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AP, Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision
Michael Keaton, left, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu laugh as they arrive at the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015, in Santa Monica, Calif.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A day before it may soar at the Oscars, "Birdman" spread its wings at the 30th Independent Film Spirit Awards, winning best picture and best actor for Michael Keaton.

The elegantly stitched together backstage comedy was the big winner at the annual afternoon beachside celebration of independent film on Saturday. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Birdman" won over what many consider its stiffest competition, the 12-years-in-the-making "Boyhood," though that film's maker, Richard Linklater, still took the directing honor.

As Hollywood has increasingly devoted itself to global blockbuster and superheros, the Spirit Awards — once a casual indie appetizer to the Oscars — feels more and more like the center of the industry, or at least a more idealized version of it.

Inarritu said the event celebrated "the cinema that is being forgotten."