Oscar hopes for ‘Birdman’ soar with rave reviews from Venice film festival

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s showbiz satire “Birdman” kicked off the 71st edition of the Venice film festival on Wednesday and soared into the Oscar race with a slew of rave reviews. Critics singled out star Michael Keaton for his turn as a faded film star, known for playing a superhero, who hopes to stage a comeback on Broadway. Also being hailed is the scene-stealing performance of Edward Norton as his rival both on and offstage. 

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Variety scribe Peter DeBruge called the film “a triumph on every creative level, from casting to execution, that will electrify the industry, captivate arthouse and megaplex crowds alike, send awards pundits into orbit and give fresh wings to Keaton’s career.”

For Mark Adams (Screen International), the film “finally offers the talented Michael Keaton a role that really shows off his range and charisma and one that should see him in contention when it comes to awards season.” 

Venice film festival short on Oscar contenders: ‘Birdman,’ …?

Robbie Collin (The Telegraph) lauded the tone: “There are streaks of ’42nd Street,’ ‘The Producers’ and ‘Sunset Boulevard’ here, but otherwise, Birdman isn’t much like anything else at all. Think ‘Black Swan’ directed by Mel Brooks and you’re in the vicinity, but only just.”

And Alonso Duralde (The Wrap) praised the technical prowess: “Inarritu and legendary cinematographer Emanuel Lubezki (“Gravity”) have used camera and editing tricks to make the film look like one continuous take, and while it sounds gimmicky, the constantly moving camera and seeming lack of edits underscore the jitteriness of the proceedings … it’s not a real-time movie — we jump ahead in time during some of those camera swoops — but the lack of edits jacks up the tension within scenes, especially with Antonio Sanchez‘s percussive, bebop soundtrack underscoring the action.

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