Monday, February 29, 2016

A Reel Opinion: Oscar Wrap up - The Good, The Bad, & The Glorious

The cinematic year of 2015 officially came to a close last night with the 88th Academy Awards. As with every year, the Oscars gave us plenty to talk about. Here is the Good, Bad, and Glorious from the ceremony:


-As host, comedian Chris Rock had the tough task of acting as an ambassador for the movie-industry while having to address the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity in this year’s class of nominees. Did he have to address it? Sure…better off facing the elephant in the room than running from it. Rock’s opening monologue, in which he poked fun at the Academy and the people who chose to boycott the ceremony, was spot-on and very funny. Unfortunately, as the night went on, the racist-jokes started to become old and started to dominate the show. Rock however seemed enthusiastic about his duties, and it will be good to see him as host during a year where he isn’t stuck having to address hot-button issues.

-The Open preceding Rock was perfectly edited featuring many films which were not nominated for anything; proof that the Oscars are about celebrating all films.

-Smart move running the winner’s list of thank-you’s on the bottom of the screen, which encouraged better speeches not packed with boring thank you’s; although we couldn’t completely get away from it.

-Rocker Dave Grohl covering The Beatles’ Blackbird during the In Memoriam was perfect, and the video had perfect send-offs for Christopher Lee, Leonard Nimoy, and David Bowie.


-The In Memoriam, despite being very well done, omitted notable names such as Abe Vigoda, Fred Thompson, and cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, who won Oscars for THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

-Mark Rylance, who won Best Supporting Actor for BRIDGE OF SPIES, was an upset over favorite Sylvester Stallone for CREED. Rylance put in a fine performance, but Stallone was able to find something new in an old character and was packed with emotion. Off the screen, it’s unlikely Stallone will be a nominee again.

-Sam Smith winning for Best Original Song. His boring sleepy lounge-singer styled Writing’s On The Wall for the recent James Bond film was not only met with critical drubbing, but it had the unfortunate task of being awarded just minutes after Lady Gaga’s powerful performance of her nominated song, ‘Til It Happens To You, in which she was surrounded by abuse victims. Lady Gaga sent everyone over the moon, and Smith brought them all crashing down.

-Sam Smith continued his Oscar travesty by referring to himself as the first openly gay man to win an Oscar. Not true; others who have come before him include Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Stephen Sondheim, and Elton John. Let’s not invite Sam Smith to the Oscars ever again.


-George Miller’s thunderous and fiery MAD MAX: FURY ROAD deservedly won in every category it was nominated for, save for Cinematography and Best Picture; going home with six overall…the most of the night.

-Chris Rock’s gag with his daughter’s Girl Scout troop; selling cookies on the spot which pulled in a shit-load-of-money.

-STAR WARS alums/droids C3PO and R2-D2 taking the Oscar stage for the first time in decades…and joined by newcomer BB-8. Cute and fun and timely.

-EX MACHINA taking home Best Visual Effects. Easily the special-effects achievement of the decade.

-Composer Ennio Morricone becoming the oldest person to win an Oscar at 87 years old for Best Original Score for THE HATEFUL EIGHT. It’s never too late to do something great.

-Alejandro Innaritu becoming only the third person in history to win Best Director in consecutive years.

-Leonardo DiCaprio finally taking home Best Actor. Well deserved for his physical powerhouse performance in THE REVENANT.

-SPOTLIGHT winning Best Picture. Despite MAD MAX sweeping the technical categories, it all came down to Innaritu’s visceral revenge-piece THE REVENANT and Tom McCarthy’s journalistic story SPOTLIGHT. SPOTLIGHT was not the sexy or flashy choice, and didn’t seem cinematic enough, but as this Blogger wrote last week (here), it had all of the elemental nominations that a Best Picture needs to have. Perhaps the true Tell of the night was that THE REVENANT was not nominated for Best Screenplay, which is a basic requirement for a Best Picture winner (there have only been seven films to win without that Screenplay nomination, with the last in 1997). SPOTLIGHT was not only nominated for its screenplay, but won. This tells us that the Academy favors good writing over spectacle, and maybe that’s the way it should be. In that case, the right film won.

- It’s also worth discussing that if one of the many reasons the Oscars broadcast a ceremony is to showcase the variety of film, then mission-accomplished for this year. The three films which won the lion’s share of the awards could not be more different from each other; we had a furious science-fiction beatdown, an 18th century wilderness bloodbath, and a real-world, real-life journalistic procedural. In form, content, and in style, these films had a vast range. How’s that for diversity?


See all the winners HERE


  1. I am glad they did remember Scranton native Lizbeth Scott, too long forgotten by her colleagues as well as her hometown. Her true story may deserve a movie!

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