Best Director: from radio to the Oscars
Years after playing 1980s rock music as a popular radio DJ in Mexico, film-maker Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu was back behind a microphone on Sunday: To accept the Oscar for best director.
Iñárritu – the creative force behind dark comedy Birdman – became the second Mexican in a row to win Hollywood’s top directing prize, one year after countryman Alfonso Cuarón was rewarded for space thriller Gravity.
Birdman, starring Michael Keaton as a washed up superhero movie star attempting to revive his career on Broadway, marks a break from Iñárritu’s somber dramas.
A music lover, Iñárritu started working for WFM radio in the 1980s while he was still a communications student at Mexico City’s Iberoamerican University before traveling the world as a cabin boy in a merchant vessel at the age of 19, trading the microphone for a camera.
Iñárritu left WFM in the 1990s to make TV ads and short films for his production firm, Z Films, while learning the craft from Polish theater director Ludwik Margules.
It was during that time that he met screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, with whom he made Amores Perros – a raw drama in which three stories collide after a car crash in Mexico’s sprawling capital.
His debut feature earned Inarritu a big ovation at the Cannes film festival, where it won the Critics’ Week prize in 2000.
“I think that I’m a musician before I am a film-maker – a frustrated musician,” Iñárritu once said, comparing his films to musical genres.
Amores Perros, he said, is a rock song while the crime drama 21 Grams is jazz, Babel amounts to an opera and Biutiful is a requiem.
Citizenfour wins Best Doc
The best documentary Oscar awarded to Citizenfour is the latest in a string of accolades for the journalists who brought to light the trove of classified documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The film directed and produced by Laura Poitras reveals how she worked with other reporters to lift the lid on the sweeping surveillance programs of the US National Security Agency and other intelligence services – revelations which shocked many in America and around the world.
Citizenfour revolves around a series of conversations with Snowden filmed in Hong Kong, where the onetime NSA contractor explains the powerful intelligence apparatus of the US government and its allies.
It notably shows Snowden – who used the pseudonym Citizenfour when he first contacted Poitras – explaining these programs to her, Greenwald and Guardian journalist Ewen MacAskill.
Poitras said earlier this month that “the motivation for the film was really to tell the story of what happened, what was the motivation and why (Snowden) took the risks that he took.”
Hawking salutes Best Actor Redmayne
Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking congratulated British actor Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for playing him in the film The Theory of Everything.
“Well done Eddie, I’m very proud of you,” the wheelchair-bound academic, who suffers from motor neurone disease, said in a Facebook post.
“Congratulations to Eddie Redmayne for winning an Oscar for playing me,” he said.
When the film came out last year, Hawking said: “At times I thought it was me.”
Redmayne, 33, dedicated his Oscar to people like Hawking suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and thanked the academic’s family.
The film tells the love story between Hawking and his first wife Jane with whom he lived for 30 years and had three children.
Best picture: Birdman
Best director: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Birdman
Best actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Best actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Best supporting actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Best supporting actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Best original screenplay: Birdman
Best adapted screenplay: The Imitation Game
Best foreign language film: Ida (Poland)
Best animated film: Big Hero 6
Best documentary feature: Citizenfour