Oscars News: Is Michael Keaton (‘Birdman’) now the man to beat for Best Actor?

Jenelle Riley wonders if Michael Keaton is the man to beat as Best Actor at the next Oscars. Starting with the Telluride Film Festival weeks ago, she says he burst onto the scene with his “funny, dark, explosive turn” in “Birdman.” His buzz has overtaken that of Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher“) and Timothy Spall (“Mr. Turner“), who both came out of the gates months earlier at Cannes. She believes several great actors are going to be disappointed with their snubs, but that Keaton, Carell, and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything“) might be the only locks at this stage. If the offbeat “Birdman” can attract an audience at the box office, he might be on track for a victory. Variety

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Sasha Stone looks back at the film career of Patricia Arquette and calls this year’s performance in “Boyhood” as one of the best of 2014. She refers to her as “the beating heart” of the Richard Linklater movie, even saying “so much so that with a few adjustments in editing it could be called ‘Motherhood.'” Arquette’s character is “a woman who had bad relationships, made mistakes, struggled financially, resented then ulitmately forgave her husband.” Awards Daily

Ramin Setoodeh interviews Bill Murray about his new film “St. Vincent” and how wanting awards is “like a virus.” He claims “he had been infected” in 2004 when he lost the Best Actor Oscar for “Lost in Translation.” He says, “People have this post-Oscar blowback. They start thinking, ‘I can’t do a movie unless it’s Oscar-worthy.’ It just seems people have difficulty making the right choices after that.” E! Online

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Kris Tapley ponders the Oscar race for Best Actress, especially with Julianne Moore crashing the party at last month’s Toronto Film Festival. In his opinion, the other strongest contenders are Reese Witherspoon (“Wild“), Shailene Woodley (“The Fault in Our Stars“), and Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl“). The field is “very thin” again because it’s a “byproduct of an industry that doesn’t see overly concerned with stories featuring strong female characters.” HitFix

The New York Film Critics Circle will jump into the lead position of this year’s critics awards. They are claiming the date of December 1 to announce their 2014 winners. Their votes will be announced a day before the National Board of Review. The group is also adding Scott Foundas (Variety) and Wesley Morris (Grantland) to their roster. The gala awards dinner will be held on January 5. Deadline

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