Monday, 29 February 2016

88th Academy Awards Wrap Up

Wow do we have a lot to talk about, I won’t even waste time with an introduction, let’ just move straight into it. Chris Rock kicked off the ceremony by addressing the elephant in the room almost instantly, to surprisingly great effect. His opening monologue was sharp, to the point and wonderfully satirical concerning the issue. He didn’t just take the low hanging fruit and targeted everyone involved, especially those headlining the Oscar boycott, “It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this this ‘no black nominees’ thing happened at least 71 times before. You got to figure it happened in the ‘50s, in the ‘60s. Why? Because we had real things to protest at the time. We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer.” He went on to say “I could never boycott, I couldn’t loose another job to Kevin Hart” and to top it all off, “Everybody went mad … Jada got mad. Jada said she’s not coming. Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”
The only problem was that he occasionally drifted into lingering on the issue. We got it at the start, but Rock seemed to reuse the same jokes again and again, and they were never as prominent or satirical as his opening monologue. When he wasn’t talking about race after that he was still very humorous and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s invited back in a few years’ time. As for next year’s host… I’ll get to that later.
I was right when it came to one screenplay award, ‘The Big Short’ did indeed walk away with the prize (so ‘Anchorman’is now from an Oscar winning writer) but it was ‘Spotlight’ that took home the award for Best Original Screenplay instead of my choice of ‘Inside Out’. But I should not despair, as unsurprisingly Pete Docter and Pixar collected the award for Best Animated Feature. There were also no surprises in the Best Documentary Feature, with ‘Amy’ winning the award and ‘Son of Saul’ took the Best Foreign Language Film.
There was however, a surprise in the Best Visual Effects category with ‘Ex Machina’ taking home the award. Now I liked ‘Ex Machina’ a lot, but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say “The effects were the best part”. I said that every year the academy like to give out one award to prove they are not old men, and this year it was with an indie science fiction film. But speaking of ‘Ex Machina’, it was great to see Alicia Vikander win Best Supporting Actress for ‘The Danish Girl’. I know I had placed my bet on Rooney Mara winning but that was mainly down to what I thought would happen and I’m equally pleased for Alicia to win instead, after all she has had a fantastic year and I must once again state this simple message, filmmakers; hire her now, doesn’t matter what role it is, just hire Alicia Vikander because I am now convinced that she can do anything.
It was very surprising to see Stallone loose out to Mark Rylance. I’m not saddened or outraged a Rylance’s performance was an outstanding one. Also, if there’s one thing Rocky Balboa stands for, it’s not about winning, it’s about proving yourself to others and defying the odds. Plus, Rylance’s was possibly the humblest speech of the night as he ran through his admiration of Tom Hanks, Stallone, Ruffalo, Bale and Hardy, even in his press screening he couldn’t stop praising other people with nods to the likes of Paul Dano and Idris Elba.
Best original Score went to Ennio Morricone for ‘The Hateful Eight’, which feels more like a lifetime achievement than anything else as the scores for ‘Sicario’ and ‘The Force Awakens’ felt stronger for me. But then again when you’re 87 years old and wrote the scores for ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ and ‘The Thing’, you can do whatever you want. Then of course is the third consecutive victory for Emmanuel Lubezki in cinematography for ‘The Revenant’, (he won last year for ‘Birdman’ and for ‘Gravity’ in 2013).
‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ swept the technical categories with 6 Oscars in total for Editing (both film and sound), Sound Mixing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design and Costume Design. It even came close to winning Best Documentary Short when Louis C.K opened the envelope and said ‘Mad Max’. If he had stuck with it I think Junkie XL’s fanfare would have started, but as I was saying earlier I think the Oscars have found their next host Louis C.K.
But not Best Director, and I predicted Miller would, but I made that prediction based on the assumption that ‘The Revenant’ would win Best Picture (because even though my heart said ‘Spotlight’ I didn’t have that much faith in it winning) and if Inarritu was going to win that I thought they might as well give it to Miller, (at least he’s Jury President at the 2016 Cannes film festival). But ‘The Revenant’ took Best Director for Inarritu, who was presented the award by JJ Abrams, only for ‘Spotlight’ to defy my own expectations, and win Best Picture. I’m very pleased it did as Tom McCarthy’s movie had a strong political message that few filmmakers would tackle with as much intelligence, emotion and dignity as he did. So for director and picture, I think the academy made the right call.
Best Actress rightfully went to Brie Larson, it’s as simple as that. If I were to pick the best performance of 2015 I’d say it was Larson without a doubt. But the biggest talking point of the evening was of course… Best Animated Short, look I know ‘Prologue’ was the favourite but you just have to accept it went to ‘Bear Story’. There was also Leonardo DiCaprio, finally! His win was met with a standing ovation and in his speech Leo thanked everyone from his co-star Tom Hardy to his director Alejandro Inarritu and of course his long-time collaborator Mr Martin Scorsese. A long overdue award that signals the end of an era, no more Leonardo/Oscar, memes... or that's what you think.

So what did you think of the awards and winners? Are you disappointed with the Best Original Song winner, I know I am. Leave a comment below to let me know, thanks and bye.

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