All along I’ve been saying — insisting — that among 2014’s Best Picture contenders, Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s Birdman is the only ecstatic, drop-dead brilliant contender. And all along a majority of the online know-it-alls (Gold Derby, Gurus of Gold, Steve Pond, Sasha Stone, Mark Harris, et. al.) have been saying the Best Picture Oscar will nonetheless go to Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood. And all along I’ve said that would be (a) a personal disappointment but (b) a fine, supportable decision because Boyhood is an inspired, spirit-lifting landmark of sorts — a stunt film with soul, finesse and an engaging scheme.
And then last night the roof fell in with chunks of sheetrock and ceiling styrofoam on the floor and all the Boyhood supporters stumbling around and rubbing plaster dust out of their eyes and going “what happened?” For Birdman won the Producers Guild of America’s Best Picture equivalent trophy, i.e., the Darryl F. Zanuck Award. Boom.
All across Oscarland and particularly among the prognosticators, wise guys are figuring ways to spin this so it seems as if they half-knew and half-expected this to happen all along. Hilarious.
Needless to add there is nothing but joy and elation up in Park City. If I wasn’t a sober guy I would have bought a bottle of champagne and guzzled it. For the first time since the triumph of Kathryn Bigelow‘s The Hurt Locker, which I had pushed from its first screening at the ’09 Toronto Film Festival, HE’s personal Best Picture pony appears to be surging and within reach of a big win.
Maybe. Don’t count your chickens. There could always be a backlash. (Sasha Stone tweet: “When Birdman becomes the frontrunner people will start to hate it too. Like clockwork.” Did she say “start” to hate it?) But this feels awfully good, I must say.
That’s not gloating, is it? Saying it feels good to have sided with a likely Best Picture winner that the Movie Godz, for the first time in four years, fully approve of?
Variety‘s Dave McNary wrote last night that Boyhood “had been the consensus favorite to win the PGA trophy — based on voting by more than 6,700 PGA members — with American Sniper, Birdman and Imitation Game pegged as the most likely to score an upset.”
“They want me to talk so that I make you laugh with my bad English,” Inarritu said during his acceptance remarks. “On behalf of all of us, our only ambition was to make a risky and experimental exploration of the cinematic language, of an artist’s complexity played by the incredible Michael Keaton.”