This year's other award-season players can be forgiven for having a restless night. Nominations for the 87th
Here are snapshots of three key races to watch Thursday:
If you look strictly at how the various guilds have voted in the last two weeks, you'd give the edge to Cooper and Gyllenhaal. Oyelowo, meanwhile, is the only person of color contending in an acting race this year. Will the academy give white actors all 20 nominee slots? It sure wouldn't speak well to the kind of opportunity the industry affords black, Latino or Asian actors, though it would reflect reality. Now might also be a good time to mention that Oyelowo is extraordinary as the Rev.
Then again, the other six contenders mentioned did marvelous work too, as did
Women did well this year too — just not in movies that made it out of (or even into) academy members' screener stacks. A race that truly included Gugu Mbatha-Raw (for either "Belle" or "Beyond the Lights") and
Moore will likely be joined by Reese Witherspoon ("Wild"), Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl") and Felicity Jones ("The Theory of Everything"), with the fifth spot going to either longtime academy favorite Amy Adams ("Big Eyes") or Jennifer Aniston ("Cake"), who, like Moore, stars in a movie that has barely been seen by actual audiences. Rightfully sensing that this as a chance to break career stereotypes, Aniston has been actively promoting her little movie, though no more so than many other contenders. We'll soon know how many voters saw her work.
Film critics liked the Golden Globes' nominee slate — Richard Linklater ("Boyhood"), Alejandro G. Iñárritu ("Birdman"), Wes Anderson ("Grand Budapest"), Ava DuVernay ("Selma") and David Fincher ("Gone Girl") — much more than the Directors Guild's list, which was announced Tuesday and subbed in an unknown, Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game"), and a legend, Clint Eastwood ("American Sniper"), for DuVernay and Fincher. The DGA is the latest guild to ignore "Selma," which has picked up just two nominations — for costumes and makeup — from industry groups. At this point, if DuVernay makes it in to the Oscar nominations, that will be among the day's surprises.