The Directors Guild of America has given Birdman‘s ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU its Award for Outstanding Achievement in Direction. The Mexican director beat Clint Eastwood, Wes Anderson, Morten Tyldum and Richard Linklater. As The Hollywod Reporter points out, the winner of the top prize at the DGA almost always wins the top prize at the Academy Awards. Over the last 66 years, on only seven occasions has that not happened. Having also been recognised by the SAG Awards and the Producers Guild, the magic-realist theatre fantasy satire looks almost certain to win Best Picture (and possibly Best Director) at this month’s Oscars. “And over the 21 years in which the PGA, SAG and DGA awards were all presented, only one film that claimed the top prizes of each of those guilds did not go on to win the best picture Oscar — that was Apollo 13, 19 years ago,” writes THR.
Birdman‘s success at the Guilds begs the question: what happened to Boyhood? “Boyhood‘s Richard Linklater was almost universally regarded as the frontrunner heading into the DGA Awards,” writes THR. “After all, he is a longstanding member of the guild and an American, like most of its members, and unlike Inarritu, who is Mexican and has about a decade less experience in the ‘big leagues’ of filmmaking … But while there is widespread respect for what Linklater did on his film (which was shot with the same people over a period of 12 years and is measured and understated, like its filmmaker), there is apparently even more admiration for what Inarritu did on Birdman (a live-wire project shot in what appears to be one continuous take that possesses the energy and smarts of its director).” Birdman’s increased chance at Best Picture at Best Picture also increases the odds that Michael Keaton’s performance might get swept along in the voting: he may well win Best Actor.