From a director friend, received today: “Here’s a distinction between Michael Keaton and his Best Actor rivals. Keaton is the only one of the nominees whose performance we know for sure wasn’t shaped by a director or an editor in post-production. What you see is what you get from him and only him. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we’ve had to save actors from themselves in the editing room — choosing this line from that take and that line from this take, this look from this shot and that look from another.
“Every director has his or her stories, I assure you. Within our ranks we know there are several Oscar-nominated and even Oscar-winning performances that were flat-out fiascoes until eons were spent Frankensteining their acting.
“Birdman was shot in 29 days. This means that Keaton didn’t have too many shots at each of the extended takes in the film. Every beat, every resonant moment, every bit of his performance can be credited to Keaton and Keaton alone. The other nominated actors are all terrific — bravura film acting. But Keaton took the biggest risk. That’s why I voted for him.”