Jeff Labrecque
January 14, 2015 AT 06:30 PM EST

When the Academy Awards are announced Thursday morning, Birdman will likely be one of the films contending for the most nominations. Not only are its stars—Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone—considered shoo-ins, but the film is such an ambitious technical and cinematic marvel that it could win multiple mentions in the technical categories as well, from editing to cinematography to production design.

And, of course, writing and directing, too. Alejandro Iñárritu, who built this beast, directed a script he co-wrote with three collaborators. In this online-exclusive, the cast of the film talks about their fearless leader, who decided to tell a complicated story in the most complicated manner possible, giving the film’s subtitle—The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance—some additional meaning.

Birdman, which opened in October and has already grossed more than $26 million, will expand its reach in theaters this weekend after the nominations are announced.

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