Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has won the director Oscar for “Birdman,” his groundbreaking comedy-drama exploring inner voices and the desperation of acting.
The Mexican director won over Wes Anderson for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Richard Linklater for “Boyhood,” Bennett Miller for “Foxcatcher” and Morten Tyldum for “The Imitation Game.”
Linklater and “Boyhood” had been regarded as the awards-season front-runners until recent weeks.. The unique nature of “Birdman,” with its long takes and intensity, has elevated the status of the latter.
Inarritu directed “Birdman” to be shown as a single shot with production taking place in 23 days in New York City during spring 2013 with a budget of $16.5 million.
The Oscar win for Inarritu comes two weeks after he took the DGA trophy – one of the top indicators of Oscar sentiment with all but seven of the DGA winners since 1948 going on to take the director Oscar. Fellow Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron won both trophies last year for “Gravity.”
In his acceptance, Inarritu evoked big laughs by noting that he was wearing “the real Michael Keaton tighty whities” for good luck, referring to the underwear the actor wore in the film.
“But it worked,” he added. “Thanks, Michael!”
Inarritu also took the best picture prize as a producer of “Birdman,” along with a screenwriting win in the original category. He was nominated previously for “Amores Perros” and “Biutiful” in the foreign language category and for director and producer of “Babel.”