Entertainment & Arts

Birdman beats Boyhood at Independent Spirit awards

Alejandro G Inarritu (centre) with Independent Spirit award for Birdman Image copyright AFP
Image caption Alejandro G Inarritu (centre) and Birdman got a pre-Oscars boost

Birdman has beaten Boyhood to the top prize at the Film Independent Spirit awards - one day before the films go up against each other at the Oscars.

Alejandro G Inarritu's showbiz satire won best feature, best actor for Michael Keaton and for cinematography.

The awards, which honour low budget film-making, were made in a giant tent on Santa Monica beach on Saturday.

Birdman's triple win adds to the film's momentum ahead of Sunday's Academy Awards.

Inarritu said he felt "so proud and emotional" to win and praised Keaton and his cast that includes Edward Norton and Emma Stone.

Boyhood - a family drama filmed with the same actors over 12 years - won best director for Richard Linklater while Patricia Arquette was named best actress.

Arquette, who is strongly tipped to win an Oscar, spoke of the film's long lifespan.

*People buried their parents, got married, divorced and had babies," she said. "It was an enormous commitment of time."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pawel Pawlikowski: "Miracles happen"

Two other Oscar front runners also walked off with acting prizes. Julianne Moore won best actress for Still Alice in which she plays a woman with early onset Alzheimer's.

"We wanted to make a movie that was about living with something, not dying from it," she said.

The actress, who undertook extensive research into her role, highlighted the low budget spirit of the film.

"We made the movie in 23 days for $4m," she said. "I brought my own bras and food."

JK Simmons won best supporting actor for his role as a tyrannical teacher in jazz drama Whiplash.

The role, which he described as "a good fit", has already drummed up a lot of trophies for Simmons.

"There's an embarrassingly large collection of them that are sitting on top of a mini fridge in our bathroom," he said backstage.

Polish drama Ida won best international film.

"We did everything to make a film nobody watches - black and white, the camera doesn't move," said director Pawel Pawlikowski as he picked up his prize. "But miracles happen."

Full list of Independent Spirit Award Winners

Best Feature - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Director - Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Male lead - Michael Keaton for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Female lead - Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Supporting Male - JK Simmons for Whiplash

Supporting Female - Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Screenplay - Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler

Cinematography - Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Editing - Tom Cross for Whiplash

Best First Feature - Nightcrawler

First Screenplay - Justin Simien for Dear White People

John Cassavetes Award - Land Ho!

Documentary - CitizenFour

International Film - Ida

Robert Altman Award - Inherent Vice

Special Distinction Award to Foxcatcher

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