"Birdman" received a welcome lift on its flight to the Oscars after winning the Producers Guild of America's highest film award Saturday night at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
The win delivers needed momentum to Alejandro Inarritu's showbiz romp following its upset loss to "The Grand Budapest Hotel" in the Golden Globes' comedy category earlier this month. It's now neck and neck in the Oscar race with Richard Linklater's "Boyhood," which won in the Globes drama category.
Many of the PGA's 6,700 members are also Oscar voters and for the past seven years, the guild's choices for its top trophy went on to win the best-picture prize at the Academy Awards.
Other films that were up for the PGA's top honor this year included "American Sniper," ''Boyhood," ''Foxcatcher," ''Gone Girl," ''The Grand Budapest Hotel," ''The Imitation Game," ''Nightcrawler," ''The Theory of Everything" and "Whiplash."
Notably absent from the nominees was "Selma," which had been named among the year's best films by various industry groups, including an Oscar nomination.
Other trophies presented Saturday night included "The Lego Movie" for animated feature, "Life Itself" for documentary film, "Fargo" for television movie or miniseries, "Breaking Bad" for TV drama series, "Orange is the New Black" for TV comedy series and "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee for digital series.
Next up on the pre-Oscar awards circuit are Sunday night's Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Feb. 7 Directors Guild honors and the Writer Guild ceremony on Feb.14. The 87th annual Academy Awards will be presented Feb. 22.