Wow! What a spectacular night. So much to dissect and debrief, so let's get started!
I thought Chris Rock was amazing in a very tough year to be the host and every joke in the monologue worked, which is a major feat. I lurked around social media last night, and I was disappointed to see so many people up in arms that he continued to talk about racism in Hollywood. First, almost every single joke was funny and that's the only measure that matters. Second, my spidey senses always buzz a little when people are upset at too many racism jokes as though somehow a limited number is enough on race, and let's all please just move on. You know what? I suggest we better not move on quite yet until this business in handled. And again, funny wins - I don't care the topic.
But on the flip side, I'm also somewhat uncomfortable that with all the jokes Rock made, the ones that make the public discussion of Hollywood's institutional racism into a big "jeez, isn't everyone just too sensitive" gag, are the ones that so many of my friends are posting today. (If I have to see the Jada/Rihanna joke on Facebook one more time...) I think if we tried to see this issue through our own lenses as though it was affecting us personally, perhaps we wouldn't be so quick to ask people of color to just get over it. What if the night had been all about black people? (Oh no!) What if the night had been all about white people like, as Rock mentioned it WAS for decades without comment? (See where I'm going with this one?) Ok, end of rant - I'm sure many of you will disagree with me, all I ask is that you stop to consider that there is a view to this that you might not have considered because you also haven't experienced.
Having said all of that, the Girl Scouts was just a remodel of Ellen's pizza delivery, and while I found the movie theatre gag funny, it mostly didn't work great. Stacy Dash was a total, ridiculous flop. The edited scenes from films was very funny. Still, I tip my hat to Chris Rock for a great night as a host. Toughest gig in Hollywood.
Scrolling Thank You's:
Did anyone remember to try to read those things as they flew across the screen? It was just absurd and by the time the person got to the stage, the thank you's were done. While I'm at it, I have to continue to take to task the multiple nominees in single categories who don't prepare and use up all of the allotted speech time and gift their fellow winners the shaft. Uh uh. Not ok. You know you have a one in five chance of winning, you can take 10 seconds to work it out between you. (I have an Oscars speech prepared, and I wasn't even nominated!)
The Necrology Report (aka In Memoriam):
How sad to see Abe Vagoda not featured in the slide show, with the beautiful rendition of Blackbird by Dave Grohl. (Whose mother might want to advise him to dress up a bit for the Oscars in the future?) I mean, Moe Green gets featured but not Tessio, even though they both sleep with the fishes????
Now on to the awards!
Best Picture: Spotlight
Well thank goodness, what a relief. I've never been so happy to be wrong, though I may remind you that I chose Spotlight as the one that should be the winner. Spotlight was an important film - a modern day All the Presidents Men, and it deserved the Oscar.
Actor in a Leading Role: Leonard DiCaprio
I know that a lot of people felt strongly about DiCaprio winning, and I'm glad that his curse is broken. But, he is hardly the Susan Lucci of the Oscars race - Peter O'Toole was nominated 8 times without ever winning, until he was awarded an honorary Oscar a couple of years ago.
Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson
Was Brie Larson not adorable with her cutest relationship with Jacob Tremblay? I thought she should win and I'm glad she did win.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Mark Rylance
I was genuinely sad for Sylvester Stallone, and frankly, I still think Mark Ruffalo should have won. But Rylance gave a nice speech and he was very good in a pretty good film.
Actress in a Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander
Alicia Vikander was so lovely and wonderful in this film that deserved much more attention. Good on ya, Academy.
Directing: Alejandro Innaritu
Look, I get it, Inarritu is a great Director. But is this really the new normal in which the Director of the Best Picture of the year continues to not win? In the old days, it was rare for Picture and Director not to come from the same film. Still, you have to give it Innaritu who is only the third Director in history to win back to back years, so I guess when he decided to talk longer than allotted, the orchestra director was right to just go with it.
Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
Joy has taken over the control room of my brain. I loved it. And a great acceptance speech to boot.
Cinematography: The Revenant
No surprises here, and in this case, I do think The Revenant was the right choice.
Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road (Grrrr.)
Movie critic idol Steve Pond recommends sticking with Best Picture nominees when it's a close race and there is doubt. Costume happens to be the one rare exception to this rule, and the most beautiful costumes usually win. But NOT THIS YEAR. As my son pointed out, "what were the costumes? They were all mostly naked." Yes, son, you are quite correct. Go back and look at those Cinderella costumes and you tell me that they weren't ROBBED.
Documentary Feature: Amy
Could I please make a pitch that you try to see all of the nominated documentaries this year? (Ok, you can skip Cartel Land and instead see The Hunting Ground. In fact, please please please see The Hunting Ground.) I still can't get over Amy, and I'm still very happy that it won.
Documentary Short Subject: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
The short films this year reminded me that I have better instincts than I believe. I went with critics research this year even though I left the theatre thinking that A Girl in the River would and should win. We must start to care about women around the world. Excusing murderers and attackers of women must end.
Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
No surprises here. Mad Max dominated the technical awards.
Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
YES. So much yes. This young Director has so many important stories in him, he will be one to watch. This was his first feature film - expect great things.
Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
Compared to the other two nominees, this had to be the runaway winner. The creativity in this category made Mad Max the very clear choice. It was a good night to be an Aussie!
Original Score: The Hateful Eight
This was another one of those career achievement Oscars, this being Morricone's 6th Oscar nomination. (Also had been awarded an honorary Oscar in 2003.) Those Italians know what they are doing! (Still, you can't argue with John Williams' 50TH nomination this year.)
Original Song: Writing's On The Wall (Spectre)
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
Do I HAVE TO make the world go back in time in order to make this injustice right? Never mind that Diane Warren is long overdue for an Oscar. Never mind that this film is so much more important than a Bond film will ever be. Look at the reaction of everyone in the audience last night... I have a feeling that after Lady Gaga's (Queen Gaga's!) rendition last night, everybody in that room is kicking themselves over their incorrect voting choice. I'm still in denial. GAGA FOREVER.
Also, I'm happy to let Sam Smith know that other out gays and lesbians have accepted Oscars, not the least of which is Dustin Lance Black, the writer of Milk, who talked about being a young gay child who dreamed of a better life. Here's Dustin's beautiful acceptance speech. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfPXcCroPJc
Having said that, you go Sam Smith for being out and loud, and I'm quite sure an inspiration to many young people who need role models willing to own their pride and their identities.
Production Design: Mad Max:Fury Road
Yes, it won, and even those tiny snippets that you got to see in the show last night didn't do justice to the world created by the amazing designers of this film.
Animated Short Film: Bear Story
As I predicted, I got this category wrong, but got it right for what should win. I understand that Bear Story can be seen on the internet today, and I highly recommend watching it. It is sweet and sad and lovely. Next year, I go with my instincts. For real this time.
Live Action Short Film: Stutterer
See aforementioned go with my gut from now on. Right after I saw these films I immediately called it for Stutterer. It's funny and adorable and wonderful.
Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Yeah, I got it right, but I'm still mad for Star Wars. Nerd girl, out.
Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Well, as Shakira's hips don't lie, Oscar statistics don't either. Sound editing and mixing are more often than not from the same category.
Visual Effects: Ex Machina
WHAAAAAAAAT? This movie was so so interesting and great. I still think Star Wars should have won.
Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Such a good screenplay. So so good.
Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Started and ended the night with a bang.
See you next year Oscars lovers! I hope you loved the show as much as I did!