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Oscar Surprises and Snubs: Sniper Hits the Mark, Everything Is Not Awesome for Lego, Selma and Aniston

Plus: Dick Poop!

Joyce Eng

Birdman soared and The Grand Budapest Hotel housed a bunch of Oscar nominations, but there were a bunch of huge curveballs that shook up the race. Check out the biggest surprises and snubs from Thursday's announcement.

Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel lead Oscar nominations

American Sniper: Like he always does (see: Million Dollar Baby, Letters to Iwo Jima), Clint Eastwood came late to the party, but made a huge dent. His late-breaking war drama hit the target with the Academy, scoring six nods, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Bradley Cooper, who's also a producer. Cooper has now nabbed three straight acting nominations -- the first actor to do so since Russell Crowe 13 years ago. Had Eastwood made the Best Director cut, he would've been the oldest nominee ever at 84. He's already the oldest winner, having won 10 years ago for Million Dollar Baby.

Marion Cotillard: Two years ago, Cotillard, who won in 2008 for La Vie en Rose, was left off the Best Actress shortlist for Rust and Bone after grabbing Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. This time, the reverse happened. Cotillard picked up a handful of critics' prizes for Two Days, One Night, but her momentum stalled when the major televised precursors came about -- she was even snubbed by the BAFTAs. It's a much overdue second nomination for a star with a very admirable post-win resume.

Laura Dern: All of Dern's pre-release buzz died when her name failed to show up anywhere in the precursors, but the Hollywood scion is beloved within the community -- lest we forget, she was all over the circuit stumping for her pops Bruce Dern last year -- and managed to snag the final Best Supporting Actress spot for her lovely, if brief, work in Wild. It's her first nomination in 23 years. Like Cooper and Cotillard, she made the cut without Globe and SAG nods -- the 33rd, 34th and 35th time that has happened.

Bennett Miller: Mark Schultz might not like Miller, but the directing branch does. The Foxcatcher helmer picked up his second nomination for his austere, chilly drama. Foxcatcher exceeded expectations in many ways. The film, which was held over from 2013, wasn't a hit, can be off-putting to some, and got bulldozed by its subject Schultz in a series of angry tweets and Facebook posts last month right in the middle of nomination voting -- this is what he had to say Thursday -- but it garnered five nods nonetheless. Best Picture, however, was not one of them.

Dick Poop: Congrats to Dick Poop on his Oscar nomination! Wait, what? Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs hilariously flubbed Mr. Turner cinematographer Dick Pope's name during the announcements. Can't wait for Dick Poop and Adele Dazeem to host next year.

Jenand Jake: It was a bad day for the former Good Girl co-stars. Aniston (Cake) and Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) became the 35th and 36th performances to get snubbed by the Oscars after nabbing Globe and SAG nods. (Of note: Aniston is the second actress to miss out despite Globe, SAG and Critics' Choice nods since none other than Angelina Jolie for A Mighty Heart.) Aniston's snub might hurt more than Gyllenhaal's. Nightcrawler was an unexpected hit and player for much of the season, as was Gyllenhaal's surprising but deserving presence in the very crowded Best Actor field at other awards, but Aniston mounted an insane last-minute campaign for film that hasn't even been released yet, only to fall when it counted.

Selma: The powerful, poignant civil rights drama earned just two nods: Best Picture and Best Original Song. Ava DuVernay was aiming to be the fifth woman and first black woman to be nominated for Best Director. David Oyelowo's snub for his stirring portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. means this is the second time since 1998 that all 20 acting nominees are white. The knee-jerk reaction ascribes this solely to racism and sexism, and while the Academy does not by any means have the best track record with diversity -- the majority of its membership is old, white males -- there are other factors that could've played a role. Paramount botched the campaign. Because the film was finished very late, Paramount only sent screeners to Academy members, leading to snubs from the industry guilds (SAG, DGA, PGA; it was ineligible at WGA) and preventing the film from building any momentum. DuVernay was also not credited on the screenplay, on which she reportedly did a heavy rewrite of the third act, because screenwriter Paul Webb's contract gave him solo credit. And not unlike Zero Dark Thirty's torture controversy two years ago (though nowhere near as loud), there is that brouhaha over Lyndon B. Johnson's characterization in the film. All that combined, Selma had an uphill battle from the start and unfortunately couldn't get over it.

The Lego Movie: Though it yielded a Best Original Song nomination, The Lego Movie was MIA from the animated feature lineup. But don't worry, they have an Oscar already.

Gone Girl: Going, going... The fall smash earned just one nomination: Best Actress for Amazing Amy herself Rosamund Pike. While it was on the fringes for a Best Picture nod (ironic since it's the biggest moneymaker and the Academy expanded the field after the Dark Knight backlash), a Best Adapted Screenplay nod seemed assured for Gillian Flynn. You can probably blame the Academy for her snub too: Damien Chazelle's Whiplash script was forced to compete in adapted, where it received a nod, instead of original because the Academy's ludicrous rules dictate that the film was adapted from Chazelle's short film of the same name -- even though that short film was adapted from his feature script to raise financing money for the movie. Something tells us David Fincher couldn't care less about all this though.

Birdman (not) in editing: An esoteric snub, but Birdman's co-leading nine nominations does not count editing among them. No movie has won Best Picture without an editing nomination since Ordinary People 34 years ago. Guys, it wasn't actually shot in one take.

What were your biggest surprises and snubs?