Alejandro Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) could also be subtitled The Unexpected Virtue of Michael Keaton, given the transformative turn that landed the onetime Batman the role of a lifetime, a Golden Globe, and his first-ever Academy Award nomination.
Keaton’s Oscar hopes have soared all season on the wings of a modest, aw-shucks awards campaign that made him an early front-runner. And the film, about a washed-up movie star who puts his career and sanity on the line in a stab at Broadway legitimacy, has racked up awards gold left and right making it most pundits’ pick for Best Picture, as well as the favorite for Best Director following Iñárritu’s surprise DGA victory over Boyhood’s Richard Linklater. Overall, it’s racked up a stellar 9 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), and Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone).
But Keaton’s Oscar glory is far from a sure thing following a late-game upset at the SAGs by Eddie “That’s What I’m Hawking ‘Bout” Redmayne. With the February 17 Oscar voting deadline looming, Internet bookies now have Redmayne as the 3/10 favorite to win for his exceptional turn as the ALS-crippled physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
Will Keaton still have a shot at winning the gold for the first time in his nearly four-decade career? Birdman co-stars Emma Stone, Ed Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts, and Amy Ryan pay tribute to their Riggan Thomson in the exclusive video below, which also features behind the scenes glimpses of Keaton melting into the role during those epic, long-take rehearsals: