This year’s Best Director race ultimately came down to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s crafty work on Birdman, and Richard Linklater’s masterful work over the course of 12 years on Boyhood. Tonight, the Academy honored Iñárritu, presenting him with the award for Best Director for Birdman at the 2015 Oscars.

Iñárritu was in good company in the Best Director category, beating out fellow nominees Linklater for Boyhood, Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game, Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher and Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel. We would have loved to see Anderson finally win an Oscar (especially for his most detailed and visually stunning work to date), but Iñárritu ultimately took home the prize for Birdman.

Iñárritu has been highly praised for his work on Birdman — along with acclaimed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, Iñárritu shot the film as if it was captured in one long take, a conceit which worked well with his “day in the life” concept. That conceit gave the film a particularly intense energy, and although Birdman has been divisive among critics and audiences alike, the Academy has determined that Iñárritu’s inventive work was the best of the year.

Birdman was nominated for a total of nine Oscars at this year’s awards, and was also recently nominated for seven awards at the 2015 Golden Globes, where Michael Keaton won the award for Best Actor for his leading role in the film, and Iñárritu and his co-writers took home the award for Best Screenplay.

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