About a month ago, I was sure that Richard Linklater’s epic “Boyhood” would certainly edge out Alejandro Iñárritu’s cerebral “Birdman” for Best Picture. “Boyhood” was my favorite film of 2014 and is one of my favorite movies of all time. And while I thoroughly enjoyed “Birdman”, I found it to be a little self-congratulating and indulgent. The whole film is edited together to be a single take, which is interesting enough, but certainly doesn’t warrant the amount of acclaim it was receiving.
Both Best Picture and Best Director inevitably went to “Birdman” last month. I can’t act like I’m surprised. The Academy voters swoon for bizarre, slightly gimmicky films like “Birdman” (see soppy, uneven “Crash”). Here’s the thing that I have to keep telling myself every year: the Academy Awards, while they have their merits, are a skewed view of cinema’s “best”. Sometimes they’re right, and sometimes they’re wrong. This year they were wrong, and the majority of professional film critics in this country would agree. “Boyhood” was the best film of 2014. It was everything that is good about cinema: inventive, funny, moving, poignant, and a reflection of actual life. Years from now, I don’t see film scholars still talking about “Birdman”. The film is too timely, too trendy, and I don’t think time will be very kind to it.