Venice Film Festival picks Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 'Birdman' with Michael Keaton to open 2014 festival

By Daniel S Levine,

The Venice Film Festival, the oldest international film festival in the world, has picked Birdman, an unlikely comedy from Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, to open this year’s festivities. The highly anticipated film features Michael Keaton and figures to be a big player in this year’s awards season.

Organizers for the festival picked Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue to open the 71st annual festival on Aug. 27. It will be screened in competition and eligible for the Golden Lion top prize.

The film, which has been on film fan’s must-see calendars since it was announced back in 2012, stars Keaton as a former superhero actor hoping to gain some respect by putting on a Broadway play. The cast also includes Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. A teaser was released by Fox Searchlight last month.

Inarritu, who is known for heavy dramas like Babel and 21 Grams, co-wrote the black comedy with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. and Armando Bo. Bridman is expected to do as well - or even better - than Babel at the Oscars. Babel was nominated for Best Picture and Inarritu was nominated for Best Director. The film did win an Oscar for its score.

image courtesy of Jennifer Graylock/INFphoto.com

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