By Ryan Faughnder and Saba Hamedy
Los Angeles Times (TNS)
LOS ANGELES — Fox Searchlight Pictures took flight at the Oscars thanks to “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
The specialty film label, a division of 20th Century Fox, racked up eight awards during the Sunday night telecast to beat out Hollywood rivals. Its victories consisted of four for Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman”—including best picture and director—and four more for Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
It was a strong follow-up to last year, when Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years A Slave” won best picture. With 2009’s winner “Slumdog Millionaire,” three Searchlight pictures have now won the top prize.
“Birdman,” starring Michael Keaton, has grossed $37.7 million in the U.S. and Canada, while “The Grand Budapest Hotel” took in $59 million in domestic ticket sales.
Fox Searchlight came into this year’s Oscar festivities with 20 nominations (nine apiece for “Birdman” and “Grand Budapest Hotel,” plus two for “Wild.”)
Sony Pictures Classics came in second place among the film companies with four wins, led by a strong showing from “Whiplash” (supporting actor for J.K. Simmons, sound mixing, and film editing). Julianne Moore, as expected, won lead actress for her performance in Sony Classics’ Alzheimer’s drama “Still Alice.”
Films from the Sony Pictures Entertainment subsidiary were nominated for 18 awards. Its dark Steve Carell-Channing Tatum drama “Foxcatcher” came up empty, despite five nominations.
IFC Films, which arrived at the Oscars with its first-ever best picture nominee, went home with just one Oscar for its 12-years-in-the-making coming-of-age tale “Boyhood.” Patricia Arquette won supporting actress for her role as the mother of the lead character.
Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures raked in two Oscars—one for the visual effects in the space epic “Interstellar” and another for John Legend and Common’s song “Glory” in the civil rights drama “Selma.”
Disney swept the animation categories with the computer animated feature “Big Hero 6” and the winning short film “Feast.”
The Weinstein Co., a stalwart of Hollywood’s awards season, won this year for adapted screenplay for “The Imitation Game.” It was this year’s second-highest-grossing best picture nominee, with about $84 million domestically. Weinstein also picked up an award for the Edward
Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” distributed through its Radius label.
“American Sniper” delivered one trophy for Warner Bros. (sound editing) out of six nominations. It was easily the biggest commercial success of the best picture field, with nearly $320 million in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada as of Sunday—more than the seven other nominees combined.
Universal Pictures’ Focus Features also nabbed one award with Eddie Redmayne’s lead actor win for “The Theory of Everything.” The film grossed $34 million in domestic ticket sales.