'Birdman' Wins Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director

LOS ANGELES - “Birdman,” the 21st Century Fox Inc. feature about a washed-up film superhero trying to stage a comeback, won the Oscar for best picture, Hollywood’s highest honor. Its director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, also won.

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” collected four awards in all, including best original screenplay. The film stars Michael Keaton as an actor who mounts a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver short story.

It was a fitting winner on a night when smaller, artistically ambitious films dominated Hollywood’s most prestigious awards, and host Neil Patrick Harris poked fun at the industry’s obsession with superheroes. Big winners included “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Whiplash.” “Boyhood,” “Birdman’s” biggest rival for best picture, took one Oscar.

“All the people that were behind this film were really heroes because the idea was really crazy,” Iñárritu said from the stage. “I don’t know how that happened, but it happened.”

While “Birdman” emerged as the top film, others led the voting for the lead acting and supporting roles.

Eddie Redmayne captured the best actor award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in ``The Theory of Everything.'' The film recounts the renowned British physicist’s battle with a rare form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that robs him of his ability to move and speak.

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