In what may turn out to be the most boring Oscar race in recent memory, Alejandro Gonzalez-Innaritu’s Birdman has emerged as the official frontrunner this weekend. The film – which stars Michael Keaton as an ex-superhero actor trying to revive his career and self-image by writing, directing and starring in a serious Broadway play – has now won the Director’s Guild of America Award, in addition to the Producer’s Guild Award and the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast (the guild’s top honor).
Since there is a considerable overlap between the many movie guilds and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, it now appears that Birdman has a sizable lead over its competition for Best Picture, including the serious contender Boyhood and six films which never seemed like a serious threat: American Sniper, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and Whiplash.
Check Out: Oscars 2015: Whatever Happened to ‘Selma?’
Boosters of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood – an experimental drama filmed over the course of 12 years so the actors could age realistically on screen – are currently clinging to the film’s enormous critical popularity and its recent BAFTA Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Oscar prognosticators are quick to point out that the BAFTA Award has successfully predicted the eventual Academy Award winner for Best Picture since 2009, but the BAFTA track record before that is significantly spottier.
With three of the four acting categories seemingly a foregone conclusion – Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette long since cemented as the frontrunners – and the Best Actor category increasingly likely to go to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything, these latest wins for Birdman seem to rob the biggest Oscar categories of the year of a lot of suspense. Although we would not be surprised if the Academy splits the vote, awarding Birdman the Best Picture award but giving Best Director to Richard Linklater, in honor of his very impressive achievement (as well as for his patience).
We’ll be back with more Oscar coverage, as well as our final predictions, in preparation for the ceremony being held on Sunday, February 22nd, at 5:30pm PST.