After the victory by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu at the Directors’ Guild of America Awards, “Birdman” is now the official Oscar favorite. It’s swept the trifecta of awards bestowed by the directors’, producers’ and actors’ guilds. They all share the same voters, so it may be crazy to expect a different result on Oscar night.
The “Boyhood” bandwagon just came to a crashing halt at the DGA Awards after it raced through the early kudos bestowed by film critics and the Golden Globes. For months it’s been the overwhelming Oscar fave even after “Birdman” grabbed big wins at PGA and SAG (currently, 14 of the “Experts” at Gold Derby predict “Boyhood” will win Best Picture; only 5 say “Birdman“), but now there’s no denying the obvious. We’re about to see a first at the Oscars: a kooky fantasy film about showbiz win Best Picture.
This Oscar race now looks like the one four years ago when “The Social Network” won all of the early awards, but then “The King’s Speech” suddenly jumped out front when the guild awards were doled out. All this proves that journalists and academy members feel very differently about movies.
Face it. We should’ve seen this coming. “Birdman” leads with the most Oscar nominations (tied with “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) and we pundits know from experience that the movie with the most bids usually wins Best Picture. And “Birdman” is about showbiz – just like those recent champs “The Artist” and “Argo.”
So why didn’t most of us predict this? Because we’ve been listening to our hearts – that’s what “Boyhood” tugs at, just like “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist.” In the past, we believed those films triumphed because voters, quite simply, loved them. But, come on: Do Hollywooders really have a heart?
“Birdman” is an easy film to admire, but it’s hard to love. It’s cruel, quirky, cold, black, cynical and it’s full of floating bodies, magical explosions, illogical timelines, disembodied voices and a ghostly Birdman hovering menacingly over everything. Nothing like it has ever won Best Picture at the Oscars.
Now the next puzzle to be confronted by (suddenly terrified) Oscar pundits: Does this mean Michael Keaton will win Best Actor? According to our Experts’ current picks, Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) leads by a prediction score of 11 to 8, but Oscar’s Best Pictures usually snag an acting award, too — 12 times over the past 20 years. Can Keaton really catch a ride on the back of his “Birdman“? He’s got to overcome a staggering stat. Seventeen out of the past 20 winners of Best Actor at the SAG Awards – which Redmayne won — claimed the Oscar next.
However, if “Birdman” is the new “King’s Speech,” yes, that means Keaton can do what Colin Firth pulled off.
But, wait! There is one possible plot complication ahead. What happens at the Oscars if “Boyhood” wins Best Picture at BAFTA on Sunday? For the past six years, that prize has correctly predicted the top Academy Award.