Morelia Film Fest: Alejandro G. Inarritu on 'Birdman' Oscar Buzz

Birdman Still 3 - H 2014
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Birdman Still 3 - H 2014

The writer-director was in his native Mexico this weekend for the Latin American premiere of the Michael Keaton starrer

Alejandro G. Inarritu’s dark comedy Birdman has wowed moviegoers yet again, this time on opening night at the Morelia International Film Festival.

Since its world premiere in Venice, Birdman has emerged as a strong Oscar contender, thanks in large part to a stellar performance by Michael Keaton, who plays a washed-up superhero film star struggling to resurrect his acting career on Broadway.

Screenings at Telluride and the New York Film Festival also drew mostly favorable reviews, and Birdman soared this weekend at the specialty box office in New York and Los Angeles.

For Morelia, one of Mexico’s top film fests, this marks the second consecutive year that the opener is from a Mexican director and is getting considerable Oscar buzz. Last year, it was Inarritu's longtime friend Alfonso Cuaron who was grabbing headlines in Morelia for his space thriller Gravity, which went on to win seven Academy Awards, including best director for Cuaron and cinematography for Mexican Emmanuel Lubezki.

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In Birdman, Keaton’s character Riggan Thomson battles an ego-driven inner voice, a voice that Inarritu is no stranger to amid all the recent Oscar talk.

“I’m aware of my Birdman voice, and the vulture has become a little sterling,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “But (an Oscar) will not make me more happy or more miserable. The film was a chance to explore my own ego.”

Inarritu would like nothing more than to see Keaton land his first Oscar for what he considers a painfully honest performance.

Said Inarritu: “He really absorbed the pain and the honest quality of being out there so naked like that; [it] was very moving and beautiful.”

Inarritu's feature debut Amores Perros was nominated for a foreign language Oscar, and he got directing and best picture noms for Babel, but he has never won an Academy Award.