FilmNewsOpinionOscars Coverage 2015

Oscar Race: ‘Birdman’ Soars After PGA And SAG Victories

Beau Salant ‘18 and James Canellos ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writers

Michael Keaton in Birdman. Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Twentieth Century Fox.
Michael Keaton in Birdman. Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima/Twentieth Century Fox.

For the past 12 years, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been slowly gaining momentum, until this past weekend that is. Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s meta comedy Birdman has been soaring beyond it’s own expectations after winning the pivotal Producer’s Guild Award for best motion picture and the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for best cast in a motion picture. While the winner of the best cast award isn’t a huge indicator of which film would go on to win best picture – as the casts of American Hustle, The Help and Inglourious Basterds can attest – the winner of the Producer’s Guild Award has gone on to win best picture at the Academy Awards since 2007- not including last year when Gravity and 12 Years A Slave tied (though the latter did go on to win the Oscar).

While nothing is set in stone yet, Birdman is officially giving Boyhood a run for it’s money by securing these two wins. However, a big setback for Birdman might be that Michael Keaton didn’t win the SAG for Best Actor. This past Sunday Eddie Redmayne took home the award for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. If any other race is as unpredictable as picture this year it would be for Best Actor. Keaton has been the favorite all season, especially since Birdman is his comeback film, but no actor has won the Oscar without the SAG since Johnny Depp won in Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003.

Michael Keaton and Emma Stone in Birdman. Photo Credit: Alison Rosa/Twentieth Century Fox.
Michael Keaton and Emma Stone in Birdman. Photo Credit: Alison Rosa/Twentieth Century Fox.

Along with the Best Actor race, both screenplay categories have yet to show a clear frontrunner this year. The original screenplay category seems to be a three way tug-of-war between Boyhood, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel with the latter two being the safer bets. Gillian Flynn’s snub for Gone Girl has left the adapted screenplay category in shambles, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will win. Graham Moore seems to have the advantage of The Imitation Game being classic Oscar bait, but Damien Chazelle is the underdog and could sneak in for the win with his script for Whiplash.

What is certain is that Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette are basically locked to win in their respective categories. All three have won all other awards in their fields, including a slew of critics awards, plus they are all veteran actors who have been deserving of this kind of recognition for years.

We are still, however, missing what will perhaps become the most important precursor: the Director’s Guild Award. The nominees for this award are American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game. The decision made by this group will likely determine who will go on to win Best Picture.

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