Golden Globes: 'Birdman' Flies Above the Other Film Nominees

Birdman Still 3 - H 2014
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Birdman Still 3 - H 2014

'Boyhood' and 'The Imitation Game' lead the drama contenders

Birdman, Alejandro Inarritu’s cinematic tour de force about a movie star trying to jumpstart his career on Broadway, dominated the nominations for the 72nd annual Golden Globes, picking up seven noms. Its closest competitors were Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, the 12-year chronicle of a boy’s growth into manhood, and Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, a drama about British code-breaker Alan Turing, with five nominations each.

Birdman was submitted to Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s Globes in the comedy/musical category and will face off for best comedy/musical honors against The Grand Budapest Hotel, Into the Woods, St. Vincent, and, in something of a surprise, Pride, a British movie about a band of gay activists who lent their support to striking miners in Margaret Thatcher's Britain.

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Boyhood and Game are both competing for the best drama feature prize, where they were nominated along with Foxcatcher, Selma and The Theory of Everything.

In addition to its best comedy nom, Birdman picked up nominations for its lead comedy/musical actor Michael Keaton, who plays the star of a superhero movie hoping to make a comeback; supporting actress Emma Stone, who appears as his daughter; supporting actor Edward Norton, who plays a rival theater actor; and best director Inarritu as well as the movie's screenplay and score.

In the best directing category, Inarritu was joined by Boyhood's Linklater, Budapest Hotel's Wes Anderson, Gone Girl's David Fincher and Selma's Ava DuVernay. That meant, though, that a directing slot was denied Imitation Game's Tyldum despite the film's strength in other categories.

Selma, the drama about Martin Luther King which opens in limited release Christmas Day, was shut out at the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, announced Dec. 10, but it rallied at the Globes, securing four noms. Picking up best picture and best directing noms, it also collected noms for best song — "Glory," written by John Legend and Common — and best dramatic actor David Oyelowo, who portrays King.

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In the best dramatic actor category, Oyelowo was joined by this season's dueling Brits, Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Turing in Game, and Eddie Redmayne, who plays Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, as well as Steve Carell, who stars as creepy millionaire John Du Pont in Foxcatcher, and Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays the one fictional character in the category, a video journalist in Nightcrawler.

For best dramatic actress, the Globe voters rounded up Jennifer Aniston, who stars as a woman coping with chronic pain in the indie feature Cake; Felicity Jones, who appears as Hawking's wife in Everything; Julianne Moore, who portrays a woman confronting early-onset Alzheimer's in Still AliceRosamund Pike, who plays a missing wife in Gone Girl, and Reese Witherspoon, who stars as a woman who challenges herself with a 1,000-mile hike to conquer her demons in Wild. For Moore, the morning brought a double nomination since she was also cited in the best comedy/musical actress category for Map to the Stars, in which she plays an aging actress, a role that won her the best actress prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Moore's no stranger to double Globe noms — she also pulled off that trick in 2000 when she was nominated for both The End of the Affair and An Ideal Husband.

The best comedy/musical actress category certainly included the most eclectic list of nominees: In addition to Moore, Amy Adams for Big Eyes and Emily Blunt for Into the Woods, it included Helen Mirren, a perennial Globe favorite for playing a French restaurateur in The Hundred-Foot Journey, and young Quvenzhane Wallis, who tackles the title role in the upcoming musical Annie.

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Facing off in the best comedy/musical actor race are Birdman's Keaton, Ralph Fiennes, who plays a hotel concierge in Budapest, Bill Murray, who stars as a curmudgeon in St. Vincent, Joaquin Phoenix, who's a private eye in Inherent Vice, and Christoph Waltz, who plays painter/con-man Walter Keane in Big Eyes. Murray also scored double noms since he was nominated as a TV supporting actor for the drama Olive Kitteridge.

Boyhood secured nominations in both the supporting actor and actress categories for Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, respectively. Birdman pulled off a similar coup for Norton and Stone. The rest of the supporting actor noms went to Robert Duvall for The Judge, Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher and J.K. Simmons for Whiplash. The rest of the supporting actress noms were handed out to Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year, Keira Knightley for Game and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods.

To go along with their directing noms, Budapest's Anderson, Boyhood's Linklater and Birdman's Inarritu were all nominated for best screenplay. Inarritu shares his screenplay nom with his fellow writers Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo. Screenplay noms also went to Gillian Flynn, who adapted her own novel for Gone Girl, and Imitation Game's Graham Moore.

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For best original score, the nominees were Imitation Game's Alexandre Desplat, Theory of Everything's Johann Johannsson, Gone Girl's Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Birdman's Antonio Sanchez and Interstellar's Hans Zimmer

For best song, the line-up consisted of Lana Del Rey, who wrote "Big Eyes" for Big Eyes; Legend and Common, who wrote "Glory" for Selma; Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye, who wrote "Mercy Is" for Noah; Greg Kurstin, Sia Furler and Will Gluck who wrote "Opportunity," a new song that appears in the musical adaptation Annie; and Lorde, who wrote "Yellow Flicker Beat" for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I.

The animated feature nominees included Disney’s robot adventure Big Hero 6, the Latin-accented The Book of Life from Reel FX and Fox, Laika/Focus’ stop-motion-animated The Boxtrolls, DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was released by Fox, and Warners’ The Lego Movie.

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The foreign film nominations ranged from Switzerland’s Force Majeure and Israel’s Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem  to Poland’s Ida, Russia’s Leviathan and Estonia’s Tangerines Mandariinid.

Among distributors, Fox Searchlight, buoyed by Birdman and Budapest, led the pack, with 12 nominations. The Weinstein Co., thanks to movies like Imitation Game, Big Eyes and St. Vincent, had 10, and Sony Pictures Classics and Fox had six each.