Anyone who has ever practiced an Oscar speech in front of the bathroom mirror knows it's an honor just to be nominated, even if they don't know how to say your name. But what else did the nominees for the 87th Academy Awards have to say?
The Times tracked the reaction and talked to many of those vying for the statuettes that will be handed out Feb. 22 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, with Neil Patrick Harris hosting for the first time. Here's how Oscar nomination morning played out.
If the Academy Awards have traditionally represented anything, it's what the industry values: what the thousands of professionals, the insiders who make up the academy membership, think is the best cinematic work of the year.
But if you look at the nominations for 2014, it’s striking how many of the big winners came from either the independent world, overseas or both. This is not a new development, but this year’s results spelled it out in big, bold letters.
Above: "Selma," "The Lego Movie" and "Interstellar" didn't get as many Oscar nominations as might have been expected.
'Birdman' producer feels buoyant
Much like the film’s main character, the team behind “Birdman” is soaring after receiving nine Oscar nominations, including best picture. Producer James Skotchdopole said he’s “floating 10 feet above the ground.”
“It’s incredible to see the film so recognized,” he said. “Nine, what more can you expect?”
On Oscar night, he’s going to try to keep his expectations down to earth. “I’ve learned my lesson,” he said. “ I’m just thrilled to be in the room.”
“Whiplash” director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle, nominated for best adapted screenplay told The Times’ Josh Rottenberg that he’s still pinching himself
“I really didn’t know what to hope for. I was just kind of crossing my fingers,” he said. “I’m actually here right now getting breakfast with my producer, Helen Estabrook, who’s an Oscar nominee now. I’m pretty psyched about that. We’re having a really unhealthy breakfast.”
Going into the project, about the complex relationship between a young drummer and his overbearing teacher, Chazelle had a particular fear. “I was always worried that something on such a niche subject might not translate to people who were not already into that subject,” he said. “But my intention had always been to make something universal, something that felt like a real ride and a real emotional roller coaster.”
Composer Alexandre Desplat was nominated twice this year in the same category, honored for his scores for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Imitation Game.”
“Getting a nomination is such a surprise, an anomaly, and getting two, it's almost embarrassing,” he told The Times’ Oliver Gettell. “I immediately thought of my wonderful directors, who I have to share with, Wes Anderson and Morten [Tyldum], because without their beautiful films I wouldn't be there.”
Desplat will be competing against himself because of his two nominations, but he didn’t seem worried. Laughing, he said, “I hope I could have had five! What happens, happens. It's such a fantastic moment that I don't want to think about the next step. This is the step, to be in this incredible selection.”
The nominees in the costume design category are heavy on the fantastical fashion — and the familiar faces: All but one film on the list are also up for a Costume Designers Guild award.
Plus, two of the nominees are three-time Oscar winners already. Take a look.
Dick Pope on 'poop' gaffe
The Times' Amy Kaufman got Dick Pope, now nominated for the cinematography award, on the phone this morning.
During the announcement in which his name was mispronounced, he was on a private tour at London's Tate museum, where J.M.W. Turner of "Mr. Turner" bequeathed all his work. He's also never been on Twitter, and doesn't "know what 'trending' is."
"If that's what people talk to each other about on [Twitter], I would never be on it," he said. "Not if that's the level of intelligent conversation."
That being said, Pope does have a sense of humor about the incident and expressed sympathy for Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who read his name.
"I've been called a lot worse in my time. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. But the poor president of the Academy must feel terrible about making the slip-up. It was 5:30 in the morning."
He will, of course, attend the awards. And what if a nervous presenter mispronounces his name yet again?
“It’s not that difficult of a name to get right,” he said. Though he did note before hanging up the phone: “Careful what you call me.”
The gaffe, now many hours old, continues to trend on Twitter:
This year's nominees for foreign language film are small films that tackle big subjects, from the plight of Jews after World War II to the Georgian civil war of the 1990s.
Poland’s “Ida,” about a Catholic nun in the 1960s who discovers she’s Jewish, and Russia’s “Leviathan,” about a family in post-Soviet Georgia, lead the pack.
Other nominees involve social commentary on the culture of vengeance and the very topical issue of Islamic extremism.
Reese Witherspoon: Recognition of 'complicated women' characters a win
Reese Witherspoon, nominated for "Wild" and speaking to The Times' Deborah Vankin this morning, focused on the types of roles women are being recognized for during this Oscars cycle.
“It’s a huge win for what I’ve been trying to do with my production company – create roles people would connect with, but also more dynamic, complicated female characters," she said. "And the Academy is so wonderful in recognizing them. These characters -- they’re not good girls, they’re not bad girls -- they’re just complicated women. That’s a huge win for everyone.”
Witherspoon is pictured above playing a troubled woman on an arduous solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.
It took a lot of courage to make the unconventional “Birdman,” director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu told Times reporter Josh Rottenberg this morning. That made the film’s nine Oscar nominations especially gratifying to him.
“We had to be very brave,” he said. “I knew that I was challenging the conventions, and I knew that sometimes that can come with a high cost to many people and that’s why people were scared to make it.”
“But I think if we don’t challenge conventions and we are not brave in that sense then we will be stuck in cinema. So I’m surprised and thankful that that this unconventional film touched people,” the director added. “That made me happy that sometimes what you perceive as conventional associations can suddenly move forward and that can be recognized.”
'Whiplash' nomination is 'best birthday present' for Helen Estabrook
Producer Helen Estabrook said she was surprised to get her first nomination in the best motion picture category for the Damien Chazelle-directed “Whiplash.”
“I honestly couldn’t feel better,” she said.
After a total of five nominations for the film, she hopped in her car at 7 a.m. and drove from her Silver Lake home to Santa Monica for breakfast with Chazelle. The continued praise the film has received, she said, is “just crazy.”
“A year ago today, I was just hoping someone was going to buy the movie so people would see it.”
The nomination is “the best birthday present,” she said, which she will celebrate Saturday.
Marion Cotillard told Times reporter Deborah Vankin she was “totally in shock” when she found out she was nominated for her lead role in “Two Days, One Night.”
“This was very, very unexpected, and at the same time, a real deep joy because I really wanted to take this movie to the Oscars,” she said. “This was the first time for the Dardenne brothers [directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne], and I was very sad when we didn’t make it to the short list of foreign language films and I thought that was it.”
“I’m so happy too, because now I’m gonna take this movie myself to the Oscars,” Cotillard said. “But overall, I feel surprise. There was no inch of suspicion of getting nominated.”
Times reporter Mark Olsen caught up with James Keach, director of “Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me,” which chronicles the Grammy winner’s battle with Alzheimer’s.
The film was not nominated in the documentary category, but “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” with music and lyrics by Campbell and Julian Raymond, received a nod for best song.
“I don’t know, man, it’s got to be politics,” Keach said. “All I know is that the film speaks very loudly to Glen’s journey and the fact that Glen has come out with Alzheimer’s and shown the world this disease, not on a fictional narrative but in a really authentic, true way.”
“Getting a film nominated, that’s great, getting a song nominated for the guy with Alzheimer’s, that’s even greater,” he said. “That’s something that’s never been done before and the song is so profound in what it says. And the way he performs it, he’s still Glen Campbell.”
Times reporter Josh Rottenberg reached J.K. Simmons, who is nominated for his lead role in “Whiplash,” while the actor is in Atlanta working on another film.
“It’s very gratifying and humbling,” Simmons said of the Academy Award nomination. “I’m honestly very glad in my case that it didn’t come a lot earlier in my life because I definitely wouldn’t have been equipped to deal with this kind of attention as a young man. I’m not sure I am now.”
Of the eight films nominated for the top Academy honor, none can really be called a blockbuster at the box office, at least so far.
The Times' Saba Hamedy looks at what each movie cost to make, as well as how much money each best picture nominee has made to date.
“Beyond elated, totally thrilled, humbled, honored” is how producer Ido Ostrowsky describes himself moments after “The Imitation Game” was nominated for best motion picture.
Fellow “Imitation Game” producer Nora Grossman said she was most excited that three of the eight best picture nominees, including her film, are based on true events.
“You think you know most of the story,” she said, “and every movie shows a new perspective and shows you something you didn’t know.”
The Times' Deborah Vankin caught up with 'Gone Girl' nominee Rosamund Pike this morning while the actress was alone and watching her two small sons -- one born just six weeks ago.
“It’s a mad clash of all areas of my life piling on top of each other in this surreal cocktail of motherhood and career -- and it’s also been grounding," she said. "The scene right now – in my bed and my baby covered in toys, and talking about the Academy Awards!”
Referring to recent discussion in Hollywood on the types of roles available for women, Pike seemed optimistic:
“I think there is [a shift] in the desire for real roles for women ... with all the roles on TV too. TV is so leading the way with what it can do with characters and film [has] to follow that.”
In the annals of great mispronunciations, how does this year's mangling of Dick Pope's name compare to last year's mangling of Idina Menzel's name?
Let's recap: John Travolta somehow transformed the singer of "Let it Go" into the bizarro Adele Dazeem during the 2014 live ceremony.
This morning, academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs mistakenly said, "Dick Poop," during the live reading of nominees. Pope is nominated for his work as director of photography for "Mr. Turner."
And the snickering began.
Times reporter Lorraine Ali just talked to Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) about his lead actor nomination.
“It’s one thing to be recognized, of course. The only words I can use for that are extremely grateful,” Keaton said. “But the fact that a movie like "Birdman" is getting recognized appropriately…. The fact it got so many nominations makes me feel encouraged. I’m not ever sure I’ll be involved in such a great experiment like this again. To be nominated is tremendous, but to be nominated in something like this is like triple tremendous.”
After the nominees were announced this morning, a particular criticism started to bubble up. For example:
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has delivered a response:
“Because of the competitiveness, you're not exactly sure how the five names are going to come up,” she said. “But I think what is important and what we cannot lose sight of is the fact that the discussion of motion pictures and filmmaking has gotten broader, and we are very happy to be involved in that discussion.”
“We are very active about increasing diversity throughout the Academy and recognition of talent and it will increase,” she added. “We're very much dedicated to that.”
In 2012, The Times found Oscar voters to be overwhelmingly white and male.
The Times' Saba Hamedy spoke to Ethan Hawke this morning shortly after he learned about his fourth Oscar nomination. He said he was impressed that an experimental movie like "Boyhood" garnered so many honors this season:
"I think when you're young you think you’re going to fall in love a million times or have a million wonderful experiences [but] you start to realize they really are rare," he said. "... It’s rare for an independent film to find its way through the maelstrom of corporate America. It feels pretty good … like, if you’re a basketball fan, an unseeded team making it to the Final Four.
In November, Hawke spoke at length with The Times' Steven Zeitchik about the movie and his eventful 2014. Read that at the link below.
Times reporter Amy Kaufman talked to supporting actress nominee Laura Dern ("Wild"), who revealed that her parents called her Thursday morning. What did they say?
"They were so sweet," she said. "My mother is so excited and my dad acted like, 'I knew you were getting nominated.' He acted very confident. 'The academy always honors work that should be appreciated.'"
"You just try to stay out of your own way and ego with needing to be defined by an award more than the artistic experience," Dern added. "It’s hard, because there’s so much talk and there are lots of interviews about it."
Above, Dern with her father, Bruce Dern.
Felicity Jones was still in her pajamas as she took a rapid-fire round of phone calls from friends and family celebrating her best actress nomination for the role of Jane Hawking, wife of physicist Stephen Hawking, in “The Theory of Everything.”
She's “just enjoying the moment. I was so nervous late last night, I woke up at 5 a.m. I couldn’t bear to watch [the announcement] on TV.
“It’s just phenomenal. Particularly for a film that we all cared so deeply about and I had such admiration for Jane Hawking.”
Amy Adams is a perpetual Oscar favorite. Jennifer Aniston is a Hollywood darling. Neither ended up in a thin field for actress. Instead, Marion Cotillard, in the little-seen French-language workplace drama “Two Days, One Night,” from the Dardenne brothers, pulled off the trick. Cotillard is something of an academy darling—she took a best actress statuette away from Julie Christie in 2007 with her turn in "La Vie en Rose."
“Unbroken” cinematographer Roger Deakins received his 12th Oscar nomination this morning. Although he attempted to sleep in, his wife woke him to share the news. But he’s been here before with films including “Skyfall,” “Fargo” and “No Country for Old Men.”
“I’ll probably go to the ceremony feeling a little more relaxed,” he said, laughing: He has yet to take home a golden statue.
Still, he’s happy about the honor. “It feels great because you’re nominated by your fellow cinematographers,” he said.
'Theory of Everything' producers choose 'blind optimism'
Last night, Anthony McCarten slept on his couch. He set an alarm for 5:20 a.m., just early enough for him to wake and make himself a cup of tea before the Oscars nominees were announced. Now he’s in high spirits with two nods for his work on “The Theory of Everything”: best adapted screenplay and best motion picture. The film received a total of five nominations.
“If you can’t feel good on a morning like this, you have no business waking up,” he said.
Although he and fellow “Theory” producer Lisa Bruce had been hearing the Oscar buzz for weeks, both were nervous as they watched the broadcast.
“The way you keep that energy going is true blind optimism, so we always dreamed of being at this place and hoped the Academy would recognize our work,” Bruce said.
Bruce is thinking gold. “You wouldn’t want to go to that party not thinking that,” she said with a laugh.
McCarten blames his friends and family for seducing him into hoping for a win. But “being nominated is victory in itself,” he said.
More on Dick Pope: Watch it again
Sony Classics, which distributed "Mr. Turner," the film cinematographer Dick Pope was nominated for, weighed in on the mispronunciation heard around the world.
It's Dick POPE, guys.— Sony Classics (@sonyclassics) January 15, 2015
You can watch the unfortunate mispronunciation again and again below.
Mark Ruffalo, nominated for his supporting role in “Foxcatcher,” woke up early for the good news. He had some kind words for his costars and director — and his favorite supporting actress nominee (she was in “Wild”).
Julianne Moore can barely breathe
She was nominated for best actress for "Still Alice."
'Poop' incident sparks what such incidents do
In case you haven't heard, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president, mispronounced cinematographer Dick Pope's name while announcing his nomination for best cinematography for "Mr. Turner."
You know what happened next.
Co-director Phil Lord isn't upset "The Lego Movie" wasn't nominated for best animated feature.
“Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” lead the pack with nine nominations each. Each was nominated for best picture, director, original screenplay and cinematography. “Birdman” also picked up nods for leading actor, supporting actor, supporting actress, sound editing and sound mixing, while “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was also nominated for costume design, film editing, makeup and hairstyling, score and production design.
Several other films also were nominated for multiple awards. Eight: “The Imitation Game.” Six: “American Sniper” and “Boyhood.” Five: “Foxcatcher,” “Interstellar,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash.” Four: “Mr. Turner.” Three: “Into the Woods” and “Unbroken.” Two: “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Ida,” “Inherent Vice,” “Selma” and “Wild.”
The Times' Nardine Saad was in the room to hear the nominations live. She snapped the breakdown tallying up the nominations for each film. How did your favorites fare?
Neil Patrick Harris responds to the noms
Neil Patrick Harris says he lost a bet on the nominations to the small blonde person in his kitchen.
Are these Oscar nominations boring?
With "Everything Is Awesome" from "The Lego Movie" nominated for best song, duo Tegan and Sara are cheering:
The song was arranged by Devo co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh and features Tegan and Sara and the Lonely Island.
Here are the acting categories
Times staffers shocked 'The Lego Movie' not nominated for animated film
First nominees announced
Here are some of the categories announced in the first round.
View from the nomination audience
Four films are clear front-runners. Oscar handicappers will be shocked if "Birdman," "Boyhood," "Grand Budapest Hotel" and "The Imitation Game" are not nominated.
Julianne Moore can rest easy. And if you're Michael Keaton or Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette or J.K. Simmons, there's no need to set the alarm. Your agent will be calling at the crack of dawn, bearing glad tidings of great joy. That and maybe news of a lucrative offer to play the villain in an upcoming Marvel movie.
Here are snapshots of three key races: lead actor, lead actress and director.