The dark comedy Birdman held up a mirror to Hollywood and its struggling actors and in return received the film industry's highest recognition on 22 February, the Academy Award for best picture.

Director Alejandro González Iñárritu's story of a washed-up, former superhero actor attempting an improbable comeback on Broadway won four Oscars in its nine nominations, including best director, the second consecutive win in that category for a Mexican filmmaker. Birdman won three other awards for best picture, best original screenplay and best cinematography.

Each of the eight best picture nominees went home with at least one award, but it was a disappointing night for Boyhood, Richard Linklater's unprecedented 12-year endeavour to depict the simple story of a boy growing up, using the same actors. It won one Oscar out of its six nods, best supporting actress.

Wes Anderson's colourful caper, The Grand Budapest Hotel, proved popular among the 6,100 members of the Academy, winning four awards on its nine nominations, including best costume, makeup and hairstyling, original score and production design.

All four acting award winners celebrated their first Oscars.

Britain's Eddie Redmayne won best actor with his painstaking portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, robbing Birdman lead and former superhero actor Michael Keaton of a big comeback moment. Redmayne won critical acclaim for his depiction of the various stages of disability endured by Hawking, who suffers from the motor neuron disease known as ALS.

Five-time nominee Julianne Moore won best actress, also for her portrayal of an illness, as a middle-aged woman suffering Alzheimer's in Still Alice.