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8 things you didn’t know about this year’s Oscar nominees

1. The speeches in “Selma” aren’t Martin Luther King Jr.’s real words.

“Selma” director Ava DuVernay didn’t get the rights to the famed civil rights leader’s speeches so she rewrote them herself.

2. It’s not just hobbits wearing prosthetic ears.

In “The Theory of Everything,” makeup artists had to add subtle details to Eddie Redmayne’s character physicist Stephen Hawking to make his aging look more realistic. As the character of Hawking grew older, Redmayne wore prosthetic earlobes.

Lorelei Linklater as Samantha, Ethan Hawke as Mason Sr. and Ellar Coltrane as Mason Jr. at age 9, in Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood." Photo by Matt Lankes/IFC Films

Lorelei Linklater as Samantha, Ethan Hawke as Mason Sr. and Ellar Coltrane as Mason Jr. at age 9, in Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood.” The film is nominated for best picture, supporting actor for Hawke, supporting actress for Patricia Arquette, director for Linklater, screenplay and editing. Photo by Matt Lankes/IFC Films

3. Childhood angst almost killed a character in “Boyhood.”

Lorelai Linklater, the daughter of “Boyhood” director Richard Linklater, acted in the movie as Samantha, the older sister of lead character Mason Evans Jr. At one point, Lorelai asked her father to kill her character off because she didn’t want to be in it anymore.

4. The “American Sniper” baby was fake.

Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” was No. 1 at the box office in mid-January, but it didn’t get there without a fair bit of criticism. Its portrayal of the military aside, critics and viewers are crying out against main character Chris Kyle’s baby. It was fake. In a one-minute, 13-second scene, actor Bradley Cooper held the doll close before placing it in a crib. The prop’s stiffness made it into several reviews.

"Whiplash" Photo by Sony Pictures Classics

Miles Teller as the student and J.K. Simmons as the teacher in “Whiplash,” which is nominated for best picture, supporting actor for Simmons, adapted screenplay, editing and sound mixing. Photo by Sony Pictures Classics

5. Miles Teller in “Whiplash” was practicing all wrong.

According to Mark Sherman, an international performer and jazz faculty at the Juilliard School, Miles Teller’s drumming technique was a little off. “He’s practicing, really trying to get faster and faster, and he’s drawing blood. That’s unrealistic,” Sherman told Vulture. “People don’t draw blood like that, playing music. It just doesn’t happen, and if you do, you’re holding the sticks wrong. You’re screwed up technically if you’re drawing blood.”

Grand Budapest Hotel Photo by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Grand Budapest Hotel is nominated for best picture, director for Wes Anderson, original screenplay, cinematography, editing, production design, costume, makeup and original score. Photo by Fox Searchlight Pictures

6. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” does not take place in Budapest, Hungary, but rather, the fictional European country Zubrowka.

Although it is never featured in the film, Zubrowka even has its own national anthem with the following stanzas:

The spirit of Zubrowka will not be abated
Your glory and grandeur will be forever stated!

The anthem was featured in a fictional history video of Zubrowka produced to accompany a new collection of writing by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, who inspired the film.

7. Scenes in “Boyhood” were based off real-life events from the actors’ lives.

In “Boyhood,” protagonist Mason Jr., receives a Beatles mix CD as a 15th birthday gift from his on-screen father played by Ethan Hawke. In real life, Hawke gave his oldest daughter Maya the same gift. The liner notes Hawke wrote Maya were reworked for use in the film.

Michael Keaton as Riggan in "Birdman." Photo by Twentieth Century Fox

Michael Keaton as Riggan in “Birdman,” which is nominated for best picture, actor for Keaton, supporting actor for Edward Norton, supporting actress for Emma Stone, director for Alejandro González Iñárritu, original screenplay, cinematography, sound mixing and sound editing. Photo by Twentieth Century Fox

8. In order to make “Birdman” appear as though it was shot in one long, continuous take, the crew was forced to be creative.

Armed with a budget drastically smaller than the superhero films it satirizes, the “Birdman” crew made sure to keep costs down. One scene called for Michael Keaton’s washed-up actor to scurry across New York’s Time Square half-naked in underwear and socks. This needed to be done in one take. So, to avoid onlookers derailing the scene and without the money to just hire dozens of extras, a marching band was assembled to distract people from spying the nearly naked Keaton rushing by.

PBS NewsHour reporter Joshua Barajas contributed to this report.

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