Birdman or (The Undeserved Winner of Best Picture)

Every year at the Oscars we make our predictions to whom will win the awards. This year I had all my money on Boyhood to win Best Picture. It felt obvious to me that this was the clear winner. But as Sean Penn read out the result, I let out a shocked “what?” and perhaps a swear word or two.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, was named this year’s best picture. Apart from the way it’s shot, which is outstanding, the film didn’t really strike me as a best picture winner. The story itself isn’t really anything spectacular, all be it that it was made more interesting by the actor’s performances. I can see why it was nominated as it is a wonderful film but is it a winner? The answer is no.

Let’s look at Boyhood. Richard Linklater started this project in 2002, hiring actors to commit to a 12-year production. The film’s story, which revolves around the life of a young boy Mason as he grows up, required commitment and continuous good acting for it to actually work; and Linklater got this from his cast. The vision, directing, acting, screenplay all added it up to create a masterpiece. Whilst it is harsh to claim that Boyhood has been completely ignored, I feel it has been under-appreciated in the face of a contemporary fresh film like Birdman.

I’d like to say congratulations to Iñárritu, but offer my commiserations to Linklater, who I believe may need a drink after creating a 12-year epic and it only winning one Oscar. The Academy had their chance to mark a true classic. Birdman took flight this year, but I’ll forever remember this year’s Oscars as “Boyhoodgate”.

Do you agree with me? Let me know your opinions in comments below, or send a tweet to @frew_cameron.

As much as I doubt you have not heard of either of these films, the trailers are here if you are interested.

Have a look at my full review of Boyhood here.



Boyhood is available to buy on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Published by

Cameron Frew

Freelance film writer. Words on Flickering Myth, Bloody Disgusting, Movie Corner UK and Jumpcut Online. My five favourite films are: 1. The Goonies 2. Forrest Gump 3. The Shawshank Redemption 4. Warrior 5. Whiplash

7 thoughts on “Birdman or (The Undeserved Winner of Best Picture)”

  1. If you refer to birdman as “contemporary fresh” and comend “the way it’s shot, which is outstanding” and the actors performances then you are referencing EXACTLY why it won. Add to that the genius, bitingly satirical screenplay and you have a movie that is both fresh and totally deserving of an oscar. Don’t get me wrong boyhood would be my own personal choice but it’s omission does not make birdman any less deserving. Both films screenplays (which I have read) are fantastic and boyhood Is a beautiful piece of art that will absolutely stand the test of time and has been awarded numerous awards so is in no measure “under-apprecated” simply because one awards body preferred another (also fantastic) film. Also if you want to have any sort of balanced, level and well thought out dissection of a films worthiness you need more than four extremely short paragraphs.


    1. Finally someone replies! Completely get what your saying, and I did really enjoy Birdman and as you saw I commended it for various reasons. I simply believe that all in all Boyhood was the superior and that it deserved what is the highest award for a film.


      1. You may of thought boyhood was the superior film (as did I) and it may of been your personal choice (as it was mine) but Birdman is a original, clever and visually interesting film in its own right and it simply not being your first choice by no means makes it “undeserving” of “the highest award in film”.


      2. It’s not the fact that it wasn’t my first choice that brought me to this opinion. After seeing Birdman I genuinely didn’t think it was a Best Picture winner. Yes it is a wonderful, witty film but in the face of a film like Boyhood, which still manages to maintain a high standard over 12 years of filming, I felt Boyhood deserved it more than Birdman, hence the “undeserving” comment.


  2. So do you feel birdman is any less deserving than say argo, the artist, the King’s speech, the hurt locker or slumdog millionaire? Taking boyhood out of the equation, If you consider Birdman to be fresh, wonderful, witty, outstandingly shot and very well acted what exactly about that film is undeserving? Surely you mean to say boyhood is MORE deserving not that birdman is undeserving.


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