Golden Globes: Here are the movies that are now ahead in the awards race

'Boyhood' and 'Birdman' continue to be leading contenders while 'Selma' received several nominations at a crucial time in the race. Here's what the Golden Globe nominations mean for the rest of the awards season.

Atsushi Nishijima/Fox Searchlight/AP
'Birdman' stars Michael Keaton.

The films “Birdman” and “Boyhood” continued to stay at the head of the pack as Oscar contenders with the announcement of Golden Globe nominees today, while movies like “Selma” got a bit of a boost.

While typically a preview of what films might make the cut when Oscar nominations are announced, the Golden Globes do make things tricky. In some categories, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (which awards the Globes) divides films into “drama” and “musical or comedy.” So that means while some movies they nominated, like Best Motion Picture – Drama nominee “Boyhood,” will most likely earn a nod when Oscar Best Picture nominees are announced, others, like Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy nominee “Pride,” most likely will not. 

In any case, “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” and “The Theory of Everything” all continue to seem likely contenders for a Best Picture nomination. “Boyhood” and “Theory” were both nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, while “Birdman” is a Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy contender. “The Imitation Game,” which received a Best Motion Picture – Drama nod, is also doing well for itself recently. “Imitation” also received a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, the Screen Actors Guild Awards equivalent of Best Picture, when the SAG Awards nominees were announced yesterday. “Imitation” actor Benedict Cumberbatch has long been considered a likely contender for a Oscar Best Actor nomination, but some critics were less won over by the film itself, with Monitor film critic Peter Rainer, for one, giving the film a B and writing of Cumberbatch, “His performance… is a great deal more interesting than the movie.”

Meanwhile, “Foxcatcher” also earned a nod for Best Motion Picture – Drama and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” made the cut for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. "Hotel" in particular may not be a sure thing for a Best Picture Oscar nomination, but this definitely boosts its profile. “Selma” missed out on the recent SAG Award nominations altogether, so the fact that it earned a Best Motion Picture – Drama nod may mean it’s again a likely contender for an Oscar Best Picture nomination. 

The movie “Into the Woods” was long considered a likely film to make the cut for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and it did earn a nomination. Time will tell whether it makes the cut for an Oscar Best Picture nod as well. The movies “Pride” and “St. Vincent” both earned a Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy nomination but neither has been considered likely for an Oscar Best Picture nomination.

The Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama category included some of the actors long considered locks for an Oscar Best Actor nod: “Foxcatcher” actor Steve Carell, Cumberbatch, and “Theory” actor Eddie Redmayne. Jake Gyllenhaal of “Nightcrawler,” who also received a SAG Award nomination yesterday, also made the cut here, as did “Selma” actor David Oyelowo. It’s been considered likely that the Oscar Best Actor nominees will consist of Carell, Cumberbatch, Redmayne, and “Birdman” actor Michael Keaton, who earned a Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy nod because “Birdman” was considered a comedy. Maybe Oyelowo will fill that fifth slot. 

Jennifer Aniston’s chances of a Best Actress Oscar nomination were boosted yesterday with a SAG Award nomination and she appears here, too, with a Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama nomination for the film "Cake." The others are the actresses long considered likely for a Best Actress Oscar nomination: “Wild” actress Reese Witherspoon, Rosamund Pike of “Gone Girl,” “Theory” actress Felicity Jones, and Julianne Moore of “Still Alice.” Amy Adams of “Big Eyes,” who earned a Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy nod, could slip in at the Oscars instead of Aniston, however.

The supporting acting categories are easier because the Globes don’t separate them by “drama” and “musical or comedy.” In the Supporting Actor category, “The Judge” actor Robert Duvall again made the cut as he did yesterday in the SAG Award nominations (this category’s contenders are identical to the SAG Award Best Supporting Actor nominees). He came out of nowhere in this category for some. Meanwhile, actors long considered strong contenders – "Foxcatcher” actor Mark Ruffalo, “Birdman” actor Edward Norton, and “Boyhood” actor Ethan Hawke – all earned nods. Frontrunner J.K. Simmons of “Whiplash” of course made the cut as well.

The Best Supporting Actress category was very similar to yesterday’s SAG Award nominees, with “Imitation” actress Keira Knightley, “Boyhood” actress Patricia Arquette, Meryl Streep of “Into the Woods,” and “Birdman” actress Emma Stone all earning nods. For the SAG Awards, “St. Vincent” actress Naomi Watts made the cut for this category, but “A Most Violent Year” actress Jessica Chastain earned the nomination this time. Is “Violent” catching the attention of awards season voters? 

As for the Best Director prize, "Birdman" director Alejandro González Iñárritu and Richard Linklater of "Boyhood" received nods – no surprise – and David Fincher of "Gone Girl" (which did not earn a Best Motion Picture – Drama nod) and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" director David Fincher also received nominations. "Selma" director Ava DuVernay received a nomination as well, another sign of support for the film. 

The Golden Globes will air on Jan. 11.

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