John C. Reilly looks like a late breaking Academy Award player in the Trailer for "Stan & Ollie"                Brie Larson saves the day in the First Trailer for "Captain Marvel"                The Toronto International Film Festival boosts "Green Book" with its Top Prize                Updated Academy Award predictions for early September                "White Boy Rick" is a compelling character study and period piece                Taking a look at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders                Shane Black gives "The Predator" his signature clever spin                Venice Film Festival award winners include "The Favourite" and "Roma"                Taking a look at potential Best Supporting Actor contenders                Watch out for Ben Foster in Best Supporting Actor for "Leave No Trace"                "The Favourite" releases a new Trailer to build off of its positive festival buzz                "All About Nina" and "Fahrenheit 11/9": Films to look forward to in September                Trailer for "The Front Runner" and Buzz from Telluride suggest another Oscar player for Jason Reitman                Taking a look at potential Best Actress contenders                "First Man" launches a New Trailer after a soaring debut at the Venice Film Festival        

“Birdman” soars at the Spirit Awards and Oscar ceremony

87th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

Well, it happened folks. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) took Best Picture from Richard Linklater’s Boyhood last night at the Academy Awards. It also managed to win Iñárritu Best Director over Linklater, as well as Best Original Screenplay as well, beating back Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel there. After a brief tease the night before at the Independent Spirit Awards, where the two big films split (Birdman took Best Feature and Boyhood/Linklater took Best Director), it was basically down the line with Oscar. For once, my predictions turned out to be right. I was one of the few to avoid predicting a split, so even though I wound up having one of my worst statistical nights ever, going just 17 out of 24, I got it right when it counted.

So, why did Birdman win? Well, it comes down to two factors for me. One is that it’s a movie about actors/Hollywood/movies to some degree, and that’s catnip to the Academy. Second is that they just plain liked it best. For that first factor, you need only look at recent winners like Argo and The Artist, alongside something like Chicago, and you can see that it’s something Oscar voters did on. For that second factor, it’s pretty self explanatory. Yes, individual honors might have gone elsewhere, including a snub in the Best Film Editing category, both technical sound categories going elsewhere, and Michael Keaton losing Best Actor to The Theory of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne (not to mention both Supporting nominees Edward Norton and Emma Stone coming up short), but overall it turned out to be the favorite. Sure, The Grand Budapest Hotel got plenty of love too, but not in the major categories. Collectively, Birdman was the one most beloved, and that resulted in Picture/Director/Original Screenplay going its way, and thus the big crown for the year.

On that same front, why did Boyhood wind up losing? Simply put, voters weren’t quite as fond of it as critics were. During the precursors, the critics award anointed it the frontrunner, something that the Golden Globe Awards bought into as well. Then, when the guilds got involved, which consist of many members of the Academy, they opted to go in a different direction. I’m sure the vote totals in Best Picture were close, with the ones in Best Director probably as tight as ever, but in the end, Iñárritu’s project beat out Linklater’s. It didn’t go home empty handed, as Patricia Arquette rightly won Best Supporting Actress, but Boyhood fans certainly were expecting more. It’s sole win puts it with American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Selma, and The Theory of Everything, among the Picture nominees, as opposed to multiple winners Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Whiplash.

Elsewhere quickly, Birdman won for Best Cinematography, we had Julianne Moore’s coronation in Best Actress for Still Alice, J.K. Simmons winning Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash (which also upset Boyhood in Best Film Editing), Graham Moore winning Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, Big Hero 6 beating back How to Train Your Dragon 2 for Best Animated Feature, plus frontrunners Citizenfour and Ida winning Best Documentary Feature and Best Foreign Language Feature, respectively. Those were just some of the big winners at the Academy Awards just under 24 hours ago.

I’ll be going over the events of last night in more detail all this week, looking at, among other things, the best and worst wins, the surprise, and memorable moments, and more. Also, on Friday I’ll tease you all with my year in advance Oscar predictions, so be excited for that. In the meantime though, I wanted to share the results of the Spirit Awards, since they fell by the wayside a bit over the weekend, understandably so. Here you go…

30th Annual Independent Spirit Awards

BEST FEATURE
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

BEST MALE LEAD
Michael Keaton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

BEST SCREENPLAY
Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”

BEST FIRST FEATURE
“Nightcrawler”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Justin Simien, “Dear White People”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (Given to the best feature made for under $500,000)
“Land Ho!””

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

BEST EDITING
Tom Cross, “Whiplash”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“CITIZENFOUR”

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
“Ida” (Poland)

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)
“Inherent Vice”

SPECIAL DISTINCTION AWARD
“Foxcatcher”

18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD (Honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films)
Chris Ohlson

21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia, “H.”

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD (Presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition)
Dan Krauss, “The Kill Team”

Stay tuned for much more on the Academy Awards results!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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