"Birdman" dominated Thursday morning's announcement of the 2015 Golden Globes nominees, earning seven nods in all, including for stars Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton. The film was also nominated for best picture in the comedy or musical category.
Trailing behind with five nominations each were "The Imitation Game," about the mathematician Alan Turing, and "Boyhood," Richard Linklater's decadelong chronicle of a Texas family.
The Golden Globes nominees, which are decided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and were announced by Jeremy Piven, Kate Beckinsale, Peter Krause and Paula Patton at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, offered a few possible hints and clarifications about this year's Academy Award contenders.
"Birdman," starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up actor, seemed to bolster its chances of becoming the rare comedy to win a best picture Oscar. In the battle of the British biopics, "The Imitation Game" pulled slightly ahead of its rival, "The Theory of Everything," which earned four nominations, including a best dramatic acting nod for Eddie Redmayne as the physicist Stephen Hawking. The solid performance of "Boyhood," long considered an Oscar front-runner, came as no surprise.
Jennifer Aniston, however, may raise a few eyebrows with her nomination for dramatic actress. Best known for light romantic comedies, Aniston plays a woman haunted by suicide in the independent drama "Cake." The film, little seen by the public, won't be released until next year, but "Cake" has already had some pundits predicting a first-time Oscar nomination for Aniston.
Steve Carell, another actor known largely for comedies, wound up with a dramatic acting nod in "Foxcatcher." Carell donned a prosthetic nose and aging makeup to play a delusional millionaire in the film and has earned rave reviews for his performance. Mark Ruffalo, in the same film, was nominated for best supporting actor.
One of Thursday morning's biggest surprises was "Selma," a historical drama about Dr. Martin Luther King that earned four nods. Its little-known director, Ava DuVernay, found herself nominated alongside heavyweights like Wes Anderson (for "Grand Budapest Hotel") and David Fincher (for "Gone Girl"), while her film landed in the best dramatic picture category. David Oyelowo, who plays King, earned a nod for best actor; "Glory," the closing-credit song by John Legend and Common (who appears in the film), was nominated for original song.
Some of the year's highest-profile films performed middlingly, or even disappointingly. "Gone Girl," a glossy adaptation of Gillian Flynn's best-selling novel, earned a respectable four nods, including for Rosamund Pike as best actress and for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for best score.
"Into the Woods" and "Annie," two star-packed musicals due later this month, were mentioned only a few times. The former film earned three nominations (including for Meryl Streep as supporting actress) and the latter only two (including for Quevenzhane Wallis in the title role). "Annie" was not nominated for best comedy or musical.
Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken," a World War II bio-pic that seemed to have the markings of an award-winner, was shut out entirely, as was Clint Eastwood's Iraq war bio-pic "American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper. "Interstellar," Christopher Nolan's three hour space-epic, earned one nomination, for Hans Zimmer's score.