The roar of approval that greeted “Birdman” when it had its world premiere at the Venice filmfest on Wednesday was echoed eight time zones away in Telluride when screened to a SRO crowd on Saturday. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ‘s savvy satire of showbiz now looks like a lock for Best Picture and Director, ranking fourth in both categories on our prediction charts.
Expect Michael Keaton to earn his first Oscar nomination for his change of pace performance as a faded film star best-known for playing a superhero, who hopes to stage a comeback on Broadway. He is a strong second for Best Actor according to our early odds, behind only Steve Carell whose film “Foxcatcher” also screened here Saturday.
Also being hailed are the scene-stealing performances of two-time Oscar nominee Edward Norton as his rival both on and offstage and Emma Stone as his difficult daughter. Among the other talented folks who feature in this flick are a pair of past Oscar contenders — Naomi Watts and Amy Ryan — as well as funnyman Zach Galifianakis. Also being praised is the lensing of Emanuel Lubezki who finally won an Oscar last year with his sixth bid for “Gravity.”
Inarritu has only helmed four films but the most recent three of these all reaped Oscar bids for castmembers. “21 Grams” (2003) for Watts and Benicio del Toro; “Babel” (2005) for Adriana Barraza and Rinko Kikuchi; and “Biutiful” (2010) for Javier Bardem.
“Birdman” will also screen at the New York filmfest before getting a platformed release from Fox Searchlight on Oct. 17.