Actors endorse showbiz satire 'Birdman' in march toward Oscars

Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:55pm EST
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By Mary Milliken and Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "Birdman," a satirical film about acting in the unforgiving world of show business, won top honors from Hollywood's actors on Sunday in an important show of support for its march toward the best picture Oscar.

The actors from "Birdman" won the best ensemble cast in a motion picture from the Screen Actors Guild the day after the film from Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu prevailed at the Producers Guild awards.

While the SAG award for the best ensemble cast does not always translate to a best picture win at the Academy Awards, it does indicate that actors, the largest voting bloc for the Oscars, favor it over another strong contender, the coming of age tale "Boyhood."

Michael Keaton, whose own uneven career trajectory mirrors the travails of "Birdman" protagonist Riggan Thomson, said he was sure the 100,000 SAG members found a kindred spirit in the film.

"I think actors loved this movie for showing the courage the actors had, going out there and laying it out on the line," Keaton said backstage. "I think that is why respectfully they thought as a group we deserved to win the prize."

"Birdman" could cement its front-runner status for the Feb. 22 Academy Awards if it takes the top Directors Guild Award in two weeks.

The individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up after the SAG awards, which went to the four artists who won Golden Globes two weeks ago - Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons.

SAG members prized lead performances by two actors portraying extreme illness.   Continued...

The cast of "Birdman" (L-R) Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton and Michael Keaton pose backstage with their award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California January 25, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Blake