to be a film that is missing out on some key categories. Interstellar’s score was fantastic, so I am glad it is nominated as well. Whiplash is lacking too because it was a movie revolving around music.


Best Song:

Glory- Selma

Everything is Awesome- Lego Movie

Lost Stars- Begin Again

Grateful- Beyond the Lights

Glen Campbell- I’ll be Me

Reaction: The last two sounds are very random. At least Lego Movie is getting the song nomination, and Begin Again finally is getting some love despite its complete snub from all of the Awards Shows. Glory, the winner of the Golden Globe, is not surprise. Most of the songs from the Globes are missing here, which is kind of odd.


So those were all the major categories. If you want my opinion on Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and all the technical stuff, leave me a request in the comments and I will gladly share. But until the 22nd of February, these will all be debated and questioned, and we will be in for a big show at the Oscars. Let me know if you agree with reactions in the comments below. Be on the lookout for my SAG predictions coming soon and my Oscar Predictions around the middle of February.