From 'Titanic' to 'La La Land': A Closer Look at the Oscar Backlash Phenomenon

Birdman (2014)
10
Everett Collection 9/10

Birdman (2014)

At First: Visionary director Alexander G. Innaritu has provided Michael Keaton with the role of a lifetime in a daring tightrope walk of a dark comic-fantasy-satire-drama.

But Then: Has anyone else noticed that Innaritu might be full of shit? Not Hollywood, because this is a movie about actors!

Notable Competition: Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel were two particular highlights.

Strength of Backlash (1-10): 6, including, presumably, a baffled American public alongside the too-snobby-for-this-snobbery hardcore film people.

Degree of Deserving (1-10): 4. Yes, the movie is kind of insufferable about critics, has a lot of monologues, and is notably not especially funny for something that fancies itself a comedy. But it takes some real contortions to describe Birdman as just another episode of Hollywood self-love (not least because it’s set entirely in New York). With its stunty camerawork, reality-bending and hallucinatory vibe, references to Carver and allusions to Batman, this is probably the weirdest movie to win Best Picture of the past twenty or thirty years. That counts for something, even if I prefer both Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood.

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