Oscars 2015: Few surprises as nominations are announced

WATCH: The Oscar nominations are out and some of the big names in Hollywood are once again in the running for their performances. But, the one race where there appears to be a lack of big names is in the biggest category of all — Best Picture. Mike Armstrong reports.

TORONTO — There were very few surprises early Thursday morning when the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced.

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel are tied with nine nominations each, followed by The Imitation Game with eight and six apiece for American Sniper, Boyhood.

American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash are vying for Best Picture.

WATCH: 8 trailers for Best Picture nominees

How to Train Your Dragon, written and directed by Canada’s Dean DeBlois, earned a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category against Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, The Tale of Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea.

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The Boxtrolls was co-directed by Graham Annable of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., a graduate of Oakville’s Sheridan College.

Toronto’s Craig Mann, a graduate of Fanshawe College in London, Ont., is nominated with Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley in the Sound Mixing category for their work on Whiplash.

READ MORE: Nominees react

The National Film Board of Canada scored its 73rd Oscar nomination for Montreal-based Torill Kove’s animated short Me and My Moulton. It is being streamed free until Jan. 17.

“One of the many great things about an Oscar nomination is that I will get some chances to express my gratitude publicly to all my colleagues and collaborators,” Kove said in a statement. “They are all amazing people and I can’t wait to rave about them.”

Alberta siblings Tegan and Sara perform the Oscar-nominated song “Everything Is Awesome” from the The LEGO Movie but the nomination for Original Song goes to writer/composer Shawn Patterson.

LISTEN: 5 songs nominated for an Oscar

Best Actor nominees are Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything). Best Actress nominees are Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) and Reese Witherspoon (Wild).

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Competing for Best Actor in a Supporting Role are Robert Duvall (The Judge), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Edward Norton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), JK Simmons (Whiplash).

Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Laura Dern (Wild), Keira Knightley (The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Birdman) and Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) are vying for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

READ MORE: Black actors, directors shut out of Oscars race

In the Directing category, Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman), Richard Linklater (Boyhood), Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher), Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) are nominated.

Made-in-Montreal blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past earned an Oscar nod for Visual Effects, as did Interstellar, which was primarily shot in Alberta. The latter is also up for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Production Design and Original Score.

The most commercially successful Best Picture nominee is The Grand Budapest Hotel, which has earned $175 million since its release last March.

The other seven nominees have not fared as well, though.

American Sniper has made $18 million so far but stands to earn much more when it opens in wide release on Friday.

READ MORE: Full coverage of Hollywood’s awards season

While the Oscar spotlight will likely help push The Imitation Game past the $100 million mark (it has grossed $82 million so far), eight other Best Picture candidates have a lot farther to go.

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Whiplash has made a mere $7 million since its October release and Selma has done slightly better, earning $15 million since Christmas Day.

As of Thursday morning’s announcement, The Theory of Everything has topped $46 million, Boyhood has made more than $43.5 million and Birdman has taken in a little more than $34 million.

To see the full list of nominations, click here.

The 87th Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will be broadcast live from Hollywood on Feb. 22.

BELOW: Nominations in more categories are announced.