In what was truly a roller-coaster awards season, the Academy ultimately crowned “Birdman” as the best film of 2014, giving it four Oscars including the top prize of the night. “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s adolescent drama that was 12 years in the making, was long considered a frontrunner, until it started losing the guild awards. It only took home a single Oscar for best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette.
Here are the 12 biggest snubs and surprises from Oscars night.
SURPRISE: “Birdman,” best picture
A victory for any of the eight nominees for best picture would be considered a surprise, given how close this year’s award season race has been. Many predicted there would be a picture/director split this year, much like last year (between “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity”), but that turned out not to be the case. “Birdman” swept the top two prizes of the night, causing “Boyhood” fans great heartache.
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SURPRISE: Alejandro G. Inarritu, best director, “Birdman”
Linklater, who won the Golden Globe, lost momentum after the DGA, which went to Inarritu. But many pundits still thought that Linklater would emerge victorious in this category, for the simple fact that he spent so long making “Boyhood.” It turned out that the Academy really loved “Birdman.”
SURPRISE: “Big Hero 6,” best animated film
It was yet another showdown between Disney (“Big Hero 6”) and DreamWorks (“How to Train Your Dragon 2”) in this category. The original “How to Train a Dragon” lost to “Toy Story 3” in 2010, and the sequel couldn’t cross the finish line either, despite picking up the early precursors like the Golden Globe and the Annie Award.
SURPRISE: “Birdman,” best original screenplay
One of the few awards that “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which landed four Oscars (tying with “Birdman”), didn’t win was best original screenplay. It was considered the frontrunner after taking home the WGA.
SURPRISE: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” best hair/makeup
Oscar predictors were divided if this category would go to “Guardians of the Galaxy” (with Zoe Saldana and her gecko green skin as Gamora) or “Foxcatcher” (with Steve Carell and his prosthetic nose). It was an unexpected surprise that it went to “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and an early indication that the Wes Anderson comedy would do well.
SURPRISE: “Interstellar,” best visual effects
Christopher Nolan’s space epic, which was nominated for five Oscars, managed to eke out a single award in this technical category. But the fact that “Interstellar” beat frontrunner “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is proof, once again, that the Academy doesn’t understand motion-capture.
SURPRISE: Best editing, “Whiplash”
Richard Linklater’s editor Sandra Adair spent 12 years sifting through footage to assemble “Boyhood,” but the Academy gave the award to “Whiplash” instead. It was an early foreshadowing that “Boyhood” wouldn’t win best picture.
SURPRISE: Sound mixing, “Whiplash”
“American Sniper,” which won best sound editing, was expected to win both sound categories, but it lost the first award to “Whiplash.”
IFC’s “Boyhood” had six Oscar nominations, but it only managed to win a single award — for best supporting actress Patricia Arquette. Many thought it would win at least best picture or best director, or possibly both.
SNUB: “American Sniper”
The biggest-grossing movie at this year’s Oscars, “American Sniper,” which has amassed more than $300 million at the domestic box office, only received a single Oscar for best sound editing. Some had predicted it would upset in either best actor (which went to Eddie Redmayne) or best adapted screenplay (where “The Imitation Game,” which had eight nominations, won its only Oscar).
SNUB: Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Since “Birdman” swept both picture and director, it’s s a little surprising that its star didn’t win an Oscar as well. Keaton was an early favorite in the category, until Eddie Redmayne — who delivers a career-changing performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” — won the SAG and BAFTA trophies, which are usually good predictors for the Oscar.
SNUB: Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Even though “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won four awards, Anderson lost in both the directing and screenwriting categories. Like Linklater, Anderson has yet to win an Academy Award.