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Get to Know the 2015 Oscar-Nominated Films

As the 2015 Academy Awards approach this Sunday, we wait in anticipation to find out who will be best dressed, what film will be declared Best Picture and which actors and actresses will be rewarded for their roles. Several of this year’s nominations are rich with Southern influence, starting with Best Picture nom “Selma,” featuring themes, locations and references pertinent to our culture. Here’s a roundup of all the films with Southern ties so you can be ready to root for them on Sunday:

Directed by Ava DuVernay
Starring David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey and Carmen Ejogo

Alabama-based “Selma” is up for Best Picture and Best Original Song, but it’s the film considered to be snubbed most this year. Director Ava DuVernay wasn’t nominated herself for Best Director, nor was David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King Jr. “Selma” centers around the life of the civil rights activist and his decision to initiate peaceful protest marches in Selma, causing the world to take notice of the supreme racial injustice in the South. No matter your thoughts on the nominations for this film, it’s a powerful depiction of the South’s racial history just as Best Picture winner “12 Years A Slave” was last year. (See real-life sites from “Selma” here.)


Directed by Richard Linklater
Starring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane 

Filmed over the course of 12 years and featuring performances from Texas-born Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane, Best Picture nominee “Boyhood” follows the life of young Mason Evans (played by Coltrane) throughout his adolescent years. Throughout the course of the film, Mason moves around with his mother and sister across the vast expanse of Texas, as he tries to make his way in the world. Hawke, Arquette and Linklater are also nominated, with the film getting nods for editing and writing as well.


The Grand Budapest Hotel
Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman

Coming in at 10 nominations, Texas native Wes Anderson’s latest film is up for Best Picture. This aesthetically stunning, whimsical film, narrated by the quirky lobby boy at an Alpine hotel, Zero Moustafa, revolves around Zero and his mentor Monsieur Gustave. Zero recounts several interconnected tales of his and Gustave’s life in and around the grandiose, pastel-hued Grand Budapest Hotel.


Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée 
Starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern

Southern-bred Reese Witherspoon is also of interest this Oscar season. While her film “Wild” is not up for Best Picture, she has landed herself a nomination for Actress in a Leading Role. “Wild” recounts the tale of a young woman who hikes the Pacific Crest Trail in hopes of piecing together her life.


Gone Girl
Directed by David Fincher
Starring Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris

Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl,” which features Rosamund Pike (nominated for Actress in a Leading Role), is set in Missouri. This psychological thriller revolves around the disappearance of Amazing Amy Dunne. As the mystery of her disappearance begins to unfold, suspicion proceeds to fall on her husband (played by Ben Affleck).


American Sniper
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller 

Another Best Picture film with Texas connections, this one depicts the life of Chris Kyle, born in Odessa and considered to be the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. Brought to life by Bradley Cooper, Kyle struggles with balancing 160 confirmed kills during four tours in Iraq against life with his wife and two children.

Tune in to the 87th annual Academy Awards this Sunday, February 22, at 7 p.m. EST. We’ll be live tweeting the show, starting with E’s live from the red carpet at 5:30 p.m. EST, so join in by following us @deepsouthmag.com. See all the 2015 Oscar nominations here

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