Why Birdman Is Now The Clear Best Picture Frontrunner At The Oscars

This year's Best Picture Oscar race has been an incredibly tight one, with various frontrunners jumping ahead before receding back into the scrum over the last few months. Recently it looked like Richard Linklater's Boyhood was a lock, what with its big win at the Golden Globes, but now it seems the tide has changed. With a huge win last night, it now appears that Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman is the new favorite for the honor.

As Deadline reports, last night saw the Director's Guild of America Directorial Achievement Award go to Inarritu, and as a result his film is now considered to be the front-runner in the still-going Best Picture race. The filmmaker saw a good deal of competition at the DGAs, including Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Clint Eastwood for American Sniper, Richard Linklater for Boyhood, and Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game, and you may have noticed that all of those titles are also up for the Academy's big prize.

So why is this a big deal? Mostly because the DGA's have a long running recent history of matching up with Academy Award results. In the last 11 years, 10 of the DGA feature film winners went on to win the Best Director prize (the exception being in 2012 when Ang Lee won the DGA prize for Life of Pi and Ben Affleck took the Oscar for Argo). This information, paired with the fact that the title that wins the Academy Award for Best Director often also wins Best Picture, is a strong indication that Birdman will end up being the big winner when Hollywood's Biggest Night is over later this month.

This big DGA win comes on the heels of some other huge award season victories for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's dark comedy. As we reported a couple weeks ago, the film also won at the Producers Guild of America awards and also taken the Screen Actors Guild Ensemble cast prize. When you put all of those pieces together, it's entirely possible if not downright likely that it will add up to a Best Picture Academy Award.

At this point, do you think Birdman has the momentum to take it to this year's top prize at the Oscars ? Or do you still think there's time for another nominated film to make a comeback and get what many would consider at this point to be an upset win? Answer our poll below, and stay tuned for our coverage of the Academy Awards on February 22nd.

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Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.