Monday, December 1, 2014

"Birdman" Surprises Everyone By Beating "Boyhood" for Best Picture at the Gotham Awards

Michael Keaton
There were more than a few surprises that came out of tonight's Gotham Awards. Hosted by Uma Thurman, the show gave out awards to the best of independent cinema. While many were expecting Boyhood to come away with all of the top prizes, the film didn't do so well. Instead, a lot of surprising moments came and Boyhood only came away with one win. Following the jump is a list of all of the nominations as well as a few thoughts on the overall winners.

After winning Best Feature today from the New York Film Critics Circle, there was speculation that the fellow New York awards would follow in suit. After all, Boyhood has been coming up on a lot of Top 10 lists for 2014 and has been consistently considered one of the most ambitious films of the decade. During the televised ceremony, audiences cheered whenever Boyhood's name was mentioned. Instead, it was unfortunately overlooked in favor of a wide array of winners including Best Feature winner Birdman. While the film is itself very enjoyable and full of worthwhile acclaim, it does leave a little bafflement.

Here are the winners:

Best Feature: Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Best Actor: Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Best Documentary: Citizenfour
Independent Film Audience Award: Boyhood
Breakthrough Actor: Tessa Thompson (Dear White People)
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award: Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night)

There were also additional Tributes to Bennett Miller and Tilda Swinton as well as recognition to upcoming female directors. 

For the most part, the biggest shocker of them all is that Boyhood only won one award, which was the Audience Award. For those that don't know, it is one that is voted upon by general audiences. This is quite peculiar, as there's clear reflection that Boyhood clicked more with audiences than critics and voters. If anything, this means that Birdman's reputation is about to skyrocket during awards season and the film about a frustrated actor will probably be a potential threat. Still, is it a front runner over Boyhood? Possible, especially since Michael Keaton beat Ethan Hawke in the Best Actor race. 

Beyond that, there weren't too many other surprises. Everyone expected Citizenfour to win Best Documentary, as it has become the awards season's biggest bait. It's an unstoppable force. While it has yet to attract attention, possibly due to its lack of public release, the Julianne Moore win is also expected. She has been the front runner for the award since critics first began seeing the film about a woman suffering from early stages of Alzheimer. It is a tragic, sad performance that makes her an easy front runner.

The one welcomed surprise is Tessa Thompson winning over Elar Coltrane (Boyhood). In fact, I still am just happy to see Dear White People having so much attention during awards season. It is a very good film and Thompson's performance is fierce with energy. I'm glad that it at least won one.

It wasn't a terribly packed awards show, but it did give us plenty to chew over. The most notable is Birdman's future chances now that it has won a top prize. I have trouble seeing Michael Keaton standing a chance at the Oscars against Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), which wasn't nominated here. I don't get Keaton's win at all, but this is only one award in the long line of upcoming competitions. Let's see how the Golden Globes treat everything.

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