The reaction to this week's Oscar nominations was a loud one, because Academy voters played it so safe in a year when films expanded to explore a diverse array of themes. Throughout 2014, actors and filmmakers bravely took on big challenges, and many were recognised with nominations. But critics have been quick to point out that all of the acting and directing nominees are white, and #OscarsSoWhite was the trending hashtag on Twitter.

Neil Patrick Harris is hosting this year's Academy Awards
Neil Patrick Harris is hosting this year's Academy Awards

The most obvious snub was for Selma, which only received nods for Best Picture and Best Song (for Common and John Legend's 'Glory'), leaving out the acclaimed actor David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay, who would have been the first African-American woman ever nominated for Best Director.

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But then very few women were nominated for the creative awards ('Boyhood' editor Sandra Adair was a rare exception). The expected nod for Gillian Flynn's 'Gone Girl' screenplay even failed to materialise.

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Others missing out on expected nominations included Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams and Jennifer Aniston. 'Interstellar' only received a handful of technical nods. 'A Most Violent Year' was ignored completely. 'Force Majeure' is missing from the Foreign-Language Film line-up. The Roger Ebert film 'Life Itself' was missing from Best Documentary. And perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the omission of 'The Lego Movie' in the Best Animated Feature category - the film had been considered the frontrunner to win the Oscar.

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