Wow! They actually did a pretty good job!
Ok so I'm doing what I usually do on Oscar night. I live tweeted the show, talked with half a dozen people at once, and now I'm gonna write a review of the show. It's a long night, but this review is always an interesting one because I am pretty loopy. Now, there was a lot of controversy surrounding this year's Oscars. There was the obvious and deserved #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but there was also some lesser-known controversy surrounding the lesser-known musicians nominated for Best Original Song. Anohni, the first transgender performer to be nominated for Best Original Song, was barred from performing her song at the show because of "time constraints." While I can see why they choose not to let her play as the show went on till midnight EST, she still has the right to be able to play her song in front of her peers. The Academy is not being very transparent on this issue, and but in the wake of all the clamoring about a lack of diversity from the Academy, a promise of "we will do better" from the Academy president felt very hallow to me as they are clearly saying one thing and doing another. She wrote a powerful essay on her ordeal which you can read here. But I digress. Let's talk about Chris Rock!
Chris Rock was by FAR the best host we've had of the Oscars in a long time. From the very first second of his opening monologue his jokes were on point and right to the jugular, and they made everyone in that room uncomfortable. They were also funny! He managed to somehow find a balancing line between making fun of the Oscars for their lack of diversity while make fun of everyone else for making such a big deal over it. His segment at a movie theater in Compton where he interviewed people who didn't know what films were nominated for Best Picture was a sharp statement on both how irrelevant the Oscars are to most people and how we can all find enjoyment in film regardless of what some old white guys had to say about it. I think this segment was my favorite moment of the night. Either that or the opening monologue, which was fantastic from start to finish. The only sort of cheesy bit we got from him all night involved his daughters selling girl scout cookies, and this moment felt much more like Ellen's selfie in 2014 than it did NPH's "look I got all the Oscars right because I got to see the winners before the show!" bit. As in it was a much better moment, and seeing how much money they raised, assuming they did actually raise that much money, was pretty incredible. I guess when you're a millionaire Hollywood star you walk around with hundreds in your pocket. I also wanted to give credit to Chris Rock for bringing out Stacey Dash for the official smart joke of the evening. Most of us said, "huh?" when it happened, but upon further investigation it turns out Stacey Dash once appeared on Fox News (of course) to say that we shouldn't have black history month. So to get her to come out and go against her word is actually fairly impressive, and I hope a story comes out about how that moment transpired in the upcoming days.
Another thing that surprised me but I honestly was kind of glad didn't happen was some tribute to an old Hollywood film. The lack of tributes did keep the pacing of the show pretty brisk, until we got into the second and third hour of the show. Then it really slowed down as they sped through the first 10 awards then took their time with the last few. I expected to see some half-assed tribute to Star Wars as an "apology" for not giving the film any awards, but all we ultimately got was a cameo from the three droids. Which, honeslty, might've ultimately been the weakest part of the night. But let's talk awards! I need to go to bed soon.
So let's address the elephant in the room first: Leo finally won his Oscar. Yay! And he had a great speech lined up too, pulling a Ron Burgundy from Anchorman and choosing to use his spotlight to deliver a great (and very true) message on the enviornment. Ok, now that I've talked about that and since that's all the world is going to be focusing on for the next few weeks, let's talk about other things you might not be aware of, shall we?
The real story to talk about is who won Best Original Score. Ennio Morricone. The only victor outside the top four to receive a standing ovation, Morricone is a famed Italian composer who has been composing film scores since the 1960's. He has well over 500 film credits to his name as well as an Honorary Academy Award which he received back in 2007. But, until tonight, he remained Oscarless. As an emotional and frail Morricone walked onto the stage, I too was overcome by emotion. To see this man, a man so ridiculously obsessed with his craft but never eager to step into the spotlight, finally be officially recognized for his contributions to the industry, was the only moment the entire night I was truly emotionally moved. And to see his peers acknowledge this the way they did....it was a great reminder of the good side of Hollywood, one which I desperately needed in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite and the Anohni controversy. I stood up and clapped in my apartment at this moment, as it was over 50 years overdue.
As for a few other great moments....the biggest surprise of the night for me had to be Ex Machina winning Best Visual Effects. I was happy to see Mad Max pull a Gravity and (almost) sweep the technical categories, but I can't help but love the fact that the little sci-fi film that could, a film destined to be a cult classic, can now tout an Oscar to its name. And a pretty high-profile Oscar at that. What must have happened was Star Wars and Mad Max split the Academy's votes which opened the door for someone else to steal it. And, honestly, I'm glad that it won! I know Star Wars and Mad Max got all the press for its practical effects, which of course were fantastic, but the amount of care that went into turning Alicia Vikander into Eva day in and day out (Vikander had to show up at around 4 AM every day to begin prep with the makeup crew and effects crew for the day's shooting) had gone largely unnoticed by everyone until tonight. It was almost the culmination of the fact that Vikander deserved an award for her performance in Ex Machina more than The Danish Girl from those who voted for Machina in the effects category over Mad Max and Star Wars. Wow the lines are starting to slant because I can't keep my head straight up I should probably wrap this up soon....
Let's see what else what else......oh! I overall approve of who the Academy picked for acting this year. The big surprise was Mark Rylance over Sly, which many people may be upset about but BELIEVE ME I am not one of them. I'm so glad Brie Larson won, as FOR ONCE my best performance of the year actually aligned with Academy's choice for whatever category that person was nominated for. (Leo was my number 1 in 2013, and don't forget the part where my number 1 from 2014, Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler, wasn't even nominated) I also loved how the presenters, you know, presented the awards this year. From Cate Blanchett (who I met OMG OMG) walking on stage to present the award for Best Costume Design with a bunch of costumes behind her to some great tributes to the sound editors highlighting the, you know, sounds of the film, (PLEASE put that in the special features section of these films because that was AWESOME) the Academy was on point this year in acknowledging the individual departments responsible in creating a film. However while I was happy in most of the picks this year, there were a few that really pissed me off.
There were 3.5 awards that kind of got to me this year. First off, let's talk about the .5. Anomalisa. Look, I'm not stupid. I knew Inside Out was going to win Best Animated Feature. But to all of y'all saying it deserved it.....you're wrong. Just straight up wrong. Anomalisa was a VASTLY superior film to Inside Out, and it was even a better film from an animation perspective. There was no doubt it wasn't going to win, but you cannot say it truly deserved to win until you see Anomalisa. Then you can say whatever you want. I was also saddened by the fact that Mad Max won Best Editing versus The Big Short. This one I was only kind of sort of mad over since there's a great story behind the editing of Mad Max, which was done by George Miller's wife, by the way, but I still felt the editing of Big Short was far more creative. However the two awards that really got me were Best Original Song and....you guessed it! Best Director. First off, this year's Best Original Song seemed to be set up for Lady Gaga to take it with her emotional Till It Happens. However, what we got was a win for Sam Smith? Featuring a song that was, according to Sam Smith himself, written in about 10 minutes and just might be the worst song in the history of the franchise? Don't get me wrong: I looooooved Smith's acceptance speech. The speech felt particularly relevant given the controversy within the category itself, but still. Smith's performance of the song during the show was absolutely DREADFUL, and was by far the worst moment of the entire ceremony. Whereas Lady Gaga's performance was the best performance of the night. Though how the Academy actually used Dave Grohl (playing Blackbird on guitar during the In Memoriam segment) was great too, and it was about the only way I would've been happy to actually see Dave Grohl perform during the show. Though I do wish he had played Starman or Life on Mars as opposed to Blackbird, but I'll trust Dave Grohl's judgement to not play a Bowie song in that moment.
Anyway, the big disappointment of the evening in terms of awards was Alejandro González Iñárritu. Hollywood's favorite yes-man, Iñárritu became the first director in over 50 years to win back-to-back Best Director awards. And he didn't deserve either of them. I don't mean to take away anything from The Revenant, but George Miller's work on Mad Max was, like Richard Linklater on Boyhood a year earlier, just so much more meaningful than Iñárritu's work on Revenant. He didn't even bother to hide it during his introduction! During the "and the nominees are" segment, Iñárritu talked about the cinematography of the film. You know, the cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki did and not him. Just as they did last year, the Academy selected their favorite director of the year, and not the best director of the year. While I'm ultimately glad Spotlight took home Best Picture and not The Revenant, it still doesn't change the fact that George Miller was snubbed for his incredible achievement in the creation of and dedication to Mad Max. So sad.
Finally, as I said before, I'm glad Spotlight took home the ultimate prize. This is a film that needs to be watched by everyone, and if winning Best Picture makes that happen then I'm all for it. Sure, in 20 years we will likely be saying Mad Max was snubbed, but at least it was to Spotlight and not The Revenant.
Ultimately, despite the controversies surrounding it, I quite enjoyed this year's Oscars. Chris Rock was on point from start to finish with some exceptional skits and jokes, most of the musical numbers were good, and the awards were mostly on point. There were enough surprises to keep even a hardened moviegoer like me entertained, and in the end a deserving film took home the biggest prize. 2015's Oscars are a distant memory. Now can we PLEASE get Kevin Hart to host the Oscars in 2017????
My Number: 8/10 Great
Well, that wraps up my 2015 in film! Given how much work I've done over the past year, (and every year, for that matter) this moment is about the biggest moment of closure for me in any given year, as now we officially put 2015 in the books and focus squarely on 2016. Thanks for another great year here at Enter the Movies, everyone. I love all of you, and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for film. But, as for now, it is very late, and my pillow is calling. I'll see ya next time here on Enter the Movies! DEUCES!
http://global.fncstatic.com/static/managed/img/Entertainment/chris%20rock%20oscars%202016%20reuters.jpg (Chris Rock)
http://a57.foxnews.com/global.fncstatic.com/static/managed/img/Entertainment/876/493/chris%20rock%20oscars%20girl%20scout%20cookies%20ap.jpg (Girl Scout Cookies)
http://budnews.hu/container/news/ennio-morricone-01_1451464484.jpg (Ennio Morricone)
http://www.cartoonbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/exmachina_vfx.jpg (Ex Machina)
Another year, another Oscar season! While this year's Oscars have a fair bit of well deserved controversy over being all white..... again.... I certainly look forward to Chris Rock hosting this year's awards, because you KNOW he is going to make the Academy the butt of several #OscarsSoWhite jokes over the course of the evening. But, outside the omission of color, we actually have a fairly strong contingent of nominations this year! So let's get started, ya? Here are my Oscar predictions for 2015!
The format is the same as the last two years. (holy crap this is my third year doing this) I'll go in reverse alphabetical order through the nominations, and in each category I'll have my pick (who deserves it) for the category as well as who's the favorite. My who's the favorite category is based off Vegas odds found at this site and it should be noted that over the last 2 years this late in the game they've only been wrong like 3 times total, so my who will win is right like 97% of the time. Anyway, let's go!
Writing: Original Screenplay
Who deserves it: Spotlight
Who's the favorite: Spotlight
I often don't agree with the Academy on who deserves to win Best Original Screenplay, and I must admit I was pretty torn between Spotlight and Ex Machina, but at the end of the day I cannot deny that Spotlight resonated with me more than Ex Machina did. However Vegas is saying Spotlight is the HEAVY favorite going at 1/14 (Inside Out is the next closest at a distant 13/2) so they obviously didn't think Ex Machina was as thought-provoking as I did. I think with Machina it's just more about the fact that it was actually nominated than anything else. But Spotlight does edge it out. Also sad day for the one nomination for Straight Outta Compton showing up here and likely not walking away with a win. Definitely one of the big snubs of 2015.
Writing: Adapted Screenplay
Who deserves it: Room
Who's the favorite : The Big Short
Oh hey! I disagree with the Academy again! Right now The Big Short is going off as 1/14 favorites in Vegas, however I think the film that deserves a win in this category is Room. Honestly, this category is stacked with deserving winners with the exception of The Martian, (Great film, but there were quite a few that were better.) however no film destroyed me or resonated with me as much as Room did in 2015, with the sole exception of Spotlight. In my review I said it was the best work of fiction of the year, and it features a story that stayed meticulously loyal to its subject material. That said, I have no problem with The Big Short ultimately running away with it, as its story is definitely more "important" than Room's.
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I'm going to be very sad if Star Wars wins this. It would essentially be the Academy saying "Ok, Star Wars fans. You got an Oscar. Now hush." But in the process it would take the award away from a FAR more deserving candidate in Mad Max. I love the fact that 2015 saw a meteoric rice in films that emphasized the use of practical effects. And both Mad Max and Star Wars focused on this. But Mad Max triumphed over Star Wars in this department in every way. Whereas Star Wars would just have explosions go off in various predetermined spots, Mad Max actually blew s**t up. RIP to all the cars that lost their lives during the filming of this movie. And when the CGI did come out, like during the sandstorm? It looked spectacular. Whereas in Star Wars Snoke and Maz really stood out as CGI in an otherwise practical effects world. Really took me out of the film at times. So please, Academy. Don't go for the easy road. Go for fury. Go for Mad Max. DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Wait where's my slow clap? Ok I'll move on.
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
This is gonna be a recurring theme in the technical categories, because there's no doubt Mad Max was the best technical film of the year. The Academy usually gets these categories right, and this year is no exception. Both the mixing and the editing of Mad Max were the best of the year, and I'm glad their name will (likely) be called on Oscar night. The Revenant is in second on this list, going off at 7/4 at the moment compared to Mad Max's 8/13. It's a little close, but I hope the Academy's hard-on for Alejandro González Iñárritu stays at bay this year, because outside of Cinematography and Actor it doesn't deserve, well, anything. More on that later.
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
Same as before. Mad Max in first and deserves it, The Revenant in second. Pretty much the exact same odds too. Won't say much here other than HOLY CRAP THE SOUND OF MAD MAX IS SO GOOD. Sorry I don't know why I yelled just there.
Short Film (Live Action)
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Ave Maria
As usual, I haven't see any of these yet. It's just so hard to find them! I'm glad that after the Oscars last year the Academy release both the live action and animated shorts in a collection that you could purchase, which I did and was thus able to see all the nominations. I hope they do that again this year, but as is I haven't seen any of them so I'm just going with Vegas here. Ave Maria is at 8/15, while Shok is at 3-1. But they have very little to base that off of, so we'll see what happens!
Short Film (Animated)
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Sanjay's Super Team
I don't know how I didn't see this one. It is the Disney-Pixar short, though I don't recall seeing it before Inside Out. Must have been before The Good Dinosaur, which I have not seen yet. Either way, it's the Disney-Pixar short, so it's obviously going to win. It's going at 8/11 right now in Vegas, though it should be noted that World of Tomorrow is close behind at 11/8. Man if a non-Disney short film ever won this category it would be a colossal upset given the fact that about 60% of the Academy is employed by Disney...
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
This was the bread and butter of Mad Max. On top of the spectacular visual effects and sound mixing, you have the stunning artistic creation of the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max. Mad Max is the heavy favorite in this category, going at 1/12 with the next closest being The Danish Girl at 14-1. Ya. This one is easy.
Who deserves it: Spectre by Radiohead
Who's the favorite: Til It Happens To You from The Hunting Ground
Boy does this year's Original Song category SUCK. First off, this category is really just a publicity stunt. It's an opportunity to get big name artists to perform at the Oscars for marketing purposes, and yet every year there's always at least one high-profile omission. Last year it was Lorde's Yellow Flicker Beat, and this year it's See You Again from Furious 7, aka a chance to get Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa to perform at the Oscars. The song isn't very good, but the performance would've been fun. That said, I'm saying screw this category and picking a song that wasn't even in film this year, Spectre by Radiohead. For a long time before it was announced that the massively overrated Sam Smith was going to singing the theme song of Spectre, it was rumored that Radiohead was going to be singing the it. As it turns out, they were supposed to. And they did. They recorded this song for the film, but when they sent it over to the producers it got rejected for not being "pop-y enough." But holy crap is it so much better than Writing's on the Wall. It goes to show how crappy this Sam Smith song is when it's not even the favorite to win Best Original Song at the Oscars. The Bond song always wins at the Oscars! Way to be disappointing as usual, Sam Smith. (Seriously, how is this guy popular? His voice is the only thing he has going for him, and it is below average at best.... I mean I can kind of understand T. Swift and Ed Sheeran, and I can definitely understand Adele, but Sam Smith's success is beyond me.)
Who deserves it: The Hateful Eight
Who's the favorite: The Hateful Eight
I am so salty over the fact that Junkie XL's ridiculously badass score from Mad Max isn't even nominated. Seriously? Why in the world didn't this get a nomination over Bridge of Spies and Sicario? No one can say with a straight face that those two films had better scores than Mad Max. But such is life. However if I were to give this award to anyone else this year, it'd be the LONG overdue Oscar for Ennio Morricone. Leo is gonna get all the press this year for likely finally winning an Oscar this year, but this man's overdue Oscar makes Leo's look like child's play. Seriously. Go to Morricone's IMDB page. It's right here. 528 score credits since 1961. Five. Hundred. And. Twenty. Eight. I mean how the heck do you even have the creative imagination to compose 528 different scores???? This is the big story of the Oscars this year in my opinion. This man is a legendary contributor to the film industry, and has even received an honorary award from the Academy for his contributions to the film industry back in 2007. And now finally, after doing this for over 50 years and at age 87, he will finally walk away with an Oscar. Probably. I cannot wait to hear this acceptance speech. John Williams is my favorite composer of all-time, but the man already has 5 Oscars. So don't get upset when Star Wars doesn't win for Best Score. Because there's a far better feel-good story in this category. Also Morricone has the same birthday as me so that's cool.
Makeup and Hairstyling
Who deserves it: Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
First off, why are there only 3 films in this category? This category infuriates me every year. Sure Mad Max had the best makeup of 2015 and is the deserving favorite regardless of whether there were 3 films here or 5, but it feels like an insult to the makeup crew. They put their hearts into every film, and the Academy only gives them 3 nominations as a thank you? I mean there's hundreds of films that could comprise two more spots on this list. Why do you do this, Academy? Oh well....Mad Max's makeup was pretty freaking awesome, particularly with all the extras and the seemingly impossible task of humanizing Charlize Theron who, fun fact, I believe is one of the most attractive women alive. You know the makeup department had their work cut out for them here. So I'm glad their name is gonna be called on Oscar night.
Foreign Language Film
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Son of Saul
As usual, I haven't seen any of the films on this list, however Son of Saul has been absolutely tearing it up to this point from a critical/awards perspective. Usually this category is a total toss-up in Vegas, but this year Son of Saul is the HEAVY favorite at 1/14. I hope to see this film soon and see what all the hype is about!
Who deserves it: The Big Short
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
I loved the editing of Mad Max, don't get me wrong. But the editing of The Big Short was far more creative in my eyes. That said, the Academy seems to favor editing to create smoke and mirrors versus creative visual editing, which I think is why Mad Max is the favorite here. However I would not be surprised to see an upset here, because in terms of what the viewer sees there's no doubt The Big Short had better editing. I'm definitely holding my breath on this one!
Who deserves it: N/A
Who's the favorite: Body Team 12
Don't know anything about this category, but it's a close race in Vegas between this and Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah. I look forward to these being included in the shorts collection which will hopefully be released at some point!
Who deserves it: Amy
Who's the favorite: Amy
Easy category. Amy is the heavy favorite, and is a well-deserving choice. Not gonna say much here, except if you want to watch a good documentary from 2015, watch Amy. I hope there's a great tribute to Amy Winehouse in store at this year's Oscars honestly.
Who deserves it: The Danish Girl
Who's the favorite: Mad Max
Yes, The Danish Girl was blatant Oscar bait. However, it featured some ridiculously awesome costumes. It was easily the best part of that film, and I hope that crew gets recognized at this year's Oscars. While I won't be mad if Mad Max wins, (Carol is also very deserving of this award) Vegas is saying the odds of The Danish Girl walking away with an upset is slim. Just....don't give in and give it to Cinderella. Please. Let's not let corporate-directed films rule the day!
Who deserves it: The Revenant
Who's the favorite: The Revenant
This will mark the third year in a row that Emmanuel Lubezki has won Best Cinematography at the Oscars. Lubezki has officially turned the world of cinematography on its head with his work on Gravity, Birdman, and now The Revenant. For years there has been a tug-of-war in the world of cinematography between using digital cameras to make your film and using reel-based cameras. An "analog versus digital" debate, so to say. Well Lubezki will go down as one of the greatest cinematographers of all-time when we look back 20 years from now because of what he's shown us is possible with digital-based cameras.. Seriously. And while yes the main calling card of The Revenant was the fact that it was shot with only natural light sources, the digital technology still seeped through this film in almost every scene. Particularly the infamous bear attack. Kudos to Lubezki on yet another fantastic job on cinematography. We are watching history in the making with his work, guys. We really are.
Who deserves it: Anomalisa
Who's the favorite: Who do you think?
So right now Inside Out is going at 1/100 odds in Vegas. Ya. I think it's safe to say it's going to win this year. Which is fine! Inside Out is a great movie. I called it the most original Pixar film since Toy Story 3, which is certainly high praise when it comes to Pixar. But Anomalisa was better. Holy crap was it better. It's original. It's unique. It's abstract. It's beautiful. Anomalisa had a ridiculous production style since directors Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman wanted to use stock-motion animation from start to finish. And it pays off. I cannot recommend Anomalisa enough, guys. It's really a film worth watching. It's not going to win, but that doesn't change the fact that it deserves to.
Best Supporting Actress
Who deserves it: Rooney Mara, Carol
Who's the favorite: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
So this year's acting categories are pretty much already set in stone. Save one. This one. This Supporting Actress list is RIDICULOUS. I am torn between Alicia Vikander, Rooney Mara, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, but I think ultimately Rooney Mara deserves it in my book. Cate Blanchett might have received the Best Actress nomination instead of Mara, but I believe it's Mara's character that drives the narrative here, and Mara steals the show, putting in the best performance of her distinguished career. Additionally, while Vikander no doubt had the best year as an actress, she was actually better in Ex Machina than she was in The Danish Girl. That's what I'm upset about. She should be nominated (and win, I might add) for her performance in Ex Machina, not The Danish Girl. But I digress. Jennifer Jason Leigh was also a major bright spot in The Hateful Eight, putting in another great performance there. I can't wait to see who ultimately gets this one!
Best Supporting Actor
Who deserves it: Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Who's the favorite: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Now we go from a great list to a bad one. I hate this list. It was a down year for supporting actors. But Stallone is becoming a bigger and bigger favorite with each passing day. The "triumphant" comeback of a bad actor who's gone from bad to marginally bad doesn't really mean anything to me, and this category just goes to showcase how white the Oscars are this year. Several big omissions, most notably of O'Shea Jackson Jr. from Straight Outta Compton (which, if they made Rooney Mara a supporting actress, they definitely could've made O'Shea Jackson Jr. one as well) are glaring with this list, and as a result it makes little difference to me who wins this one this year. Especially since it's likely gonna be an undeserving Stallone victory, and thus adding insult to injury for Creed, which will become forever known as the film where the one white guy in it took home an Oscar. So sad.
Who deserves it: Brie Larson, Room
Who's the favorite: Brie Larson, Room
For once, I'm gonna actually agree with the Academy on their choices for Best Actor and Actress! YAY! Larson's performance is easily the best of 2015, and is one that I will discuss more in a later post. But, for now, just know that she is extremely deserving of this award, and I look forward to her name being called on Oscar night!
Who deserves it: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Who's the favorite: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
I mean, do I honestly even need to say anything about this one? We've been waiting for this moment for a long time. It finally looks like the Academy is going to let bygones be bygones and give Leo his Oscar. He's favored at 1/100 in Vegas and he's won almost every award imaginable up to this point, so there's little doubt that he will win this year. So, here's to you Leo. Hope you have a great acceptance speech ready.
Who deserves it: George Miller, Mad Max
Who's the favorite: Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
This feels like déjà vu. Last year I said the same thing I'm gonna say this year: Iñárritu is a great director because he lets the team around him be great. I commend him for allowing his team to take these creative liberties, but The Revenant is great, like Birdman, because of the crew. Not the director. And, like Boyhood, Mad Max is great because of its director, which is why it deserves to win, you know, Best Director. The production of Mad Max is ridiculous. Filled with problems as the film was in "development hell" since 1997, Miller put his heart and soul into creating this film. Sure, the production of The Revenant was also crazy, but that was because cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki insisted on using natural light so they only had a few hours a day to film. And Iñárritu let him do it. So obviously him saying "ok" to these things is what's gonna make him the first director to win back-to-back Director Oscars since Joe Mankiewicz did it all the way back in 1950/51. But the production of The Revenant was still better than things like the freaking Iraq War happening and preventing you from shooting because the location you need to shoot your film in is unsafe. I mean c'mon! Not to mention all the problems that arose once they did finally start shooting! Particularly with the cars.... they just didn't want to die for some reason! My point is, Mad Max had just as much care and dedication put into it as Boyhood did, but once again it looks like the Academy is going to ignore all of that because of their raging hard-on for Iñárritu. This category will once again likely be my biggest disappointment of the 2015 Oscars.
Who deserves it: Spotlight
Who's the favorite: The Revenant
So this category is still totally up for grabs. It's a 3 way race between The Revenant, Spotlight, and The Big Short out in Vegas. Currently The Revenant is the favorite at 8/15, with Spotlight close behind at 9/4 and The Big Short a close third at 5-1. I also think this really leaves the door open for a potential upset from Mad Max as the votes for these other three films may split and give Mad Max a legitimate chance to steal the award. You know where I stand on The Revenant: great film, but not deserving of Best Picture by any means. And while I'm still trying to decide whether I think Mad Max was the best film of 2015 or not, I can say that I feel like Spotlight needs to win this award because of its importance. It is a film that needs to be seen, whereas Mad Max is a film that you want to see. That need vs. want difference is why I'm going with Spotlight for Best Picture. This film opened my eyes to some pretty nasty stuff, exposing me to a scandal that has been successfully underplayed by the Catholic Church for years. This is an eye-opening film, and it is an important film. But it avoids the classic Oscar-bait mistake of overemphasizing its importance. Yes it is an important film, but it was also a very grounded film, or a very humble film. It tells its story in a very neutral way, allowing you to formulate your own thoughts and opinions on the matter. Not even The Big Short could accomplish this. (Though its pretty hard not to be upset with the greed of Wall Street after you watch The Big Short) As a result, Spotlight is my pick for Best Picture from the Academy, but I'd be ok with The Big Short winning or Mad Max. Just not The Revenant.
Well, there you have it, folks! My predictions for this year's Academy Awards! I have a few more lists to push out over this upcoming week, and I will be live tweeting the Oscars as usual. Thank you again for your support! Y'all are seriously awesome. I'll catch ya next time here on Enter the Movies!
Who's the favorite category found at http://www.oddschecker.com/awards/oscars
http://oscar-prod-images.bls-customers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/04111618/Chris-Rock-Promo.jpg (Chris Rock)
http://cdn3-www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/gallery/mad-max-fury-road-1406144100/11110866_658246694280855_1682386295316885693_o.jpg (Mad Max)
http://oscar-prod-images.bls-customers.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/13232728/00ea15988df4039fb199d6ff240bfdf478db6225e386a6392aa15050a4c466ba-717x1024.jpg (Ave Maria)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ac/Sanjay's_Super_Team_poster.jpg (Sanjay's Super Team)
http://cdn3-www.shocktillyoudrop.com/assets/uploads/2016/01/Morricone.jpg (Ennio Morricone)
http://dl9fvu4r30qs1.cloudfront.net/05/ea/4f64ae7d4bd0b3db2891cd30c525/the-hateful-eight-poster-2.jpg (The Hateful Eight)
https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/V6YGOjIU4XgBPaiDVPb6MQ--/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAwO2lsPXBsYW5l/http://l.yimg.com/cd/resizer/2.0/FIT_TO_WIDTH-w1230/7fad57927b8edee2b17272e0b820522bc5669c7a.jpg (The Big Short)
http://dl9fvu4r30qs1.cloudfront.net/a6/1f/536875104053ab08048b6866033b/4b07767d4cc171ce795ecfb8a1a41c3e-1.jpg (Son of Saul)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/49/Body_Team_12_poster.png/220px-Body_Team_12_poster.png (Body Team 12)
http://awardswatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/danish-girl-poster.jpg (The Danish Girl)
http://starcasm.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/The-Revenant-poster.png (The Revenant)
http://cinemavine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/carol-movie-rooney-mara-cate-blanchett-trailer-images-screenshots-2.png (Rooney Mara, Carol)
http://pbs.twimg.com/media/CXg_d_8UQAAJMpp.jpg (Tom Hardy, The Revenant)
http://thefilmstage.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/room_header-620x320.png (Brie Larson, Room)
http://www.geeksofdoom.com/GoD/img/2015/09/leonardo-dicaprio-the-revenant.jpg (Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant)
http://cdn.collider.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/max-max-fury-road-image-george-miller-tom-hardy.jpg (George Miller, Mad Max)
#OscarsSoWhite.....sounds familiar eh?
Well, all the speculation has led to this. And, once again, the same story arises. All white nominees. Look, guys. I get that this year there was no big movie with an entirely African American cast that deserved some really obvious nominations like 2015's Selma. But after all the criticism you received last year for having an entirely white group of nominations for actor, actress, and director, (with the exception of Alejandro González Iñárritu, also the only exception this year) you went and did it again? Seriously? Is your memory that short??? While we do have a solid group of nominees in every category, it's impossible to deny that the main thing anyone will be talking about with these nominees is just how white they are. In fact, they're whiter this year than they were last year! Shame on you, Academy. (If you haven't seen the list, here it is by the way. Sorry I can't easily mesh this in to this but right now I'm angry so screw your wants and desires. I'm sorry I didn't mean that I love you....)
So let's just talk about this right away, because it was the first thing I thought when I saw the list. Look at those photos. Do you see a trend? I sure do. Everybody's white! Again! First off, I should mention I don't have a problem with anyone nominated on this list. I don't mean to sound like I'm taking anything away from this group. These actors and actresses put in some great performances this year. But. There were several very glaring oversights from both sides of the coin that left me scratching my head. First off, the Best Actor category. I really think this year is FINALLY DiCaprio's year, so pretty much every other nomination is irrelevant, but surely SURELY Michael B. Jordan was better than Matt Damon. Or Michael Fassbender. Or freaking Bryan Cranston! I mean if you're gonna give Sylvester Stallone a nomination and not Michael B. Jordan you better have a damn good reason for it. Do you? No? Didn't think so. Really it's kind of an insult that the only nomination for a film made by an almost entirely African American crew is for the one white person involved, but I digress. Speaking of Best Supporting Actor, there was another really big oversight that could've quelled the #OscarsSoWhite movement. Where's O'Shea Jackson Jr.?? I mean he had one of the best performances of the year in Straight Outta Compton, and that film did make a lot of money. Surely there was room for him among that group. But still. Nothing. What about Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation or Will Smith in Concussion? What about Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight? And what about directors? Both F. Gary Gray from Straight Outta Compton and Ryan Coogler from Creed were totally snubbed. I mean Creed doesn't happen AT ALL if it's not for Ryan Coogler. Why aren't either of these guys on the list? Oh, right. We need to nominate Alejandro González Iñárritu again. My mistake. Anyway, let's move on. Let's move on to a more traditional big winners, losers, surprises, and disappointments about this year's group of nominations, shall we? Because, for all my unnecessary complaining, I do actually like a lot of things about the nominees this year.
Big Winners: The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Spotlight
Man. 12 nominations for The Revenant. I genuinely did not see that coming. Though, maybe I should have. After all this film is directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who swept the Oscars last year for his work in Birdman. Likely to be (again) the undeserving favorite for Best Director, Iñárritu's film has received a whooping 12 nominations. While I don't know if it deserves that amount yet, it definitely makes me excited to go and see this film tomorrow. Look for my review of The Revenant relatively soon! Here's to hoping DiCaprio finally wins his long overdue Oscar!
EASILY my favorite part of the Oscar nominees this year is how much love Mad Max: Fury Road received. This film has been in my top 3 films the entire year, but I was worried that due to its early release date (May 15) it was going to be largely forgotten by the Academy. It was not, and it ultimately received 10 nominations. 10! Well done, guys. Seriously. If you haven't seen Mad Max by this point, DO IT. It is a freaking crazy-super-special-awesome movie!
Then there's Spotlight. I haven't seen this one yet, but it was definitely the favorite of many critics this year. However it really hasn't done much commercially, so I was impressed the Academy gave it 6 nominations, including one for Best Picture. This is definitely another film I look forward to seeing in the upcoming weeks!
Big Losers: Straight Outta Compton, Creed, Carol, Tom Hanks, Beasts of No Nation, Concussion
You know, I figured Straight Outta Compton was going to be overlooked. It came out at one of the worst times for a film to come out, (August) but it really made some headway there. And it was a phenomenal movie, too! However, in the final few weeks of 2015, the studio behind Straight Outta Compton, New Line Cinema, made a serious push to have this film be considered for several Oscars, and brought it to the forefront of many critic's and fans minds in the last few weeks. So, it's shocking to me that the Academy ignored all of that and gave the film....ummmm lemme see here.....one nomination. One? Are you serious? This film will likely be in my top 10 films of 2015, and it featured great an Oscar-worthy performance from both its director and at LEAST Ice Cube, Jr. But no. Bridge of Spies deserved 6 nominations instead of Straight Outta Compton. Whatever, guys. Whatever.
Another big loser is Creed and its ONE nomination. This film is being called by many as the BEST film of this ENTIRE franchise, which includes the original Rocky. For those who don't know, Rocky was nominated for 9 Oscars and won the award for Best Picture back in 1977. And yet not even a nomination for Best Picture here for Creed. But don't worry! Sylvester Stallone is great, so there's that, right?
I won't speak much on Carol other than the fact that it was an absolutely FANtastic film that definitely deserved a Best Picture nomination over The Martian. Other than that I mostly agree with the Academy on Carol. It received 5 worthy nominations. So not really a loser as much as it lost out on a deserving Best Picture nomination. Moving on!
Poor Tom Hanks can't catch a break. I was generally surprised at how many nominations Bridge of Spies received, but given how much press was created over the fact that Tom Hanks was the lead I was surprised to see him absent from this year's list. But I definitely would've wanted Idris Elba or Michael B. Jordan on this list before him. I'll touch on that in a bit.
Finally, Beasts of No Nation was easily the biggest loser this year. I have yet to see this film, (which is embarrassing since it's been sitting at the top of my Netflix queue for like 167 years) but it's easily the highest profile film for a streaming service this year, but it came out of Oscar nomination day with a whooping 0 nominations. Again, easy spot to nominate an African American for Best Actor, guys. Idris Elba. Much less anything else.
Oh ya! Another big loser! Concussion put up a big ol' goose egg at the nominations. Wow. Didn't see that one coming either. Will Smith would've been an easy nomination for Best Actor (after all basically the entire marketing campaign of that film was for Will Smith's performance) but again, nothing. I haven't seen this film yet, and it bombed commercially, so it may be put off my radar for the time being. But still. There was a HUGE marketing campaign for this film that resulted in absolutely nothing for these guys. Sucks to be Sony/Columbia pictures. Actually what a terrible year for Columbia Pictures. Check out their list of films that were released in 2015 if you want a good lol. Spoiler: the best film they released all year was Spectre. Yikes.
Big Surprises: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina
Wow. I guess I was wrong for once. In my review of Bridge of Spies I said I'd be shocked to see this receive any nominations, let alone 6. But hey! Six nominations. The only bit of rationale I can muster for these undeserving nominations is that of all the "Oscar bait" films that came out in 2015, Bridge of Spies was the one that felt most like a.....movie. Ya. A movie. Where you sit down and get engrossed in a two hour story and come out thinking, "Well, that was fine." and then forget everything about it a week later. But I guess that was good enough in the Academy's eyes to warrant 6 nominations. I'd be shocked to see it win any of those 6 nominations, but hey! You never know.
Another big surprise from a good standpoint was Ex Machina. While it received a throwaway (but deserving) nomination for Best Visual Effects, (that's basically a two horse race between Mad Max and Star Wars-this was more a shot at Jurassic World than it was a win for Ex Machina) it did receive a shockingly well-deserved nomination for Best Original Screenplay. And honestly? I think it's gonna win. It was certainly the most engaging and thought-provoking story of the year, it's just a question of whether enough members of the Academy actually saw the movie or not. This may become the "throwaway Bridge of Spies win" category to justify the film receiving 6 Oscars it won't win. I sure hope not though because that would be criminal for Ex Machina.
Big Disappointments: The Laughable Music Nominees, The Random Circle-Jerk over Bryan Cranston Continues, The Best Picture List
Ok. Couple things to talk about here. Let's start with music. Original Score I'm somewhat ok with. While I was SHOCKED to see what was FAR AND AWAY my favorite score of 2015 get snubbed in Junkie XL's composition of Mad Max, (I'm listening to it right now as I compose this reaction piece and it's still incredible) and can say beyond a shadow of a doubt it was better than Bridge of Spies incredibly bland, safe, and forgettable score, I can't fault the other four nominees. I did enjoy The Hateful Eight's score, as well as Carol, Sicario, and of course, Star Wars. I expect this one to go to Star Wars because the Internet will explode if it doesn't. No. That's not what I want to address. I want to talk about Best Origi0nal Song. You know, 2015 wasn't the best year for original songs in film, but that STILL does not excuse a nomination for 50 Shades of Grey. I get the business decision behind this: now The Weeknd will be coming to the Oscars to perform "Earned It" and that will likely generate some traffic from Millennials, but this also means that 50 SHADES OF GREY CAN TOUT THAT IT HAS AN OSCAR NOMINATION. That is ridiculous and an insult to the film industry as a whole. That happened and we all let it happen. Well done, Academy. Anyway I guess it doesn't really matter. This category is so bland this year that the Academy is basically handing an Oscar right now to Sam Smith with these nominees. And to think Radiohead almost did the Spectre theme song....
Now, let's talk about Bryan Cranston. I haven't released my review of Trumbo yet, but I will tell you now that Cranston's performance in the film is.....fine. But is it better than Tom Hardy in Mad Max? Than Tom Hanks in Bridge of Spies? Than Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation? Than Michael B. Jordan in Creed? Than freaking John Boyega in Star Wars? Nope! His performance in Trumbo isn't even on my radar for acting this year, and yet the Academy thinks it's one of the 5 best performances on the year from a male lead. I mean heck, if you were gonna throwaway one of your 5 spots for Best Actor, at least give it to Robin Williams in Boulevard. I would've been proud of you if you had done that. But ya didn't. What a disappointment, guys. This one doesn't matter all that much because I really think it's DiCaprio's year finally, but still. What a waste of a Best Actor slot. Seriously, though! Why does everyone love Bryan Cranston so much? I mean he's a great actor, don't get me wrong. Phenomenal, even. But is he really so great that Hollywood has to freak out every time he does a new movie? I think the word I'm looking for here to describe him is overrated.
Finally, we have the Best Picture list. I really don't understand this list at all. First off, why only 8 films again? I really don't get how this system works. After all you missed an easy opportunity to get Millennials to tune in to the Oscars by nominating Star Wars for Best Picture, and you also missed a deserving candidate in Carol. That would've make 10 right there. But even on top of that, Bridge of Spies? Really? The Martian? Really? I mean The Martian is also calculated and an attempt to appeal to Millennials, but overlooking Star Wars kind of negates that. This year's Best Picture list is honestly rather bland short of the nomination of Mad Max. (Which is an awesome pick so I shouldn't overlook that) I don't mean to take anything away from the films that were nominated. They were just....relatively safe picks by The Academy. And why they don't just nominate 10 films is beyond me. The rules say you can do it, so....do it!
Well, there you have it, A pretty comprehensive list of my first thoughts on this year's Oscar nominees! As usual, I will release my predictions one week prior to the ceremony itself featuring Vegas odds and my personal choices. And in between I still have a lot of work to do! I have a ton of movies I'm still gonna review over the next few weeks, and then I will be devoting the early part of February to my 2015 year-in-review featuring my usual year-end lists. (Best movie moments, biggest disappointments, biggest controversies, the second annual awesome actor awards, worst movies, and best movies of 2015.) So stay tuned for plenty of coverage leading up to this year's Oscars! And, of course, in the words of my favorite movie critic Alonso Duralde: "Don't forget! None of this means anything."
It's just fun to talk about though, right?
http://tomatesverdesfritosdecine.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/87thOscars.jpg (main picture)
https://shawglobalnews.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/2016-oscars-white.jpg?quality=70&strip=all&w=558&h=440&crop=1 (Oscars so white picture)
http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/revenant.jpg (The Revenant)
http://www.flickeringmyth.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/guitarguy.jpeg (Mad Max)
http://geeknewsnetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/bridge-of-spies-fall-movies.jpg (Bridge of Spies)
http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Movie_FEATURE_01.jpg (Straight Outta Compton)
https://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/qFT5WRVkG-DkEygA3VFju3-BNGA=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/3506414/ex_machina_oscar_isaac.0.jpg (Ex Machina)
http://blogs-images.forbes.com/natalierobehmed/files/2015/10/beastsofnonation1.jpg (Beasts of No Nation)
http://media4.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2016_02/934461/oscar-nomination-best-picture-composite-today-160114_aaf417093cd8609550a4184c985291c6.today-inline-large.jpg (Best Picture Nominees)
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