Birdman has won the top prize at the Producers Guild of America awards, which has predicted the Oscars best picture victor for the last seven years.
Alejandro Inarritu’s film, which stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up actor, will now be considered favourite to win at the Academy Awards next month. Many of the PGA’s members are also Oscar voters, and their winner has gone on to win the equivalent Oscar 18 times in the last 25 years.
The surprise win of the night was The Lego Movie, which was overlooked for an Oscars nomination but bagged best animation. Fargo beat Sherlock in the long-form TV series category, while Breaking Bad was named top episodic drama for the second year running, besting Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, True Detective and House of Cards. Orange is the New Black beat The Big Bang Theory, Veep, Louie and Modern Family to be crowned best comedy.
At the Oscars, which take place on 22nd February, Birdman will be up against American Sniper, Selma, Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Theory of Everything, The Imitation Game, and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which is also a frontrunner having already won a clutch of awards.
Birdman is nominated in nine categories, with Keaton also up for best actor alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, Steve Carell and Bradley Cooper.
Keaton became a household name in the late 80s as the titular ghost in Beetlejuice and the Caped Crusader in the first reboot of Batman. In Birdman, he plays a down-on-his-luck actor, desperate to earn respect with a high-brow stage adaptation of a Raymond Carver novel but haunted by the superhero character Birdman which found him fame.
Last month Keaton told RadioTimes.com that Birdman may be his best ever film but declined to be drawn on the autobiographical similarities with his own career.
Birdman is in UK cinemas now.
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