No, Birdman isn’t about Hollywood

Filed in Arts by on February 23, 2015 2 Comments


I read a snarky comment in the Evening Standard this afternoon suggesting that Birdman’s triumph at the Oscars was another example of Hollywood’s pitiful self-regard: the industry patting itself on the back, ignoring all those important films about real life, and giving the top gongs (sorry, statuettes) to a film about actors, directors, producers, critics and their adoring fans.

To say that Birdman is about Hollywood is like saying that Hamlet is about royalty, or House of Cards about presidential politics. Birdman is about life, about being human, and the ten thousand existential issues that arise in a 24 hour stroll through someone’s life. Yes, an unusual, fantastical life; but nevertheless a life through which the human condition itself is refracted.

I don’t often gush in public about films (my private gushing is another matter), so I am delighted that the two Best Film categories went to my two most gushed-over movies of the last few months: Birdman for Best Picture (see my January review here), and Ida for Best Foreign Language Film (see my October review here).

OK, so I tipped Ida for Best Cinematography (which it should have won), and made a rash comment to eat my clerical collar if it failed. So I am now off to make a clerical collar out of rice paper and eat it for breakfast tomorrow…

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About the Author ()

Fr Stephen Wang is a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Westminster. He is currently Senior University Chaplain for the Archdiocese. Some of his articles have previously been published on his personal blog, Bridges and Tangents. See:

Comments (2)

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  1. Tonia says:

    I was looking at the winners yesterday and noticed the 2 movies you’ve ‘gushed-over’ had won, as did Argo in 2013. It made me wonder where your film knowledge comes from. Have you studied or are you self taught?

    • Fr Stephen Wang says:

      Ah, but many other films I have gushed over have been completely ignored!
      No, I wish I had gone to film school. I just love film, and think (seriously) that it is the highest form of art…

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