An Oscars statue surveys the red carpet area outside the Dolby Theatre as preparations are underway for the 87th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California on February 19, 2015. AFP PHOTO/MARK RALSTON
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That might explain why two films that embody the inherent struggle of show business -- "Birdman" and "Boyhood" -- are top contenders for best picture at Sunday's 87th Academy Awards.The strength of "Birdman" lies not only in its nine Oscar nominations, a near sweep of awards from Hollywood's guilds and cinematic derring-do, but also in a story the appeals to the Academy's largest voting bloc: actors."It seems a lot of people are saying that if they vote 'Birdman' in one of those two categories, they are going to vote 'Boyhood' in the other," said Paul Sheehan, editor at awards handicapper GoldDerby.com.But because of the best picture category's preferential ballot, in which members rank their top films rather than vote for just one, a movie that is many people's second choice could prevail. With one of the smallest collective box office showings for best picture nominees in recent times, the Academy faces a challenging year for its telecast.
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