The Oscar nominations added intrigue if not diversity to an Academy Awards race by favoring one late-season release (“American Sniper”) over another (“Selma”).

The flip-flopping of fortunes, however, did little to dislodge the humble coming-of-age epic “Boyhood,” closely followed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s backstage ego trip “Birdman.”

The two films solidified themselves as favorites with best-picture and best-director nominations. “Boyhood” chalked up its expected six nominations, including supporting nods for Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke. And “Birdman, (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” landed a co-leading nine nominations, including Best Actor for Michael Keaton.

“I don’t care how much people tell you: ‘It’s gonna happen.’ When it happens, you’re thrilled,” said Keaton about his first nomination.

But the Oscar race may have gotten more competitive in Thursday’s nominations.

Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” (six nods) Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (nine nominations) and “The Imitation Game” (eight nominations) all emerged as heftier contenders, while “Selma” largely fizzled.

Each joined a best-picture field that also included the Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything” and the music school psychodrama “Whiplash.”

The nominees amount to a distinctly white Oscars. All 20 of the nominated actors are white.

Though Ava DuVernay’s civil rights drama “Selma” was once seen as a major contender, it landed just two nominations. (The second was for best song.) David Oyelowo, who stars as Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma,” was surprisingly left out of Best Actor.

The poor showing of “Selma” (and on King’s birthday no less) came after nagging criticism over its portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson. Rev. Al Sharpton said the lack of votes for the drama about the voting rights movement was ironic and called the diversity of the nominations overall “appalling.”

It also comes a year after the best-picture win for “12 Years a Slave,” during which there was much chest-thumping about Hollywood’s thawing close-mindedness.