All-white Oscars nominations raise eyebrows globally

He played Martin Luther King and she was hotly tipped to become the first nominated black woman director - but they didn't make the Academy's shortlist.
He played Martin Luther King and she was hotly tipped to become the first nominated black woman director - but they didn't make the Academy's shortlist. Independent News and Media

THIS year's list of Oscar nominations has raised eyebrows in Hollywood and beyond, not least because, for just the second time since the turn of the Century, every nominee in the Academy's four acting categories is white.

Notably, the black British actor David Oyelowo, acclaimed for his performance as Martin Luther King, Jr in Selma, the first major film about the civil rights leader, was left out of the Best Actor category as the nominations were announced early on this morning. Selma's director, Ava Duvernay, had been tipped to be the first black woman ever nominated for Best Director, after she was shortlisted for last weekend's Golden Globes. But she, too, was locked out of Oscar contention in another all-white category.

The 2011 Oscars also featured an exclusively white crop of 20 acting nominees. Up until then, the last time no actor of colour was nominated was in 1998. Selma was nominated for Best Picture, where it will compete against Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which led the field with nine nominations apiece. Richard Linklater's Boyhood was also shortlisted for Best Pictu re, and remains the overwhelming favourite to win.

Keaton's is the only fictional character in a category dominated by biopics: Redmayne won a Golden Globe last weekend for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything; Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, the computing pioneer who cracked the German Enigma code, but was later persecuted by the British authorities for his homosexuality, in The Imitation Game.

The category is shored up by Steve Carell, who played millionaire wrestling coach and convicted murdered John du Pont in Foxcatcher; and Bradley Cooper, playing Chris Kyle, a deadly US NAVY Seal sniper, in American Sniper.

Theory of Everything producer Eric Fellner said he knew early in the film's production that Redmayne's performance would be a special one. "There's an emotional scene when he's playing croquet and has very pronounced physical issues starting to develop in his body," Fellner said. "I remember watching the monitor and thinking, 'Oh my God, this guy is going to nail it.'"

Redmayne's co-star Felicity Jones and fellow Brit Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) were both named in the Best Actress category, where they will face stiff competition from Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Reese Witherspoon (Wild) and Julianne Moore, whose Golden Globe-winning turn as an Alzheimer's sufferer in Still Alice is expected to see her triumph on Oscar night, too.

Perhaps the most shocking omission in this year's nominations was The Lego Movie, which was snubbed in the Best Animated Feature category. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller's 3D hit was not only rapturously reviewed, but also became the highest-grossing film of the year in the UK, and the fourth-highest grossing in the US.

The Lego Movie The Lego Movie
After The Lego Movie picked up just one nomination, for original song "Everything is Awesome", Lord made light of his disappointment by "making his own" statuette from Lego, and posting the image on Twitter. "This is not a tragedy," he wrote. "Congrats to incredible crew and cast of The Lego Movie, who made a classic."

The Oscars will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris on Sunday 22 February, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Oscars nominations list in full

Best Picture

American Sniper



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


The Theory of Everything



Best Actor

Steve Carell - Foxcatcher

Bradley Cooper - American Sniper

Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game

Michael Keaton - Birdman

Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything


Best Actress

Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore - Still Alice

Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon - Wild

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall - The Judge

Ethan Hawke - Boyhood

Edward Norton - Birdman

Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher

JK Simmons - Whiplash


Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood

Laura Dern - Wild

Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game

Emma Stone - Birdman

Meryl Streep - Into the Woods


Best Cinematography


The Grand Budapest Hotel


Mr Turner



Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice

Into the Woods


Mr Turner


Best Director

Alejandro G Inarritu - Birdman

Richard Linklater - Boyhood

Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game


Best Foreign Language Film





Wild Tales


Best Make-up and Hairstyling


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Guardians of the Galaxy


Best Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


Mr Turner

The Theory of Everything


Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything



Best Original Screenplay




The Grand Budapest Hotel



Best Animated Feature Film

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya


Best Documentary Feature

Citizen Four

Finding Vivian Maier

Last Days in Vietnam

The Salt of the Earth



Best Documentary Short Subject

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1


Our Curse

The Reaper

White Earth


Best Film Editing

American Sniper


The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game



Best Original Song

"Everything is Awesome" - The Lego Movie

"Glory" - Selma

"Grateful" - Beyond the Lights

"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" - Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me

"Lost Stars" - Begin Again


Best Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


Into the Woods

Mr Turner


Best Animated Short Film

The Bigger Picture

The Dam Keeper


Me and My Moulton

A Single Life


Best Live Action Short Film


Boogaloo and Graham

Butter Lamp


The Phone Call


Best Sound Editing

American Sniper


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies




Best Sound Mixing

American Sniper






Best Visual Effects

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Guardians of the Galaxy


X-Men: Days of Future Past

Topics:  nominations oscars

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