Mark Harris, Before and After the Oscars

Mark Harris, Grantland, on 2/9/15:

Or maybe they just really love the movie. If this truly is an Oscar contest between Birdman and Boyhood, I’m not going to complain (much), regardless of the outcome. We have seen Best Picture showdowns — too many to name — between far less worthy contenders. And in a way, these two movies are perfectly matched. Birdman, after all, is a movie about someone who hopes to create something as good as Boyhood.

And, of course, Mark Harris, Grantland, on 2/23/15:

A year in which Birdman wins Best Picture is a year in which the industry’s top prize goes to a good movie rather than a bad one, for which let us give thanks. And a year, or 12 of them, in which Richard Linklater makes Boyhood brings us back to what we’ve known all along, which is that there are some achievements that do not need the validation of a statuette.

I’m too biased in favor of Boyhood to write anything that’s fair, but it’s the day after, and I’m still annoyed. Here’s my biggest gripe—there’s a sizable portion of the populace out there who in the next month or two are going to make the time to see the Best Picture winner of 2014. They’ll generate some cash and some buzz and their lives will be just a tiny bit more complete because of it. And it kills me that the movie they’re going to watch is Birdman, and not Boyhood. My metric for the best movie of the year (from back when I used to see a lot more movies) has always been the same—if all of the prints of all of the movies from a given year were all in the same room, and the room caught fire, and you could only save one to show to future generations, what movie would it be.

2014, you save Boyhood. End of discussion.