Here it is – the one that everybody wanted to know – the 2015 Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year has been won by Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). The movie, in which Michael Keaton plays a washed-up film star trying to reinvent himself as a credible Broadway stage actor, sufficiently impressed the Academy to put it on top of a very strong field.

Birdman came out on top ahead of seven other films: Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Ava DuVernay’s Selma, James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything and Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash.

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in the Academy Award winner for Best Picture 2015 - 'Birdman'

Sean Penn presented the ultimate prize, and its director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was almost overwhelmed at the success that he had achieved that night. Up on stage for the third time in the evening, he had added the Best Picture prize to his awards for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel had led the field in terms of overall nominations, with nine in total, but it was Birdman that pipped it to the post in the major prizes. However, both films did tie at the top of the total awards tally, with four each. Boyhood, though it was one of the favourites at the start of the evening, went home with just one prize from its six nominations, that of Patricia Arquette’s Best Supporting Actress statuette.

The Best Picture award closed out the ceremony, which was hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris and was broadcast live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. It was an unusually political affair, with Patricia Arquette and Graham Moore (Best Adapted Screenplay winner) making emotionally charged speeches.

Harris’ hosting went down somewhat indifferently, with some criticising a lack of comic timing and overly restrained manner. Though he did at one point strip down to his underwear a la Birdman

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