Boyhood Vs. Birdman For All The Oscars

Two career-defining films will battle it out for the top spot in what figures to be a truly entertaining ceremony (seriously) hosted by Neil Patrick Harris. 

The Oscar nominations are in, and, for the first time in forever, two legitimately good original films will duke it out in almost every category. Boyhood and Birdman, two films helmed by Hollywood outsiders, each featuring superb direction and acting, will by vying for Best Picture and Best Director, while their respective actors will duke it out in almost every category. Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson’s inter-war fable, also received a bevy of nominations, entering the affair as a hand-crafted dark horse for Best Director and even Best Picture. Notable snubs include Selma’s Avu DuVernay for Best Director, and The Lego Movie for Best Animated Feature (which is dumb).

The sentimental favorite for Best Actor would be Michael Keaton, whose turn in Birdman marked the resurgence of an actor who is pretty much universally adored (as evidenced in this now-classic Onion article). Competing against Keaton are several actors who will almost certainly be given nominations in the future, including Steve Carrell, Bradley Cooper, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

For Best Actress, the field is more open. With no leads from either Boyhood or Birdman contending, the field pits former winners Marion Cotillard and Reese Witherspoon against repeat nominee Julianne Moore and rising British beauty Felicity Jones. Expect Moore to take home the prize, less for her performance this year than a lifetime of excellent work.

For the Best Supporting Actress and Actor categories, Meryl Streep receives her insane 19th Academy Award nomination, but look to Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke to take home the awards as prizes for their decade-spanning work in Boyhood, a testament to their own longevity as actors, their fearlessness in aging on-screen in an age-obsessed Hollywood, and the fact that neither has won an Academy Award before.

This brings us to the showdown of the night, with the Best Director category most likely signaling who will also take home the Best Picture category, as each film represents an almost total vision by their respective auteurs. Linklater is one of the pioneers of the DIY independent film movement, and Boyhood, which took him over a decade to make, is his crowning achievement. This doesn’t mean that Linklater has never given in to the whims of Hollywood (see Bad News Bears), but he’s always done so with an eye for financing his independent films, and has always been eager to try something brilliant and audacious that could fail spectacularly. That Boyhood, a film that had never been attempted before (which is rare in the pantheon of Academy Award-nominated films) succeeded, is proof of Linklater’s brilliance, his guile, and just how much he actually has opened the door for mainstream American cinema to take a risk (between Transformers productions, of course). Iñárritu’s Birdman is brilliant and one of the best films to come around in a long while. But it won’t win. The Oscars will be Linklater’s night, as Hollywood turns its eyes to Austin in tribute to one of the most transformative American filmmakers working today.

The full list of nominees are below:

Best Picture

American Sniper



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


The Theory of Everything


Best Director

Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

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

J.K. 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

Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida

Dick Pope, Mr. Turner

Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Best Foreign Language Film

Ida, Poland

Leviathan, Russia

Tangerines, Estonia

Timbuktu, Mauritania

Wild Tales, Argentina

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper, Jason Hall

The Imitation Game, Graham Moore

Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything, Anthony McCarten

Whiplash, Damien Chazelle

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Boyhood, Richard Linklater

Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard, Foxcatcher

Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game


Mr. Turner

The Theory of Everything

Best 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

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6

The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Best Documentary—Short

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1


Our Curse

The Reaper

White Earth

Best Film Editing

Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach, American Sniper

Sandra Adair, Boyhood

Barney Pilling, The Grand Budapest Hotel

William Goldenberg, The Imitation Game

Tom Cross, Whiplash

Best Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

The Imitation Game, Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald

Interstellar, Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis

Into the Woods, Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Mr. Turner, Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Best Animated Short

The Bigger Picture

The Dam Keeper


Me and My Moulton

A Single Life

Best Live Action Short


Boogaloo and Graham

Butter Lamp


The Phone Call

Best Sound Editing

American Sniper, Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Birdman, Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock

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

Interstellar, Richard King

Unbroken, Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

Best Sound Mixing

American Sniper, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin

Birdman, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga

Interstellar, Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten

Unbroken, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee

Whiplash, Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

Best Visual Effects

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

Interstellar, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

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

Best Documentary — Feature


Finding Vivien Maier

Last Days of Vietnam

The Salt of the Earth


Best Costume Design

Milena Canonero, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Mark Bridges, Inherent Vice

Colleen Atwood, Into the Woods

Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, Maleficent

Jacqueline Durran, Mr. Turner

Photos by Everett Collection