Academy Awards Spread The Wealth With “Spotlight,” “The Revenant” And “Mad Max”

What can I say about last night’s Oscars? Well, at least The Revenant didn’t win Best Picture, right?

Chris Rock immediately began with commenting on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and he didn’t hold back. Though there were some excellent points made about the lack of diversity in Hollywood (including a brilliant bit featuring Academy Award nominee Angela Bassett that came later in the ceremony), some of the jokes felt either undercooked or horribly misguided. Namely, a joke about how Asians are good at math, featuring children (I’m not the person who should speak on this, but you should read this excellent piece on the whole thing here).

But perhaps the most shocking aspect  was when  Rock introduced Stacey Dash following his monologue. The bit was so surreal, I thought that I had imagined it. It’s truly something you have to experience for yourself.

I’m not sure who planned this, or why, but it something else, and that’s all I really have to say about that.

Alicia Vikander capped off her amazing breakout year by winning Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. While I wish it was for Ex Machina, the genuinely exasperated Vikander gave a touching acceptance speech and I’m excited to see what she does next.

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Mad Max: Fury Road began a very impressive series of wins in the technical categories, including editing, cinematography and the sound categories. It won more Oscars than any film last year, and will always be the true winner of Best Director and Best Picture (in my heart).

By the way, if you needed any indication that Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu is exactly the pompous, stuck up man he’s made himself out to be this entire awards season, look no further than this video of him and several others refusing to clap as costumer Jenny Beavan collects her Oscar for Mad Max.

Longtime stage actor Mark Rylance surprisingly usurped the favorite to win, Sylvester Stallone, for Best Supporting Actor. Many saw this as a surprise, though Stallone was not nominated for a SAG or BAFTA. Rylance was nominated for a SAG and won the BAFTA; clearly the industry was behind Rylance in a way they weren’t with Stallone or Creed.

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The most powerful moment of the night was Lady Gaga’s performance of “Till It Happens To You.” Easily the best of the Original Song nominee performances, but also the most emotional. She dedicated the performance to victims of sexual assault, and brought them out to join her to close out the performance.

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Everyone in the audience was visibly moved by the end of the performance. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as The Academy ultimately awarded Sam Smith’s mediocre “Writing’s On The Wall” which was easily the worst of the nominees, and the worst James Bond song ever written. Contrary to what Smith would have you believe, he is not the first openly gay man to win an Oscar.

As a gay man myself, I would appreciate it if Smith could stop watering down his sexuality in his music while bashing other gay men in the press, but then assert himself as an advocate when it benefits him. If he’s going to be an advocate for the LGBT community, he needs to speak up for the other members of the LGBT community who don’t have the platform he is afforded.

The speech felt very insulting, especially since his fellow nominee in the song category, Anohni Hegarty, was not asked to perform her song from Manta Ray along with Smith, The Weeknd and Lady Gaga. Hegarty made history as the first trans woman to be nominated for an Oscar, so if Smith was so ready to make this a moment about the LGBT community and not himself, he might’ve said something about how disrespectful that move was, or how he supports Hegarty, etc. Basically, Smith is the Taylor Swift of the gay community.

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But back to the Oscars. The Revenant’s Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu and Emmanual Lubezki made Oscar history. Lubezki won his third consecutive cinematography Oscar, while Iñárritu won his second consecutive Best Director trophy.

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Brie Larson continued her dominance of the Best Actress race by collecting the final trophy, her Oscar. She previously won the Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Critic’s Choice. To say Hollywood has found their new “it” girl, might be an understatement. While I was pulling for Saoirse Ronan, Larson has been working very hard in the industry for a long while. She was great on The United States of Tara and even better in Short Term 12. I feel as if great things are to come from her now that she has her Oscar.

Side note: Brie Larson hugged each and every survivor featured in Gaga’s performance. Gotta love her.

Oh, yeah, and Leo finally won his Oscar in case you were wondering.

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He got the biggest standing ovation of the night. While this award is nothing more than a “We’re sorry for it taking so long, but now you have one,” it did feel nice to see him finally get an Oscar, even if he didn’t necessarily have to act to get it.

Team Spotlight, despite winning only one other award, collected Best Picture, beating out the presumed favorites The Revenant and The Big Short. It is one of the only films to win Best Picture and only one other award.

Oscar season is a wrap! Until next year.

See the full list of winners below: 

Best Picture: Spotlight

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, The Revenant 

Best Actor in A Leading Role: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant 

Best Actress in A Leading Role: Brie Larson, Room

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies 

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl 

Best Original Screenplay: Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight

Best Adapted Screenplay: Charles Randolph & Adam McKay, The Big Short 

Best Animated Film: Inside Out

Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul 

Best Documentary: Amy 

Best Live Action Short Film: Stutterer 

Best Animated Short Film: Bear Story

Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight

Best Original Song: “Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre 

Best Sound Editing: Mark Magini & David White, Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road 

Best Production Design: Colin Gibson & Lisa Thompson Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road 

Best Costume Design: Jenny Bevan, Mad Max: Fury Road 

Best Film Editing: Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road 

Best Visual Effects: Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Williams Ardington and Sara Bennett, Ex Machina 

 

 

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