Oscar news: ‘The Imitation Game,’ ‘Mr. Turner,’ ‘Calvary’ reap BIFA bids

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Among those films in contention for the British Independent Film Awards is “The Imitation Game,” which reaped bids for Best Picture, Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Actress (Keira Knightley) and Screenplay. Other Oscar contenders in the mix include “Mr. Turner,” which scored five nominations including Picture, Director (Mike Leigh) and Actor (Timothy Spall) and “Calvary,” which netted four including Picture and Actor (Brendan Gleeson). Winners, to be decided by a jury headed by Oscar champ Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) will be revealed in a London ceremony on Dec. 7. BIFA

Oscar experts: ‘Boyhood’ will win 5, ‘Interstellar’ 4, ‘Birdman’ 2

Pete Hammond was a key player in the Contender series at the DGA Theater this weekend. This must-read live blog takes you behind the scenes of this showcase for studios to tout their wares before an industry crowd. Deadline

Anne Thompson offers her insight into the proliferation of opportunities for promotion this awards season, recapping the recent kudofest held in LA by BAFTA: These shows allow for other contenders to get some valuable red carpet and charm time in the spotlight–hence the presence of “The Theory of Everything” stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as presenters, and attendees from such contenders as “The Imitation Game” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2.” Thompson on Hollywood

Oscars flashback: How smart or stupid were Experts at this point last year? 

Todd Cunningham reports that “Birdman” did well as its limited release widened: Fox Searchlight added 181 locations this weekend, which put “Birdman” in 231 locations and 56 markets, and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s dark comedy brought in nearly $2.5 million. Its $10,500 per-screen average was the second-best of any film in release, and its domestic total after the first 17 days in release is more than $ 5 million. The Wrap

Brent Lang chats with Sony Pictures Classic co-president Michael Barker about the release plan for his hot Oscar contender “Whiplash“: “We take our time. These pictures tend to have great word of mouth. We release them like an accordion, where we go wider and wider, before eventually we contract a little.” Variety

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