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Critics Choice nominations give added boost to ‘Birdman’

The “awards season” is now racing ahead to the Oscar nominations on Jan. 15, and the announcement of the Critics Choice Award nominations Monday could have added impact on those all-important Academy Award nods.

As was the case with the Golden Globe nominations and other critics groups’ announcements already out there, the Critics Choice nods — from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the nation’s largest critics group — add more support to the Oscar chances for “Birdman” and lead actor Michael Keaton. (I am a member of the BFCA and a voter for the Critics Choice Awards.)

“Birdman” led the charge with 13 nominations in total, including best picture, actor, supporting actor and actress (Edward Norton, Emma Stone), director and original screenplay. In fact, because of the large number of BFCA categories, Keaton was nominated not only for best actor, but also for best actor in a comedy.

Not far behind “Birdman” was a film released way back in March but getting lots of year-end attention:Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — honored with 11 nominations from the broadcast critics. Ralph Fiennes was nominated for best actor and, like “Birdman,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” was nominated for best acting ensemble.

As noted above, the broadcast critics include categories other groups do not award, including best young actor/actress, best action film (with corresponding acting categories) and best sci-fi/horror film. Because of that, Bradley Cooperoverlooked by the Golden Globes — received a nomination for best actor in an action film for “American Sniper,” putting him up against Tom Cruise (“Edge of Tomorrow”), Chris Evans (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”), Brad Pitt (“Fury”) and Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy”). See full list of nominations here.

The Critics Choice Awards, hosted by Michael Strahan, will be presented in a ceremony being televised live on A&E on Thursday, Jan. 15. Honored with special awards that evening will be Kevin Costner, Ron Howard and Jessica Chastain.