'Birdman' soars to Oscar heights on best picture win

Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:45am EST
 
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By Lisa Richwine and Nichola Groom

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The dark comedy "Birdman" held up a mirror to Hollywood and its struggling actors and in return received the film industry's highest recognition on Sunday, the Academy Award for best picture.

Director Alejandro G. Inarritu's story of a washed-up, former superhero actor attempting an improbable comeback on Broadway won four Oscars in its nine nominations, including best director, the second consecutive win in that category for a Mexican filmmaker.

Acclaimed for looking like one continuous shot through a Broadway theater and mixing reality with fantasy, the movie, Inarritu said, came from learning to be fearless in filmmaking.

"Fear is the condom of life. It doesn't allow you to enjoy things," Inarritu said backstage at the 87th Academy Awards.

The reward for the Fox Searchlight satire hews to an Academy tradition of awarding films that honor the entertainment industry, such as "Argo" and "The Artist" in recent years.

Britain's Eddie Redmayne won best actor with his painstaking portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything", robbing "Birdman" lead and former superhero actor Michael Keaton of a big comeback moment.

Each of the eight best picture nominees went home with at least one award, but it was a disappointing night for "Boyhood," Richard Linklater's unprecedented 12-year endeavor to depict the simple story of a boy growing up, using the same actors. It won one Oscar out of its six nods.

Wes Anderson's colorful caper, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" proved popular among the 6,100 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who vote for the Oscars, winning four awards on its nine nominations.   Continued...

 
Director Alejandro Inarritu accepts the Oscar for best picture for his film "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virture of Ignorance)"during the 87th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Blake