‘Birdman,’ ‘Budapest’ top Oscar nominations with 9 nods each

World Today

Oscar statuettes are on display during the Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California on January 15, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MARK RALSTON

Two extravagant comedies, “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” dominated nominations for the 87th annual Academy Awards with nine nods each, while “Boyhood” remained the widely acknowledged front-runner.

The three films were nominated for best picture on Thursday along with “Whiplash,” ”The Theory of Everything,” ”The Imitation Game,” ”American Sniper” and “Selma.” The nominations were announced from Beverly Hills, where they were broadcast and streamed live.

World War II code-breaker thriller “The Imitation Game,” about unsung hero Alan Turing, trailed close behind with eight nominations, including best actor for Benedict Cumberbatch.

“I am knocked for six by this,” said Cumberbatch of his first Oscar nod. “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.”

Also with six nominations was Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age epic “Boyhood.” On Sunday, the 12-years-in-the-making drama won best drama at the Golden Globes, the latest in a string of awards for the unique film.

But Wes Anderson’s old Europe caper “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which also won best comedy or musical at the Globes, has emerged as the most unexpected awards heavyweight. It managed nine nominations without a single acting nod. Instead, it was repeatedly cited for Anderson’s meticulous craft in categories including directing, production design, makeup, and screenplay.

With $59.1 million at the North American box office (opening all the way back in March), “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is also the most money-making best-picture entry in an especially modestly sized batch of nominees.

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Story compiled with information from CCTV America and AP reports.