'Birdman' has made a huge impression on the Telluride Film Festival, but will it be the 'The Imitation Game' that walks away with the Oscars come February 2015?
Birdman conquered at in Venice and although the movie didn't go down quite as well at the Telluride Film Festival, it still got a huge nod of approval from the Colorado crowd and was probably the most accomplished and interesting work on offer - which tells you something of this movie's sheer quality.
Michael Keaton in 'Birdman'
It's also a strange movie, given it's come from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - the man behind intense dramas Amores Perros, Babel, 21 Grams and Biutiful. Birdman on the other hand is essentially a comedy - a dark comedy, but a comedy nonetheless. Put it this way, should it be nominated for a Golden Globe, it'll find itself in the comedy/musical category.
When Deadline's Pete Hammond put this Inarritu in Telluride the director said: "I have to laugh about that. The intensity to do a drama is strong and when I hit 50 last year I really thought I should lighten up a little bit. I have been doing some personal stuff that I thought would get me to a very nice place and understand a lot of things that before I didn't."
Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'
"From now on I just want to defend my right to fail and in a way go on the journey to discover things and liberate myself of the control of my comfortable side," he said, "It's liberating when you lose yourself and go after something you know terrifies you, but the experience was so good here. Beyond the results, beyond whether it's good or not, the experience is much more alive."
The director is skipping the Toronto Film Festival to head straight to New York where Birdman will close the city's festival. Should Birdman go on to dominate awards' season - not inconceivable - Inarritu will not be there to share the joy. He is about to begin a long-shoot for New Regency - a "pre-western" movie titled The Revenant with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Elsewhere at Telluride, the Weinstein's World War II drama The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing went down very, very well. Hammond noted that one of his rival Oscar consultants had such a torrid time trying to get into one of the several screenings that he eventually gave up.