Monday, February 29, 2016

Oscars 2016: My Reactions

Hello, Bloggers! The 88th Academy Awards have announced their winners last night. Sorry for the slight delay, but here are my thoughts on the winners as well as the actual ceremony itself. I'll start off with my thoughts on the winners:

First off, Best Picture went to Spotlight which was a slight surprise given that its only other award was for Best Original Screenplay. But it is a nice surprise since I loved Spotlight and it is nice to see an underplayed, humanistic drama take home the top prize. However, it was still a lovely day for Mad Max: Fury Road which may not have won Best Picture or Director, which went to Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu for The Revenant, but still emerged the big winner, taking home 6 Oscars (Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Makeup, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing).

Also, after so many years of having to endure him being an Oscar bridesmaid, the great Leonardo DiCaprio FINALLY took home the gold for The Revenant. Brie Larson predictably, and deservingly, took home Best Actress for Room. I'm so thrilled she has gotten the true breakthrough she has been on the cusp of for quite some time. Alicia Vikander, another breakthrough talent, took home Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. While I like to pretend she took it for Ex Machina, it was still the cherry on top of a great year for her and I look forward to her future prospects. But one of the night's bigger upsets came in the form of Mark Rylance winning Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies. While he did take home the BAFTA, Sylvester Stallone was still the sentimental favorite going in. I liked Stallone's performance, but it was nice to see quality winning over politics since Rylance was able to win with a refined, nuanced performance and barely any campaigning. Also, Stallone's loss, along with Michael Keaton's last year, might prove that the Academy respects comeback narratives, but doesn't often reward them.

Aside from Rylance trumping Stallone, a few other upsets took place. One that had me going "OMG" was Ex Machina winning Best Visual Effects over titanic blockbusters Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That was a nice surprise. But "Writings On The Wall" winning Best Original Song over "'Til It Happens To You,", not so much. That was probably the one win that had me going "WTH?!" However, even though "'Til It Happens To You" lost, hopefully, it'll further the cause of stopping college rape and sexual assault.

Now onto the ceremony itself. Going in, I knew Chris Rock would tackle the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in his monologue. When his monologue took place, he really dug deep into it and really hit the nail on the head, even throwing shade at the Smiths and Spike Lee who boycotted the ceremony. But after the monologue, where the controversy continued to be acknowledged and poked at, it began to feel like overkill. Even during Stacey Dash's strange cameo appearance and Angela Bassett's Black History Month skit, it was starting to be too much. But when Kevin Hart came out as a presenter to acknowledge the controversy, he made a very good point where Spike Lee and the Smiths should've taken notes. Before Hart announced The Weeknd as one of the musical performers, he said how talents of color can understandably be upset for the lack of this kind of recognition, but the best thing they can do is focus on continuing to deliver great work.

A few more bits from the ceremony that I thought were a bit unnecessary were the inclusion of C-3P0, R2-D2, and BB-8. It was cool to see all those robots from the Star Wars films, but they didn't really do anything with them. They were just there to be there. Also, the unbearable Minions from the  Despicable Me films? Why the hell were they there?!

Lastly, I didn't think all the speeches were particularly memorable. It might be because of the ticker tape strategy they used where the nominees give their speeches in advance so they don't forget people that they need to. But at least the winners didn't read from paper. As I recall, the only one who did was Ennio Morricone when he accepted his Original Score Oscar for The Hateful Eight. But that's understandable given how English isn't his first language. A few speeches that I loved, though, were Mark Rylance's and Pete Docter when he accepted Best Animated Feature for Inside Out. Those were  two of my favorites.

Overall, I was pretty content with most of the winners and despite minor qualms with the ceremony itself, it did have its moments. I would love to hear what you guys thought of the winners and the ceremony in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Full list of winners: