Oscars 2016 had a tough fight this year from the jump. With #OscarsSoWhite dominating the headlines leading into the night, racial inequality in the industry was sure to be a hot-button issue for host Chris Rock. Thankfully, Rock didn’t bow to the pressure and boycott himself, because his work here was important, amusing, and it inundated the telecast to the point where the sting was taken out of the negative press.
The Academy is making strides to ensure the outrage over Oscars 2016 was not a futile protest. It’s been time for change in the voting body for a while now; it’s sad it came to this, true, but at least now, moving forward, steps have been made. All that being said, Chris Rock handled the controversy with volume shooting, staying away from the edge but making enough clever quips and jabs along the way so everyone can hopefully move forward.
And now for the awards portion of our evening.
– The 88th Academy Awards was one of the better, more balanced ceremonies in a long time. Mad Max: Fury Road won six of its ten nominations, dominating the technical side of things. As it should have. Leonardo DiCaprio finally got his gold, and Alejandro Inarritu took home his second consecutive Best Director statue (the first time that’s happened since the 50s).
Some may scoff at Inarritu’s second win in as many years because of the relentless marketing campaign he mounted surrounding the grueling shoot of The Revenant. I preferred George Miller, but there is no denying the scope of his picture. It most certainly was a tough shoot, no matter how may times he thinks he has to tell us it was. I respect the work he and his team put in.
– And how about that DiCaprio acceptance speech? Great work Leo, we all know you had time to practice…
– It feels right that Spotlight won Best Picture. It’s been my favorite all along, as much as I loved Fury Road and enjoyed (yes, enjoyed) The Revenant. Spotlight is a grown-up picture about important things, told through a compelling lens of truth. Well deserved.
– Mark Rylance is fine in Bridge of Spies. But better than Stallone and Tom Hardy? I was in the Stallone camp, not just because he was due, but because he did great work in Creed. If it wasn’t him, I was pulling for Hardy, the best part of The Revenant. Alas, it went to Rylance, and he’s good. But not better.
– The most awkward moment of the night had to be Sam Smith winning Best Song for his dreadful Spectre tune, right after Lady Gaga (introduced by Joe Biden, no less) delivered a touching and emotionally devastating rendition of “Til it Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground. Gaga brought the house down – her specialty these days at awards shows – and then Sam Smith gets up there for an abysmal Bond theme? Bad move, Oscars.
– Not sure how the “In Memoriam” forgets Abe Vigoda.
– Louis C.K. and his intro of documentary short feature was great. Hilarious, and truthful, just like everything he does.
– I still don’t quite know what the Stacey Dash bit was about.
– I’m gonna miss Jacob Tremblay until he does another film.
Overall, despite the controversy surrounding it, Oscars 2016 delivered some wonderful balance to the winners, solid comedy, and memorable moments overall. I’m ready for next year, when we’ve hopefully corrected some of the diversity issues the industry faced this year and in decades past. It’s time.