At DGA Awards, ‘Birdman’ soars ahead in the Oscars race

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.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (‘Birdman’) wins Directors Guild Award, while women sweep TV

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.

See how you did predicting the Directors Guild Awards winners

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.

10 thoughts on “At DGA Awards, ‘Birdman’ soars ahead in the Oscars race

  1. If the Oscar voters are going to give all those wins to Birdman, I really hope they can save at least the original screenplay win for Wes Anderson. I so desperately want to see Wes win an Oscar. I’ve been waiting for it ever since I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums. I am a Wes Anderson fangirl for life.

  2. It will be like a repeat of ‘Argo’ year. Boyhood still takes Best Picture (this way Richard Linklater gets his Oscar as Producer) while Birdman will take Best Direction by Alejadro Gonzalez Inarritu. This is my guess anyhow as it stands today. Now at least the Oscar show will be a little exciting until the last envelope is opened.

  3. Birdman will clean up at the Oscars(hopefully it will do the same at the BAFTAS,too).Poor Tom,Chris,Daniel,Paul,Marcus and the other “EXPERTS.” HOORAY for Alejandro,Michael,Edward,Emma,Noami,Amy and even Zach.

  4. If “Boyhood” is — as O’Neil claims — what the pundits all believe is the best film of the year, then the pundits need to recalibrate their brains. Yeah, “Boyhood” had some moving moments and yes pulling off the act of directing (and organizing) that film over 12 years was a noteworthy achievement. But that doesn’t necessarily make for a good film. And given its subject matter, “Boyhood” was too long by far — unless, like I suspect are a lot of “pundits” (since a lot of them are male), you are fond of navel-gazing. All-in-all, “Boyhood” just wasn’t/isn’t that great of a film. Films need to touch the audience, but they also need to TELL AN INTERESTING and ENTERTAINING story (something Charles Dickens should have taught everyone a long time ago). I’m actually a bit puzzled by Patricia Arquette’s front runner status. While I think she did an admirable job, I don’t see it as being THAT much better than a few of the others.

    As for “Birdman”: while it may have some dark humor elements, it _does_ have its moments (even if they do come couched in harsh, revelatory bits of dialogue), and it is definitely a far more entertaining flick than “Boyhood”. If I had my druthers, I’d rather see “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — a very John Irvingesque movie — win as best picture. But “Birdman” would definitely be a close runner up. Glad the folks giving out awards at the PGA, SAG and DGA know an entertaining film when they see one. As opposed to the pundits, who are in need of an appointment with their optometrist.

  5. If “Boyhood” is — as O’Neil claims — what the pundits all believe is the best film of the year, then the pundits need to recalibrate their brains. Yeah, “Boyhood” had some moving moments and yes pulling off the act of directing (and organizing) that film over 12 years was a noteworthy achievement. But that doesn’t necessarily make for a good film. And given its subject matter, “Boyhood” was too long by far — unless, like I suspect are a lot of “pundits” (since a lot of them are male), you are fond of navel-gazing. All-in-all, “Boyhood” just wasn’t/isn’t that great of a film. Films need to touch the audience, but they also need to TELL AN INTERESTING and ENTERTAINING story (something Charles Dickens should have taught everyone a long time ago). I’m actually a bit puzzled by Patricia Arquette’s front runner status. While I think she did an admirable job, I don’t see it as being THAT much better than a few of the others.

    As for “Birdman”: while it may have some dark humor elements, it _does_ have its moments (even if they do come couched in harsh, revelatory bits of dialogue), and it is definitely a far more entertaining flick than “Boyhood”. If I had my druthers, I’d rather see “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — a very John Irvingesque movie — win as best picture. But “Birdman” would definitely be a close runner up. Glad the folks giving out awards at the PGA, SAG and DGA know an entertaining film when they see one. As opposed to the pundits, who are in need of an appointment with their optometrist.

  6. P.S. Even though using statistics from past awards seasons if a mug’s game, O”Neil stating that Keaton didn’t win a SAG award is just sloppy “journalism”. Keaton DID win an award, as part of the ensemble — acting group — for “Birdman”.

  7. Maybe Boyhood was just too slow & ponderous for most people. It’s probably too much to expect that a true indie would break through & win everything, it’s probably experiencing a backlash at just the wrong time…

  8. I honestly wish boyhood would’ve won. I hate the fact that Hollywood isn’t taking it serious, and would rather praise something like birdman. Oh well I still think boyhood was the best film of 2014 and if the academy doesn’t then what can you do about it. They snubbed citizen Kane and brokeback mountain so what can you expect.

  9. As much as I like “Boyhood” and can appreciate the effort that went into making such a movie. “Birdman” is simply the more impressively acted, directed, shot, written and most importantly of all is more entertaining.

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