2016 Oscars Hot Takes

2016 Oscars

OK…I’m going to try to make this as short and sweet as possible so that I can close the book on the 2016 Academy Awards.

A couple quick notes before we dive in:

  1. I love Chris Rock but I thought his material was just okay. I both wanted and expected a bunch of race jokes, but I think we can all agree we reached a point pretty quickly where it became overkill. Before I go any further…I’m all for championing diversity, and I do think Hollywood is made up of a collection of individuals that clearly do need to open their minds a little. I get that it’s a business, but it’s also laziness. However, Chris Rock’s material almost seemed to come from the perspective of someone who was the first person ever to notice racial discrepancies in the Oscars. Unfortunately for Chris, it’s a subject that has been worn out lately leading up to the awards and so when he kept just repeatedly going back and hitting on that it lost any power it might have had in my mind. The people whose minds you’re trying to change are also going to get turned off to your message when you just keep throwing it in their face for the duration of the night. I feel like a handful of well-crafted quick hitter jokes would’ve been twice as effective, but that’s just me. Chris Rock is a very intelligent guy and certainly knows humor, so I’m sure he had his reasons for doing it the way he did. Those reasons likely being that he just doesn’t give a damn, which I do mostly respect.
  2. Just because I’m not going to mention the “shorts” categories below, I want to give a big shoutout to my dude Louis C.K. who killed it introducing the Best Documentary Short Film category. It was hands down the funniest and most truthful moment of the night. If you missed it, be sure to watch the clip below!


And now to the winners…

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight (winners in bold going forward)
Straight Outta Compton

Notes: No surprise here as Spotlight was the favorite. I felt like all 5 nominees were very much worthy but if I had a vote, I’d likely have gone with Ex Machina. I just felt like it was the most creative, which is what I would personally put the most value in when it comes to an original screenplay award. By that same train of thought, I think my second choice would’ve been Inside Out.

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Notes: I’m good with The Big Short winning here. My personal vote would’ve been a coinflip between it and Room. I think converting Room into such a powerful film was maybe the toughest job (especially the first half of the film, obviously), but I do really really respect The Big Short creatively and thought those guys did a great job of dramatizing the housing market collapse in an entertaining way. I’m still standing strong in my stance that The Martian was the most over-hyped movie of 2015. I mean, it was Cast Away in space. It wasn’t a bad movie, but it didn’t deserve half of the accolades it got in my mind. I thought a lot of the dialogue was terrible and felt like it was pretty forgettable overall. I know many of you loved it, but I just had to get that off my chest.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
Rooney Mara (Carol)

Notes: I never saw The Danish Girl but I’m super into Alicia Vikander. I personally wish she had won for Ex Machina instead, but I’m sure she killed it in both. I also didn’t see Carol because I honestly just didn’t feel like it. I usually try to power through everything that’s acclaimed like that, but I just couldn’t do it with a few of them this year. Jennifer Jason Leigh deserved something for what she went through in The Hateful Eight, but I’m not sure it’s an Oscar.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

Costume Design/Production Design/Makeup and Hairstyling/Film Editing/Sound Editing/Sound Mixing

Mad Max: Fury Road

Notes: I’m fine with Mad Max: Fury Road sweeping all of these technical categories. I picked The Revenant for some of them, but was totally fine with how it played out. I was kind of low key rooting for Sicario to stage a sneak attack and take Sound Editing just so it could get some recognition. I thought it was fantastic and deserved more praise than it got.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Carol
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Notes: I can’t speak for Carol, but all four of the others were very beautifully shot. The Revenant seemed like a no-brainer here to win though.

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Notes: I LOVED Ex Machina getting some recognition here. It was one of my favorite films of the year and I was really glad to see it get some love.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Anomalisa
Boy & the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Notes: I haven’t been able to get Anomalisa out of my mind ever since I saw it but it was a big time downer and certainly not a film that can be widely recommended. I find it hysterical that it and a movie like Inside Out were nominated in the same category because they couldn’t be any more different. I really liked Inside Out a lot too though, and felt like it was a very creative idea for a film. I’m definitely good with Inside Out winning here.

Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale (The Big Short)
Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight)
Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Tom Hardy (The Revenant)

Notes: Mark Rylance winning this award was a major surprise to me, but very much a pleasant one. To be honest, out of the group of 5 nominees, Stallone probably would’ve ranked 4th or 5th for me on my ballot. I thought Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, and Christian Bale all especially killed it. Stallone did a fine job, but he played the same character that’s he’s been playing for nearly 40 years. He did it exceptionally well, possibly even better than before, but that didn’t put him at the top for me. Also, Mark Rylance’s speech…fantastic.

Best Documentary, Feature

Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Notes: Amy was the only one of these I saw so it would’ve been my vote. However, my favorite documentary of the year wasn’t even nominated and it was called The Salt of the Earth. I thought it was incredible and I highly recommend checking it out.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Forece Awakens

Notes: Shoutout to 87-year old Ennio Morricone for getting the first win of his nearly 60-year-long career. The dude has more than 500 movie credits to his name and had been nominated five other times. I thought the other scores were fine, but I was pumped to see him get the win.

Best Achievement in Directing

Adam McKay (The Big Short)
Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Lenny Abrahamson (Room)
Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)

Notes: For me, this category came down to Alejandro Inarritu and George Miller. It’s a little odd for me for Mad Max: Fury Road to win all those technical awards and not directing but I guess it’s a falsehood in my head to have those so closely connected. I think George Miller’s achievement was likely more creatively impressive, but The Revenant was so beautiful to watch and there were so many cool scenes and shots. It felt like a win-win to me.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Brie Larson (Room)
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Notes: Brie Larson has been my girl ever since I saw her in Short Term 12. No one knows Short Term 12 though and that’s a shame. It’s on Netflix, people…watch it! I thought she was very deserving of the win here and I’m happy for her!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Bryan Cranston (Trumbo)
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)

Notes: This topic has been beat to death, gutted, and slept in. I know, we get it. All I want to add is that adorable little robot boy, Jacob Tremblay, deserved recognition for his performance just as much if not more so than Leo did. I stand by that.

oscars-best-picture-spotlight-ensemble

Spotlight

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Notes: I’m going to share my hot take on Spotlight winning Best Picture knowing full well that one day I may look back on it and feel differently. To be fully honest, I feel like this was a horrible Best Picture winner. I think Spotlight was a fantastic movie and I think it deserves a ton of praise and recognition. The writing was great, the acting was great, and the directing was fantastic as well. All of the boxes are checked for me and it is a deserving winner for that reason. I think it’s just a matter of how you view the title of Best Picture.

To be fair, I’m not sure if I had a vote that I would ever give my Best Picture award to a biopic. I try to look at Best Picture as selecting a film that you could look at 20 years from now and it would creatively be the best achievement of the year. I felt like, by this rationale, there were two films particularly deserving of Best Picture and that’s The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road. I think each had fantastic writing, directing, and acting. I think that the creativity on display is what sets the two apart for me. After those two, I think I’d actually go The Big Short, followed by Room, and THEN I’d go for Spotlight. I’m not bitter at all that Spotlight won, and I don’t want this stance to in any way take away from what was a great movie that people should see. I just feel like in the grand scheme of things, from a historical perspective, it was a weak choice to represent 2015.

Do you agree with Spotlight winning Best Picture?

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Posted on by Clayton Martin in Entertainment, Featured, Movies

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