Oscars 2015: Reporter's diary

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent in Los Angeles

  • When: 17:30 PST Sunday 22 February
  • Where: Dolby Theatre, Hollywood
  • Host: Neil Patrick Harris

In the run-up to the Academy Awards, the BBC's Tim Masters meets the nominees and looks at the stories and issues around this year's Oscar race.

The red carpet has been rolled out and the golden statuettes are in place ready for the 2015 Oscars. With a host of British stars nominated for the top acting awards, who will come away victorious?


Image source, Reuters

So that's a wrap for another year.

Birdman soared, Eddie Redmayne swooped off with best actor, and there was plenty of politics amongst the glitz and the glamour.

This year's Oscars ceremony clocked in at around three hours 40 minutes and all of the eight best picture nominees got at least one win.

You can relive the whole thing as it happened by reading through our live text coverage of the ceremony.

It was good to see so many Brits clutching Oscar statues backstage, such as Ben Wilkins (sound mixing - Whiplash) and Anna Pinnock (production design - Grand Budapest Hotel) - both of whom I've met and written about during my time in Hollywood.

But already on Hollywood Boulevard, the red carpet is being dismantled... And some are boldly predicting which films might be up for an Oscar in 2016.

The Hollywood Reporter suggests Suffragette, a feminist drama with Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan; and Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs biopic, with Michael Fassbender as the Apple co-founder.

Birdman's Alejandro G Inarritu could be back next year with The Revenant, a period western starring Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio.

For now, though, it's time to close this diary and say thanks for reading.


I'm backstage at the Oscars with several hundred members of the world's press. We are gathered in a giant hotel suite adjacent to the Dolby Theatre.

Tonight's Oscar winners will be brought here after they have made their speeches on stage.

Never have so many journalists looked so smart. It's like we are all about to attend a grand ball. Sadly no photography is allowed, but I'm in my trusty tuxedo.

On my way here I started chatting to a man in a hotel lift. He turned out to be the manager of the Dolby Theatre. He looked very calm for someone whose venue is about to be seen by millions around the world.

It sounds like everything is ready for the show.

Before it starts, here's my preview of Hollywood's starriest night.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris (r) arrived early with husband David Burtka


It's Oscar day

The red carpet is receiving its finishing touches under overcast skies.

Security is tighter than I've ever known it. The streets around Hollywood Boulevard are locked down and all the Oscar venues have airport-style scanners in place.

Even getting out for breakfast takes twice as long as normal.

A local hotel is getting into the spirit of the event with these themed cocktails.

Just to clarify - I wasn't having cocktails for breakfast.


The day before the Oscars there are two final awards ceremonies in Los Angeles that couldn't be more different to the main event.

Image source, Getty Images

The first is the Independent Spirit Awards held in a giant tent on Santa Monica beach. It's a relaxed affair that sees first-time indie filmmakers alongside A-list stars.

There's not a tuxedo in sight and everyone shares the same portable toilets.

Several of this year's winners are likely to go on and win Oscars. Read my full report.

Image source, Getty Images

There were big laughs in the press tent backstage when Jared Leto, who won a Spirit award and an Oscar last year, stuck his head through the door flap and shouted: "Are you missing me?" before disappearing in the direction of the loos.

After the Spirits I got back to Hollywood in time for the Razzies - a slightly surreal gang-show in which the worst films of the year are given Golden Raspberry awards. Read my report.

Media caption,
Watch key catergories being awarded at the ceremony

The "winners" rarely turn up. The last big star to collect her Razzie was Sandra Bullock in 2010 for her romantic comedy All About Steve.

SATURDAY 15:00 PST / 23:00 GMT

One day to go

With a day to go I've had an early stroll along the Oscars red carpet.

It's still like a construction site, with workers busy putting the final pieces of the structure into place.

The forecast is for some rain on Sunday so the covers are up to keep the stars dry as they journey up the 500ft carpet in front of the world's press.

The giant Oscar statues that line the carpet are still under wraps.

Here's the route that will take the nominees to the Dolby Theatre.

It's worth remembering that when it's not the week of the Oscars this place is a busy shopping mall.

SATURDAY 02:00 PST / 10:00 GMT

From Baftas to Oscars?

Image caption,
Sound mixer Ben Wilkins with the Bafta he won for Whiplash

Much of the attention at the Oscars is about the A-list stars on the red carpet.

But the majority of the nominees are off-screen talent such as cinematographers, costume designers, film editors and musicians who help breathe life into a film.

On Friday I was at the Great British Film Reception in Hollywood which celebrates the UK's films and talent that have earned 39 nominations across 19 categories at the Oscars.

It was a chance to catch up with Ben Wilkins (see diary entry from 3 February) who is nominated for sound mixing for Whiplash.

He won a Bafta two weeks ago and admits: "It's been surreal, but a good sort of surreal. Sunday is a big deal".

His interest in all things sonic goes back to a BBC sound effects album that he owned as a child.

"I still have it," he admits, "An LP of horror and death sound effects. My favourite is spooky church bells - with crows cawing in the background."

Media caption,

Another Bafta winner was Michael Lennox, whose Boogaloo and Graham is up for live action short at the Oscars.

Set in 1970s Belfast, it is about two young boys who discover the facts of life with the help of their pet chickens.

The film won a Bafta and has been in demand at film festivals around the world.

"We call it our wee chicken movie," Lennox told me. "It's a comedy, and it's translated amazingly. People respond to the boys and their performances. It's a film with a big heart."

Lennox is already working on a feature film, in which the same boys from Boogaloo and Graham get to meet Father Christmas.

Its title? The Night I Got Shot by Santa.

FRIDAY 09:00 PST / 17:00 GMT

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Stephen Fry joins honorees Colin Davidson, Carrie Fisher and Stephen Colbert at the Oscar Wilde awards

"I've never been to the Oscars, I've been to few pre Oscar parties," Stephen Fry tells me at the Oscar Wilde awards in Santa Monica, where he is presenting an honour to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher.

But what does the host of the Baftas think of his Oscars counterpart Neil Patrick Harris?

"He is a really good idea for a host - such a good song and dance man. At the Oscars you do expect there to be big numbers. It's a shameless and unembarrassed celebration of the film year."

Is he backing Birdman or Boyhood for best picture?

"There's always the thought that something else might sneak in, but they are both extraordinary," Fry says.

"Film-makers admire the enterprise of Boyhood, but Birdman has an originality and a charm and a confidence. I would go for Birdman over Boyhood only because I'm shamelessly a child of my generation who finds anything above an hour and three quarters too much for a film!"

Also on the Oscar Wilde green carpet was US satirist Stephen Colbert who described Neil Patrick Harris as "a very attractive whippet-thin man".

"He's going to be a perfect Oscars host - he looks like a statuette."

FRIDAY 00:30 PST / 08:30 GMT

Anyone counting the calories may want to look away now.

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has revealed what the stars will be eating at the traditional Governors Ball immediately after the Oscars ceremony.

I had a sneak peak at the 30 different dishes Puck and his culinary team have cooked up for the 1,500 attendees.

"All of our guests will go the theatre hungry because they don't eat all day," Puck said.

Image caption,
Wolfgang Puck has been dishing up the goods for 21 years

"This is day to eat and drink whether you win or lose."

The Austrian-born chef is creating the gala party menu for the 21st year in a row.

Dishes include:

  • Baked Potato with Caviar
  • Baked Macaroni and Cheese
  • Dover Sole
  • Lobster Salad
  • Chicken Pot pie
  • Salmon with Caviar in the shape of Oscars

"I saw Barbra Streisand a couple of weeks ago and she said she was coming to the Oscars but I have to make the chicken pot pie," he said.

Sweets include a chocolate cake in the form of Charlie Chaplin's hat and 5,000 chocolate Oscars covered in 24 carat gold.

The chef told me he actually prepares enough food to cater for 2,000 people, but none of it goes to waste.

"We always have more than enough, but we have the trucks ready for afterwards and we bring all the leftovers to the homeless downtown.

"So nothing gets wasted and even the homeless can eat like George Clooney."

Image caption,
Tim Masters gets a sneak preview of what the stars might eat

THURSDAY 00:10 PST / 08:10 BST

On Hollywood Boulevard, the main road outside the Dolby Theatre has been closed and the red carpet is in place under a protective layer of plastic.

The 150m (500ft) red carpet walkway is a massive construction job that includes the famous bleacher seats where 771 film fans chosen by ballot can see the stars up close on Oscar day.

There are now traffic diversions all around this part of Hollywood. Security, as you might expect, is tight and no-one gets into the carpet without a pass.

Image source, AFP

Meanwhile, in the run-up to the Oscars the irreverent "Toscars" have taken place.

The annual event - run by British expats in Los Angeles - features low-budget parodies of this year's Oscar hopefuls made in just three weeks.

This year Big BirdMan swept the board with six Toscars, including best film.

Other parodies included With-Lash, BoyWood, The Immigration Game, American Snapper and (wince) The Great Rudapest Motel.

Image caption,
Only in LA!


Peake practice

Image source, Manuel Harlan

What's it like having a small role in a film which is up for best picture?

That's what I asked actress Maxine Peake when I caught up with her new play How to Hold Your Breath at the Royal Court in London.

In Oscar-nominated biopic The Theory of Everything, the Bolton-born actress plays Professor Stephen Hawking's nurse and second wife, Elaine Mason.

"I was in it for a couple of scenes," she tells me. "I got the scripts and I rocked up and I was made to feel so welcome."

"It's nice to be attached to something like that. It's so lovely when it does well."

And Peake hopes her role in such a successful film might lead to more movie roles.

"Normally I'm in films that are made for £5,000 and are all cobbled together - not that there's anything wrong with that.

"Because I'm attached to things like Theory of Everything, then maybe I'll get other nice little parts in bigger budget films."

Peake has high hopes for her co-stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones on Oscar night: "They are not only the best actors of their generation, they are the nicest human beings.

"When Eddie went to the Golden Globes he even sent me an email to say 'so sorry you're not here!'"


Memorable Oscars moments

What were the big talking points from last year's Oscars?

12 Years a Slave winning best picture? Benedict Cumberbatch's photo bomb of U2 on the red carpet? The Oscar ceremony selfie that nearly melted Twitter?

Let's not forget the moment when my 5live colleague Colin Paterson shouted "Bono! Bono! Bono!" at the U2 singer live on Radio Four's Today programme.

Read his blog about "Bono-gate".

And as I make my way to Los Angeles, check out my interactive video trip along the Oscars red carpet.


Harris: 'A hint of magic' at Oscars

Image source, Ampas

Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris has given a few clues about what to expect from Sunday's ceremony.

"I don't know where or how I can give spoilers without the Taser coming out again," he jokes in an ABC News video.

"We've come up with an idea that we think is unique to films but is also cool to watch live and... cool to watch at home."

Harris, making his Oscars presenting debut, adds: "I'm a magician so I wouldn't be surprised if there was a hint of magic."


Birdman soars in final week of awards

Image source, Birdman

There's been a flurry of film awards in the US with less than a week to go to the Oscars, with Birdman adding to its trophy cabinet.

After his Bafta win last week, Birdman's Emmanuel Lubezki took the top prize at the annual American Society of Cinematographers awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, beating Roger Deakins (Unbroken), Oscar Faura (The Imitation Game), Dick Pope (Mr Turner) and Robert Yeoman (The Grand Budapest Hotel).

Birdman is unique among this year's Oscar crop for looking like it was shot in one continuous take.

Lubezki's win cements him as the clear favourite for the cinematography prize at Sunday's Oscars. That would give him back-to-back Academy Awards victories - he won last year for Gravity.

Also on Sunday, Birdman was among the winners at the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards in LA.

As Variety reports, Birdman took the sound editing music award, while James Brown biopic Get On Up received the musical feature sound editing award. Unbroken won for dialogue/ADR, while American Sniper won for sound effects and Foley. Big Hero 6 won the animated film category.

On Saturday, the Cinema Audio Society also gave its top award to Birdman.

Despite its single win for Lubezki at the Baftas, Birdman has gathered considerable pre-Oscars momentum, with recent wins at the directors', actors' and producers' guilds.

Meanwhile, at the Writers Guild Awards, The Grand Budapest Hotel won the top film prize.

Wes Anderson's offbeat comedy, which is nominated for nine Oscars, won the award for best original screenplay.

Graham Moore picked up best adapted screenplay for his work on The Imitation Game, about World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing.

There aren't many awards left to go now before the Oscars on Sunday. Final Oscar voting ends at 17:00 PST on Tuesday (01:00 Wednesday GMT).

This week there are the Costume Designers Guild awards on Tuesday in Beverley Hills and the Oscar Wilde Awards, which honour the Irish in film, on Thursday in Santa Monica.

Then there are the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica on Saturday - closely followed by the Razzies, which salute the very worst of Hollywood.


Oscar face

Image source, AFP

Lady Gaga is to make her Oscars debut with a "special tribute performance" at this year's ceremony.

"Lady Gaga is a once in a lifetime artist whose musical evolution keeps growing," producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron said. "We are proud to have her perform on the Oscars for the very first time."

Earlier this week they announced that Jennifer Hudson would perform in one of "several musical sequences" at the ceremony on 22 February. Hudson won the Academy Award for supporting actress for the 2006 film Dreamgirls.

The list of presenters also keeps growing. Here are the latest: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Evans, Kevin Hart, Dakota Johnson, Jennifer Lopez, Shirley MacLaine, Sienna Miller, Chloe Grace Moretz, Eddie Murphy, David Oyelowo, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Margot Robbie, Miles Teller, John Travolta, Kerry Washington and Naomi Watts.


Anna Kendrick's Oscar moment

Image source, AP

Lots of new names have joined the list of this year's Oscar performers and presenters. There are 24 categories to get through, after all.

The latest is Anna Kendrick who will be performing an "Only on the Oscars moment" at the ceremony on 22 February, the show producers promise.

Kendrick was nominated in 2010 for her supporting role alongside George Clooney in Up in the Air. She appears as Cinderella in musical Into the Woods, which is up for three Oscars this year.

The latest presenters to be announced are Marion Cotillard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon - all of whom have nominations this year.

Streep earned a record 19th acting nomination this year for her supporting role in Into the Woods. She has won the best actress Oscar twice and supporting actress once. Winfrey is nominated for best picture as one of the producers of Selma.

Other presenters on the night include Josh Hutcherson, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana and Octavia Spencer.

Meanwhile, Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara and comedy-music trio The Lonely Island will perform Oscar-nominated song Everything Is Awesome from The Lego Movie.

The Lego Movie caused one of this year's biggest Oscar shocks when it failed to get a nomination for best animated feature. It was a different story at the Baftas where it took the equivalent prize, prompting the film's co-director Phil Lord to quip: "You guys win the award for Best Academy. This is the end of the awards road for us, so we can say whatever we want. There's no one left to impress."


All that jazz

With the ceremony less than two weeks away, here's a round-up of some recent Oscars articles:

With Whiplash, Birdman and Ida placing jazz at the heart of the action, The Guardian's John Fordham asks: Does the film world finally get what the genre is all about?

Can Oscar escape politics? Not this year, says The Hollywood Reporter. "Producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan will have to walk a political minefield between the right and the left, navigating potential explosions that could turn Hollywood's annual lovefest into a virtual war zone."

The Oscars just got even harder to predict, according to The Washington Post. "This year, two groups that usually see eye-to-eye looked straight past each other. On Sunday night, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awarded best film and best director to Boyhood and its creator Richard Linklater, while on Saturday the Directors Guild Award went to Alejandro Inarritu for Birdman."

USA Today says there's a little history being made in the original score category. "For the first time at the Academy Awards, no American composer was nominated," it points out. This year's hopefuls are Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything), France's Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game), German-born Hans Zimmer (Interstellar) and English musician Gary Yershon (Mr Turner).


Place your bets

Image source, Getty Images

If you watched the Bafta Film Awards last night, you might have noticed that neither Richard Linklater nor Wes Anderson were on hand to collect awards for Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel respectively.

That was because their presence was required elsewhere - by the Directors Guild of America (DGA), who handed out their own shiny baubles on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Ironically enough, the evening's top award went to neither film-maker - a fact that may well have ramifications for the Academy Awards in two weeks' time.

Instead it was Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (pictured) who took home the DGA's award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film, upping his chances of landing the best director Oscar on 22 February.

The DGA's award for feature film director has correctly predicted the best director Academy Award for 10 of the past 11 years and is consequently seen as a very reliable indicator of Oscars success.

So will Inarritu be crowned best director at the Academy Awards, or will it be Bafta's choice, Linklater? Right now, it's too close to call.

Speaking backstage after his win, Inarritu revealed he was wearing a tie previously owned by the late Billy Wilder and a shirt previously worn by Raymond Carver, the US author referenced in Birdman.

"I'm just a humble guy wearing those masters," said the Mexican film-maker.


'No shock'

Image source, Reuters

Eyebrows were raised last month when Ava DuVernay failed to get a best director Oscar nod for her Martin Luther King drama, Selma.

The former film publicist would have been the first African-American woman nominated in that category. But the lack of recognition came as no surprise to her.

"There was shock by a lot of people but not a shock by me," she told me on a visit to London ahead of the film's UK release. "I'd been telling people since October it wasn't going to happen. No one listened to me.

"I've worked on Oscar campaigns - I know how they work. I know that awards are awarded by branch and I know that people vote for what they know, who they've met and what appeals to them.

"This is a film that's outside of that bracket. I know maybe two people out of 300 in my branch - I wasn't going round shaking hands and meeting folk. I was out promoting the movie.

"And there's no precedent for it. Why would it happen for me and not for all the other black women who have made beautiful things before?"

Selma did get nominated for best picture and best song. But DuVernay said she was disappointed David Oyelowo missed out on a best actor nod for his role as civil rights leader King. "I didn't need anyone to tell me it was the best performance of the year."


Foreign language hopefuls

Image source, Sony Pictures Classics
Image caption,
A scene from Russian film Leviathan

The Academy Award for best foreign language film doesn't get a lot of attention on Oscar night - and some films remain little seen even when they win. But for some recent releases, such as Amour, winning the Oscar helped bring mainstream success. World Service arts reporter Vincent Dowd takes a look at this year's contenders and assesses their chances.

An 'indie' year?

Many Oscar watchers have commented this year's best picture nominees are dominated by independents over big studio movies. But just how true is that? This fascinating article by Yannis Tzioumakis, senior lecturer in communication and media at the University of Liverpool, argues this year's Oscars don't suggest a shift in the Academy's tastes.

"Instead, they demonstrate that the Hollywood majors are ever trying to copy and assimilate the independent film sector through an increasingly extensive use of their vast resources," he says.


Jack's back

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Jack Black at the Golden Globes last month

It's just been announced that actor, singer and comedian Jack Black will make a special appearance at the Oscars.

"Jack Black is a complete original comic voice and we're beyond thrilled that he has agreed to join the Oscars show in a very special sequence," said show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

Black's films include High Fidelity, Shallow Hal, School of Rock, King Kong, and Tropic Thunder, and he is the voice of the title character in the Kung Fu Panda films.

Black was a presenter at the 81st Academy Awards in 2009.


Familiar faces

Image source, Getty/Reuters
Image caption,
12 Years a Slave star Lupita Nyong'o won the best supporting actress Oscar in 2014

Not totally unexpected news: Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey and Lupita Nyong'o - last year's Oscar-winning actors - will return to present at this year's ceremony, the show producers have announced.

Inviting back the winners of the four acting categories is something of an Oscars tradition.

Blanchett won best actress last year for Blue Jasmine, McConaughey won best actor and Leto supporting actor - both for Dallas Buyer's Club - while Nyong'o took home the Oscar for supporting actress for 12 Years a Slave.

We already know that the ceremony on 22 February will also include musical performances from Tim McGraw, Rita Ora, Common and John Legend, and Adam Levine, as well as a special musical spot from host Neil Patrick Harris.


Big smile

Image source, AmPAS
Image caption,
Ben Wilkins (centre in striped tie) at the Oscar luncheon along with Reese Witherspoon (top left), Felicity Jones (third from top left) and Robert Duvall (bottom right)

British nominee Ben Wilkins (see above) has given a unique insight into the Oscar nominees luncheon.

"It's a calm before the storm," he tells me by phone from Los Angeles a few hours after the event. "It's very casual, people wander from table to table. It's a very pleasant lunch."

And then came the moment when Wilkins, who is nominated for his sound mixing work on jazz drumming drama Whiplash, was summoned to take his place for the panoramic photograph.

"I got a text from an old school friend last night asking, how did you organise it so you were standing directly below Oprah?" he laughs.

"I turned around and started looking at all the famous people behind me. It was extraordinary - Clint Eastwood, Rosamund Pike, Eddie Redmayne... all these amazing talents.

"It is heady stuff. I joked to my wife that I didn't want to get used to this but secretly I could quite get used to it."

Wilkins, who is based at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, grew up in Battersea, south London. The next big awards event on his calendar is Sunday's Baftas, where he is also nominated for his work on Whiplash.

"It was some of the most intricate editing we've ever done," he says. "In a strange way, I feel slightly more pressure about the Baftas because it's a return home."


Class photo

Image source, AMPAS

How many famous faces can you spot in the annual Oscars "class photo" for 2015? (The full list of names is below.)

British hopefuls Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones and Rosamund Pike were among the 150 nominees (out of 195) who attended the relaxed gathering at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, three weeks before the ceremony itself.

Redmayne, up for best actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, picked up a Golden Globe at the same venue last month.

He said: "I've been lucky enough to win and I had the most wonderful experience after the Golden Globes of taking the Golden Globe in my hand luggage through the x-ray machine at the airport.

"I did that thing where I went through and saw the bag go through and then I saw the woman stop the machine and go close up on this weird shaped thing and say: 'I think it's an award or something.' And I was just praying they would make me open it up but they didn't."

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne are the British co-stars of The Theory of Everything
Image source, AFP/EPA
Image caption,
Emma Stone (left), best supporting actress nominee for Birdman, and Reese Witherspoon (right), whose turn in Wild scored a best actress nod
Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Oprah Winfrey is nominated as a producer of Selma, while JK Simmons is favourite to win best supporting actor for Whiplash

Academy Awards producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron reminded nominees to keep their acceptance speeches to under 45 seconds. "Make it personal, funny and heartfelt," said Meron. "No lists!"

The golden statuettes will be handed out on 22 February.

Who's who:

Seated: Kristina Reed, Ian Hunter, David Lancaster, Mat Kirkby, Christopher Hees, Graham Annable, Bonnie Arnold, Robert Duvall, host Neil Patrick Harris, Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, Richard King, Gregg Rudloff, Barney Pilling, Aneta Kopacz, Emma Stone, Jason Blum, and Mathilde Bonnefoy.

First Row: Ronan Blaney, Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Cathleen Sutherland, Gary Dennis Liddiard, Jr., Russell Earl, Teddy Schwarzman, Nicolas Aithadi, E Max Frye, Ben Wilkins, Dice Tsutsumi, J. Christian Jensen, Julien Feret, Dirk Wilutzky, Andrew DeCristofaro, Dan Gilroy, Keven McAlester, Oded Binnun, Robert Kondo, Anthony Stacchi, Jeremy Dawson, Aaron Glascock, Hu Wei and Bub Asman.

Second Row: Daniel Sudick, Gary Fettis, Gregg Alexander, Brent Burge, Gregg W. Landaker, Ido Ostrowsky, Erik Winquist, Patrick Osborne, Adam Stockhausen, Craig Mann, John Lesher, Tim Crosbie, Robert Yeoman, Paul Franklin, Hans Zimmer, Travis Knight, Rosamund Pike, Jason Hall, Tomm Moore, Laura Poitras, Daniel Barrett, Helen Estabrook, Yoshiaki Nishimura, and Isao Takahata.

Third Row: John T Reitz, James Lucas, Andrew Lockley, Thomas Curley, Mihal Brezis, Peter Morgan, Felicity Jones, Jonathan Fawkner, Colleen Atwood, Robert Lorenz, Michael Keaton, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Armando Bo, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Damián Szifron, Roy Conli, Jeremy Kleiner, Torill Kove, Dan DeLeeuw, Rory Kennedy, Joel E Cox, Hugo Guinness, Diane Warren, Bill Corso, Stefan Eichenberger, Nora Grossman, Alan Robert Murray, Talkhon Hamzavi, and Michael Lennox.

Fourth Row: Alexander Dinelaris, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier, Bennett Miller, Reese Witherspoon, Anthony McCarten, Jason Canovas, Maria Djurkovic, Morten Tyldum, Pawel Pawlikowski, Suzie Davies, Sandra Adair, Bradley Cooper, Charlotte Watts, Lisa Bruce, Tom Cross, Common, Graham Moore, Mark Coulier, Bryan Grill, Frank A Montano, Eddie Redmayne, Julian Raymond, Orlando von Einsiedel, Gary Rizzo, JK Simmons, Patricia Arquette, Lou Pecora, Gary D Roach, and Chris Williams.

Fifth Row: Julianne Moore, Charlie Siskel, Dan Lemmon, Shawn Patterson, Edward Norton, Laura Dern, Danielle Brisebois, Oprah Winfrey, Damien Chazelle, Joanna Natasegara, Richard Linklater, Jon Taylor, Mark Weingarten, Dana Perry, Don Hall, Clint Eastwood, Joe Letteri, Paul Young, Marion Cotillard, William C Goldenberg, Abderrahmane Sissako, Richard Stammers, Steve Carell, Dean DeBlois, Dede Gardner, Scott Fisher, Becky Sullivan, Tomasz Śliwiński, Mark Bridges, Stephane Ceretti and Andrew Lazar.


Three degrees of Streep

Image source, Film

The latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the Oscar-garlanded Meryl Streep's career is so prolific that she's separated by no more than three degrees from all of this year's acting nominees.

Her supporting actress nomination for Into The Woods brings her Oscar tally to 19 - extending her reign as most-nominated actress ever.

Streep's acting credits reveal, for example, that she starred in Mamma Mia! opposite Amanda Seyfried, who was in Les Miserables with Eddie Redmayne. He is, of course, nominated for best actor for The Theory of Everything.

Click here to see the fascinating full list.


Oscars countdown

Welcome to this year's Oscars diary. With 20 days to go, this page will round up the latest developments as we move towards the movie world's biggest night.

Here are the basic facts:

The Oscars ceremony is on Sunday 22 February at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, and will be hosted for the first time by Neil Patrick Harris, the star of TV comedy How I Met Your Mother.

This year there are eight films up for best picture. Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel lead the field with nine nominations each. The Imitation Game is next with eight.

The full list of nominations is here.

And here are a few Oscars facts to kick off this year's diary:

  • Number of features eligible for best picture this year: 323 (288 last year)
  • Number of countries submitting foreign language films: 83
  • Number of Academy voting members: 6,292
  • Average US audience for Oscars in 2014: 43.7 million
  • Number of countries which will telecast the Oscar show: 225+
  • Number of Oscar statuettes created for 87th Oscars: 50
  • Number of competitive award categories: 24
  • Height of Oscar statuette: 13.5 inches (34.29 cm)
  • Weight of Oscar statuette 8.5 pounds (3.8 kg)

Don't forget to check out out our Oscars special section for our in-depth coverage.

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