“Birdman,” the daring cinematic experiment from Alejandro G. Inarritu, has picked up one more big victory on its way to Sunday’s Academy Awards, winning the Film Independent Spirit Award as the best indie film of 2014.
Although Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” was considered the favorite to win, coming as it did from an indie icon who worked for 12 years on the family drama, “Birdman” did what it has done repeatedly this awards season, beating “Boyhood” and coming out on top.
Also read: Indie Spirit Winners: The Complete List
It did the same at the Producers Guild Awards, the Directors Guild Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, among others, while “Boyhood” was winning the lion’s share of critics’ awards.
One sign that “Boyhood” might be on shaky ground came during the pre-show awards, when “Birdman” won the craft award it was expected to win, Best Cinematography, while “Boyhood” lost to “Whiplash” for Best Editing, a category in which it was the favorite.
But Linklater won the award for Best Director, casting the final award in doubt until the moment the envelope was opened.
The result doesn’t substantially increase the likelihood that “Birdman” will win at the Oscars tomorrow – but if “Boyhood” can’t win the big one when it essentially has home-court advantage at the Spirit Awards, the film will have its work cut out for it at the Dolby Theatre.
As they’ve been doing in recent years, Spirit Award voters went for the Oscar nominees and expected favorites in the acting races, giving the lead actor and actress awards to Michael Keaton for “Birdman” and Julianne Moore for “Still Alice” and the supporting prizes to Arquette for “Boyhood” and J.K. Simmons for “Whiplash.”
All four are strong Oscar contenders, though Keaton is in the closest race with Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything,” who was not in the running at the Spirit Awards.
Keaton had one of the best lines of the light when he talked about the craziness of awards season, and summed it up by saying, “I think we would all be remiss if we didn’t give Narcissus a shout-out.”