In May 2002, director Richard Linklater said that he would begin shooting an untitled film in his home city of Houston. He planned to film for a few weeks with the same cast annually for the next 12 years. He said: "I've long wanted to tell the story of a parent-child relationship that follows a boy from the first through 12th grade and ends with him going off to college. The dilemma is that kids change so much that it is impossible to cover that much ground. And I am totally ready to adapt the story to whatever he is going through."
He made good on his promise: filmed from 2002 to 2013, Linklater's Boyhood depicts the childhood and adolescence of Mason Evans Jr. (newcomer Ellar Coltrane) from age six to 18 as he grows up in Texas with divorced parents (played by Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke).
Coltrane was seven years old when the movie started filming and 19 when it finished. During the 12-year shoot, both Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette actually experienced divorces, re-marriage and the birth of new children.
Boyhood, the Golden Globe winner for Best Picture – Drama (and two more awards), began production as The Untitled 12 Year Project, then became just 12 Years. But when the film was finished, Linklater changed the title to Boyhood, to avoid confusion with the similarly-titled, previous year Golden Globe winner 12 Years a Slave.
The film garnered five Golden Globe nominations, winning three: Film, Director, and Best Supporting Actress for Arquette, who also won the Oscar. Arquette, at the Globes, competed with Emma Stone for Birdman (the film which eventually won the Academy Award), Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game and Meryl Streep for Into the Woods. Streep presented the Best Film – Drama Golden Globe to Boyhood, and Linklater, accepting the award, said: “This film wouldn't exist if [producer] Jonathan Sehring didn't take the biggest leap of faith in film history and gave us money every year for 12 years to make this movie."
Ethan Hawke also was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the Globes, but J.K. Simmons won for Whiplash. The other nominees (Dramas) at that 72nd Golden Awards, held on January 11, 2015, were Foxcatcher, Selma, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, whose protagonist Eddie Redmayne won the Globe as Best Actor – Drama. Instead, Michael Keaton won the Globe for Best Actor-Comedy for Birdman and Eddie Redmayne went on to win the Oscar. Boyhood was unanimously embraced by the critics for its originality and daring in both style and content.