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Oscars 2015: Birdman battles Boyhood

OUTSIDE the venue, a section of Hollywood Boulevard is sealed off ready for the annual influx of A-listers as well as lesser-known nominees from the other side of the camera.

Security around the event is said to be the most sophisticated yet, with 1,000 police officers on duty and operations being run from an underground bunker.

On Thursday afternoon the streets near the Oscar venue were in lockdown after a suspected bomb threat which proved to be false.

The final round of voting by the Academy’s 6,292 members ended on Tuesday.

Many of the nominees have been attending a flurry of pre-Oscar events and screenings in and around Los Angeles.

Birdman and Wes Anderson’s quirky comedy The Grand Budapest Hotel have nine nominations each. The Imitation Game, with British actor Benedict Cumberbatch as codebreaking genius Alan Turing, has eight.

Clint Eastwood’s true-life Iraq war tale American Sniper and Boyhood have six apiece.

Oscar experts seem agreed the top prize will go to either Birdman or Boyhood.

“They’ve both done the rounds and picked up their share of gongs on either side of the Atlantic. Grand Budapest Hotel could be a surprise win but it’s not looking likely,” says Caroline Frost, entertainment editor of the Huffington Post UK.

Scott Feinberg, the Hollywood Reporter’s Oscars expert, thinks Birdman is the safest bet.

“Birdman might not have novelty of Boyhood, the serious themes of The Imitation Game, reflect the zeitgeist like Selma or be as moving as American Sniper, but, like two of the past three winners (The Artist and Argo), it’s about showbusiness,” he wrote in the latest edition.

One possible dark horse could be American Sniper which has taken almost $400m (£259m) at the worldwide box office – making it the highest-grossing film among the best picture nominees.

“It might give people pause for thought,” Frost says, “but it’s a very elite bunch of people on the West Coast who are voting for these awards and I don’t think Middle American cinemagoers are going to have that much sway.”



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