"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is nominated for Best Picture in the 87th Academy Awards. Ralph Fiennes (left) and Tony Revolori star in "The Grand Budapest Hotel." (Fox Searchlight Pictures / MCT)
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is nominated for Best Picture in the 87th Academy Awards. Ralph Fiennes (left) and Tony Revolori star in “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” (Fox Searchlight Pictures / MCT)

Here’s a quick rundown of the Academy Awards’ “Best Picture” nominees for this year.

1. “Whiplash”

Telling the story of Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), a jazz drummer with high ambitions, “Whiplash” is an intense look at how aspirations turn into obsessions. Brian Henry Martin of UTV described it as “a dark and dazzling jive into the hidden world of competitive playing.”

“Whiplash” is rated R for strong language including some sexual references. It is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

2. “American Sniper”

From director Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper” was a surprise last-minute nominee. Telling the story of Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), a sniper serving in Iraq, the film is the highest grossing of the nominees. Decried as pro-military propaganda by many critics, The Signpost’s own Cassi Pierce described the film as “Patriotic. Riveting. Heartbreaking.”

“American Sniper” is rated R for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references. It is currently in wide release in theaters.

3. “Birdman”

Alternatively titled “The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance,” this film follows has-been superhero-movie actor Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) as he tries to save his reputation by putting on a Broadway play. Jim Schembri from 3AW calls it a “brilliantly conjured piece of stream-of-consciousness cinema.”

“Birdman” is rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence. It is currently in wide release in theaters.

4. “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Wes Anderson’s latest film follows the misadventures of the titular hotel’s concierge, M. Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), as he develops a friendship with the hotel lobby boy (Tony Revolori). An inventive, quirky comedy with surprising depth, Signpost correspondent Nate Clark said director Anderson “makes his audience feel as if they’re turning the pages of the greatest pop-up book ever written.”

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” is rated R for language, some sexual content and violence. It is currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

5. “The Imitation Game”

Telling the true story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), the genius who cracked the Nazi enigma code during World War II and created one of the first modern computers to do it, “The Imitation Game” was described by Kam Williams from Baret News as “a well-crafted character study.”

“The Imitation Game” is rated PG-13 for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking. It is currently in wide release in theaters.

6. “The Theory of Everything”

Examining the life of another genius, “The Theory of Everything” tells the story of renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) as he unravels the secrets of the universe while struggling with romance and a physical disability. Ed Johnson-Ott from Nuvo called it “engaging and moving.”

“The Theory of Everything” is rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material. It is currently in wide release in theaters.

7. “Selma”

Telling the story of Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo), “Selma” roots itself in 1965 during the heart of the civil rights movement. As Kofi Outlaw from Screenrant put it, “Selma manages to beautifully articulate a pivotal moment in history.”

Selma is rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment and brief strong language. It is currently in wide release in theaters.

8. “Boyhood”

Director Richard Linklater worked with the same actors over the course of 12 years to film the story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) as he grows up. Unprecedented in Hollywood, the film garnered praise from critics as David Keyes from cinemaphile.com called it “an important landmark in how great films can be made.”

“Boyhood” is rated R for language including sexual references and for teen drug and alcohol use and is available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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