'Birdman' vs 'Boyhood' Oscar battle heats up after Spirit Awards

Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:24pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Reuters) - Dark showbiz satire "Birdman," and coming-of-age tale "Boyhood," took the top honors at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, a day before Hollywood's biggest night when both will face off in the top Oscars categories.

"Birdman," nominated for nine Oscars on Sunday, won three Spirit Awards, including the top prize of best feature.

"We're threatened as a species into extinction," Alejandro Iñárritu, director of "Birdman," said of independent filmmakers in his acceptance speech. "These kinds of awards are where we can celebrate the cinema that is being forgotten."

"Birdman" led the nominees with five nods along with jazz drama "Whiplash," which won two accolades, and civil rights drama "Selma," which left empty handed.

"Boyhood," filmed over a span of 12 years and nominated for six Oscars, won the best director award for Richard Linklater and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette.

All four acting categories were won by Oscar-nominated frontrunners, including Michael Keaton for best actor for "Birdman." In his acceptance speech, he called the film "bold cinema," and a "game-changer."

Julianne Moore was named best actress for her portrayal of a woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease in "Still Alice."

"I was lucky enough to come in at the beginning of the independent film movement and its really shaped my life and career," she said in an emotional acceptance speech.   Continued...

Emmanuel Lubezki (L) poses backstage with his Best Ciinematography award along with (L-R) actress Emma Stone, producer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with his Best Feature award, actor Michael Keaton with his Best Male Lead award and producer John Lesher during the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California February 21, 2015. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok