As 21 of our 29 Oscars Experts predicted, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu won Best Director for “Birdman” on Sunday night. Though his chief rival Richard Linklater (“Boyhood“) picked up a number of directing honors throughout the season, Inarritu won the Directors Guild Award, which has matched Oscar all but seven times in the DGA’s 67-year history.
This is the first Best Director Oscar for Inarritu, who earned one previous bid in the category for “Babel” (2006). That film started its derby strong by winning the Golden Globe for Best Picture, but ultimately Inarritu was no match for an overdue Martin Scorsese, who won his first ever Oscar for helming “The Departed.”
Inarritu’s win is significant for another reason. The Mexican director is now the fifth consecutive non-American to win Best Director, following British Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech,” 2010), Frenchman Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist,” 2011), Taiwanese-born Ang Lee (“Life of Pi,” 2012), and fellow Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity,” 2013).
Inarritu was the 5/6 favorite with 21 Experts backing him: Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Kyle Buchanan (Vulture), Thom Geier, Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Mary Milliken (Reuters), Michael Musto (Out.com), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Claudia Puig (USA Today), Jenelle Riley (Variety), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDb), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere), Glenn Whipp (LA Times) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).
Linklater, a first-time directing contender who had won the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and BAFTA, was a close second in our predictions with 3/2 odds and the support of seven Experts: Thelma Adams (ZEALnyc), Mike Cidoni (Associated Press), Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Dave Karger (Fandango), Steve Pond (The Wrap), Christopher Rosen (Huffington Post) and Sasha Stone (Awards Daily).