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'Birdman', 'Grand Budapest Hotel' Lead Oscar Nominations

Chris Pine, left, and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the Academy Awards nominations at the 87th Academy Awards nomination ceremony on Jan. 15, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Hollywood has named its 2015 Academy Award nominees for the coveted Oscar statuettes, with a mix of dramas, comedies and historical biographies dominating the list announced Thursday.

Two movies led the selections, each with nine nominations, including for best picture. The show business satire Birdman tells the story of a struggling actor trying to reinvent his career as a Broadway director, while a comedy, The Grand Budapest Hotel, recounts the tale of a European concierge framed for murder as he tries to prove his innocence. The film’s nine nominations include nods for cinematography, costume design and original score.

Birdman star Michael Keaton will compete for the Oscar of best actor in a leading role.

"After having been around, it makes me feel good because I think you have to earn something," Michael Keaton, best actor nominee for "Birdman," told Reuters. "From the get-go, I always wanted to prove that I was in it for the long run, and I just always wanted to get better at what I did."

"We are thrilled and humbled by the overwhelming support of the Academy for Birdman and couldn't be more grateful for all of the nominations the film received for the outstanding work both in front of and behind the camera,'' producers Arnon Milchan and Brad Weston of New Regency said in a statement.

The film also earned nominations for supporting performers Edward Norton and Emma Stone and director Alejandro Inarritu.

"I am very happy for the whole Birdman flock because it took a lot of courage to make this film out of conventions," Inarritu said in a statement.

Two other best picture nominees are British biographical dramas, The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game, which portray the lives of, respectively, scientists Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing.

"So excited and honored to receive this recognition,'' Benedict Cumberbatch, best actor nominee for The Imitation Game, said in a statement. "To ring my parents, who are both actors, and tell them that their only son has been nominated for an Oscar is one of the proudest moments of my life.''

"Much gratitude to the Academy for recognizing The Imitation Game in eight categories,'' producers Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky and Teddy Schwarzman said in a statement. "Telling Alan Turing's story was the experience of a lifetime, and we never thought it would lead us here.''

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The other best picture nods went to Selma, a U.S. civil rights drama; the Iraq war-based American Sniper; Whiplash, about a young jazz drummer looking to achieve professional acclaim; and Boyhood, a coming-of-age tale filmed over 12 years that traces a boy's youth.

Patricia Arquette, from left, Lorelei Linklater, Ellar Coltrane, and Ethan Hawke pose in the press room with the award for best motion picture - drama for “Boyhood” at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 201
Patricia Arquette, from left, Lorelei Linklater, Ellar Coltrane, and Ethan Hawke pose in the press room with the award for best motion picture - drama for “Boyhood” at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 11, 201

Hollywood watchers say Boyhood could walk away with the Best Picture award. It has already won the top award for the best drama in the Golden Globes competition.

Other best actor nominees include Bradley Cooper in American Sniper, Steve Carell in Foxcatcher, Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game and Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything.

Marion Cotillard was a surprise nominee for best actress for the French-language film Two Days, One Night. She was joined by Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything, Julianne Moore in Still Alice, Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl and Reese Witherspoon in Wild.

"I am over the moon - actually I am on a plane, flying over the United States,'' Julianne Moore, who won a best actress nod for Still Alice, said in a statement. "My old friend Bruce Cohen was the first to reach me to tell me the news. I can't believe that I have gone from doing plays in the eighth grade with Bruce Cohen, to him texting me 100 years later to tell me about an Oscar nomination.''

Foreign-language nominees this year come from Poland, Russia, Estonia, Mauritania and Argentina.

"I am overwhelmed by an indescribable feeling, it is an honor for me and a great sign for Mauritania and Africa,'' Abderrahmane Sissako, director of best foreign-language nominee Timbuktu said in a statement. " It is the acknowledgement of work accomplished through the passion and commitment of women and men of different countries, united to defend our universal values of love, peace and justice.''

The Academy Awards will be broadcast on February 22 from Hollywood.

Some material for this report came from Reuters.

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