Both are team sports. Both require incredible individual team players who figure out how to work together in a single cut, in difficult circumstances to do something audacious and do it incredibly well. I imagine in both, the teams involved (especially given the technique of Birdman), had to improvise under difficult circumstances to create something singular.
In retrospect, Michael Keaton’s reluctant quip “Look, it's great to be here. Who am I kidding? This is just great fun.” was one of my favorite moments of the Oscar’s.
For the three of you who did not see the best picture speech (likely because you only put an extra thirty minutes on the DVR record time), the exuberant and eloquent director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu shoved Keaton up to the mic; Keaton said little and looked elated, almost dazed.
Michael Keaton was clearly enjoying the best picture moment as part of his Birdman team. He had lost best actor only moments earlier.
Teams win together and lose together. Ninety-eight percent of the Academy Awards are about individual achievement. Yet, individuals don't make great movies. Individuals will get comments like “X actor did an incredible job, but the plot was convoluted and the other acting was ehh.” The whole point of movie going is to enjoy the entire experience, the amalgamation of writing, direction, acting, editing, cinematography, costume design and the business people who make it all happen.
Birdman may be one of my favorite movies of all time (only time will tell). The script and technique were unique, well executed and incredibly acted. Any one of the component parts- actors, director, writers, composers, etc- could have won an award in my mind (perhaps why I am not asked to vote!).
Much like a start-up, where we revere larger than life founders (or directors/producers), it is about the chemistry of teams (actors, cinematographers, editors, set designers), the way founders, their first set of hires, their next set hires and so on come together to build a company (a movie).
I used to row in college. I cannot imagine winning an award for best six seat. For the boat to win, the company to thrive, and the movie to entertain, the team must win together. Winning as a team also just feels better to me.
Ironically, Birdman is a commentary about the ego and narcissism of an actor and of our society as whole in our “see me” culture. Most of the awards at the Oscars celebrate individual achievement, which is the innocent drug that can drive ego. What I love most is watching the motley cast of talent stand up there together, as a team, having won the award for telling a magical story that takes us to another place.