Oscars 2015: First-time nominees 'elated' by best picture nominations

Oscars 2015: Best picture category loaded with first-time nominees

Among the best picture Academy Award nominees announced Thursday were more than 15 men and women who, for the first time, can add “Oscar-nominated producer” to their list of accolades.

Among the first-timers is Anthony McCarten, who with Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Lisa Bruce was nominated for producing best picture nominee “The Theory of Everything.” McCarten slept on his couch last night in anticipation, he said. An alarm on his cellphone woke him at 5:20 a.m., just early enough to make a cup of tea and tune in to the 5:30 a.m. academy announcement with members of his family in tow. Despite the early wake-up, he was in high spirits with two nominations, the second for adapted screenplay. "The Theory of Everything" received a total of five nominations.

“If you can’t feel good on a morning like this, you have no business waking up,” McCarten said.

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Bruce said that although "Theory" had been the subject of Oscar buzz for weeks, she and McCarten were nervous. As they watched the broadcast, they thought back to the energy it took to make their film.

“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.

That means ahead of Oscar night, Bruce is thinking gold.

“You wouldn’t want to go to that party not thinking that,” she said, laughing.

The producers of “The Imitation Game” starring Benedict Cumberbatch are also first-time nominees.

“Beyond elated, totally thrilled, humbled, honored,” is how Ido Ostrowsky described his feelings moments after being nominated for best picture.

Though he tried to sleep in, the incoming texts and calls wouldn’t let him.

“I didn’t expect it,” Ostrowsky said. “It made me nervous that people were so excited, but I’m thrilled that the academy recognized the movie.”

Co-producer Nora Grossman had a mini-party with bagels and coffee. She said the film's total number of nominations -- eight -- was unexpected. She’s most excited, however, that three of the eight best picture nominees (“The Imitation Game,” “Selma” and “The Theory of Everything”) are based on true events.

“You think you know most of the story,” she said, “but every movie shows a new perspective and shows you something you didn’t know.”

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“The Imitation Game” producer Teddy Schwarzman said he was awake 30 minutes before the Oscar broadcast tending to his 1-month-old. “She had my family up,” he said, laughing.

When filming began, Schwarzman said, an Oscar nomination was far from thought.

“When we started out this process, it was a screenplay from a first-time screenwriter,” he said. “It was a question of how do we build this into something that respects Alan Turing’s legacy … organically but cinematically that will do history justice.”

"Whiplash" producer Helen Estabrook woke this morning to hear her film get five Oscar nominations -- the last, much to her surprise, for best picture.

“I honestly couldn’t feel better,” Estabrook said. “A year ago today, I was just hoping someone was going to buy the movie so people would see it.”

After the academy announcement, she drove from her Silver Lake home to Santa Monica for breakfast with "Whiplash" director Damien Chazelle. The nomination is “the best birthday present,” she said, noting her other big day will be Saturday.

Perhaps soaring the highest of all newly-minted Oscar nominees are two of the producers of “Birdman.” The film, starring Michael Keaton, earned a nod for producer James Skotchdopole, who said he was “floating 10 feet above the ground.”

“It’s incredible to see the film so recognized,” he said. “Nine [nominations], what more can you expect?”

Another “Birdman” producer, John Lesher, awoke to the buzzing of his iPhone.

“It feels great and I’m just super proud of Alejandro for really going out on a high wire,” Lesher said of director Alejandro Inarritu.

Also nominated for best picture are the Ava Duvernay-directed "Selma," Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” and Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

The Oscars will be presented Feb. 22.

Twitter: @TrevellAnderson

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