Fox Searchlight knew
Almost a year later, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" racked up nine Academy Award nominations. But that was just the start of Fox Searchlight's good fortune. The studio then got another nine nominations from
Movies released by the studio earned a total of 20 nominations, the highest of any Hollywood studio in this year's Oscar race.
"We could see the momentum coming with the other awards shows – SAG, BAFTA,
The overwhelming number of nods for Fox Searchlight reflects the overall large number of art house films, many distributed by specialty divisions of major studios, receiving recognition at this year's awards.
The strong Oscar showing comes on the heels of a tumultuous end-of-the-year for the company following a hacking at Sony Pictures on Nov. 24. Hackers leaked employee information, pirated films and threatened moviegoers who wanted to see Seth Rogen and James Franco's comedy "The Interview."
But Michael Barker, co-president and co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics, said the hacking had minimal impact on its films including "Foxcatcher" (five nominations), "Whiplash" (five nominations) and "Mr. Turner" (four nominations). Julianne Moore also scored a best actress nomination for her role in the label's film "Still Alice."
"[The hacking] was a problem kind of day-to-day in dealing with the technology and how to communicate with people when it happened," Barker said. "We seemed to be passed it now and I don't think it hurt our campaigns or any of our films at all."
The only disappointment for Sony this year, Barker said, was "Foxcatcher" not getting a best picture nomination. Ultimately, however, Barker called the nominations gratifying. "We are so proud and happy," he said.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros.' "American Sniper," which was overlooked at the Golden Globes, scored six awards nominations. The Clint Eastwood-directed war drama debuted in December to a stellar $240,212 from just four theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave a total of 10 nominations to movies from Warner Bros., including two for "Inherent Vice," one for "The Judge," and one for "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies." However, the studio's animated feature, "The Lego Film," was left out of the batch.
Indie label IFC Films scored eight nominations total, including six for best picture front-runner "Boyhood."