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Backstage at “Birdman”: A Virtual Tour Of A Movie’s Oscar Aspirations

Even if you’re not an Academy voter, Michael Keaton and Alejandro González Iñárritu give you a bird’s-eye view of their movie’s best assets

When it comes to Hollywood prizes, the Golden Globes are just a warm-up. And although Birdman didn’t snag a Best Picture (Comedy or Musical category) win at the Golden Globes the other night, the Fox Searchlight film got a boost from speeches that displayed the passion and creative force behind the film. When Michael Keaton won Best Actor and Alejandro González Iñárritu and his three collaborators, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo, won Best Screenplay, it wasn’t hard to imagine the group picking up more wins at the Oscars on February 22.

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That’s exactly the conclusion the studio is hoping Motion Picture Academy voters—and the moviegoing public at large—will come to with their just-launched For Your Consideration site. Birdman Backstage cleverly gives you a bird’s-eye view behind the curtain, where most of the action of the film takes place, supposedly in one long shot.

Photo: Atsushi Nishijima, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Stroll down the hall, make a right into a dressing room and click on “Riggan Thompson:” You’ll find the trailer for the fictional movie Birdman Returns (catchphrase: “THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!”), coming to theaters in 1992. Go back out in the hall, make a left, a right and two lefts (there are a couple of staircases along the way) and click on “Best Screenplay:” The entire Birdman script pops up in a new tab for your perusal.


Academy voters are notoriously not young and web-savvy, but as the demographics of the membership shift—last year the organization welcomed 271 new members into the fold, including Twelve Years a Slave’s Lupita Nyong’o, The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson and, at long last, Chris Rock—sites like this will likely be useful tools for a greater share of its 6,000-plus members.

Photo: Atsushi Nishijima, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

In the meantime, Academy Award nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 15, and the final round of voting will happen from February 6 to 17. So, for now, this site garners the movie a little media attention (ahem) as it positions Birdman, which is expanding to more theaters across the country this weekend, as creatively innovative and (fingers crossed!) Oscar-worthy.

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About the author

Ari Karpel is a frequent contributor to Fast Company and Co.Create and an instructor at UCLA Extension. His writing about culture, creativity and celebrity has also appeared in The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Men's Health, The Advocate and Tablet.

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