Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Reactions to the 2016 Oscars!
So I'm a day late here, but that's because I was still having fun with my brother and sister-in-law all Monday morning and then had to drive back home from Nashville to Birmingham that afternoon. All of that to say, I just didn't get around to writing out my reactions to the 88th Academy Awards till now. So what did I think? Well, it was a better show than I thought it would be.
I think Chris Rock handled the controversy as well as any host could, and I was genuinely surprised at how he didn't point fingers or turn it into a massive soap box, everyone got ripped at some point throughout the night (and it definitely helped that a lot of the jokes were genuinely humorous). While I do feel they should have just gone to business as usual after the opening monologue, instead of constantly dredging the controversy back up with more gags and bits, it's all water under the bridge now and hopefully next year can just be about the movies and nothing else. For me personally, my favorite bit of the whole night was Chris Rock's girl scout cookies' bit. It was the only non-controversy gag done the entire night, and I found it a refreshing breather that was just sweet, funny, and reminiscent of Ellen Degeneres ordering the pizzas a couple of years ago. All in all, this year's Oscars were enjoyable with far less controversy and animosity than I expected, though I do have to call out the Academy for one of their choices in producing the show.
Every single year all of the Best Original Song nominees sing their songs on the show before the award is given out. Well, this year the producers cut two of the five songs from the program, citing they didn't have time in the show for them, but that seems to be a silly excuse to me. They could have cut the funny, but time consuming bit where Chris Rock went and interviewed people in Compton about the nominated movies, or the bit about Black History Month being about Jack Black. Sure, those were both enjoyable, but to not perform two of the nominated songs was just a slap in the face to the people who made them. One reason why so many people are refusing to buy the Academy's story that they simply didn't have time for them, is mainly because they did and they chose to only have the three songs performed by the more well known artists on the show. While I have never heard of Sumi Jo and Anohni, the two artists who didn't get to perform their songs at the Oscars, everyone has heard of Lady Gaga, The Weekend, and Sam Smith. There's something wrong with that picture and I think the Academy should be ashamed of themselves for basically playing favorites for ratings. Alright, now that I am done with my soapbox, how did I fare in my predictions?
Overall I went 19 of 24 in my predictions. That's a respectable number, but three shy of my personal best from two years ago. My thought that The Big Short's PGA win would hold more clout than Spotlight's SAG Ensemble win, was really a coin toss kind of thought process. I seriously almost changed my prediction to Spotlight before I posted, but I stayed with The Big Short because the PGA has the exact same balloting system as the Academy, choosing to let that be more telling than the fact that actors make up majority of the Academy. In truth, the only real surprises of the night for me were Sam Smith trumping Lady Gaga for Original Song and Ex Machina deservedly winning Best Visual Effects.
While Sam Smith was the only other person I thought stood a chance of winning Original Song, I really thought Gaga had it sewn up, and clearly everyone else did too, considering how many people were shocked by it. As for Ex Machina, no one in a million years thought this small, British sci-fi Indie could topple four blockbusters to win for Visual Effects, and yet it did. I read somewhere that Vegas had it at an 80-1 odd, that's really quite impressive that it managed to win. As for other perceived surprises in the media -- Spotlight's win, Mark Rylance trumping Stallone, or Mad Max dominating The Revenant in the tech categories -- I was not surprised by any of them.
Rylance was super deserving of his win, being the best part of Bridge of Spies, a movie the Academy loved a whole lot, as is evidenced by its many nominations. While I would have loved to see Stallone win, Rylance is a hard-working character actor who did a phenomenal job in the movie that he was in, so to say he didn't deserve it and Stallone did is just petty. It's an apples and oranges argument, pure and simple. Speaking to the other perceived surprises, Mad Max winning the most Oscars of the night with 6 total did not surprise me in the slightest. It won everywhere I thought it would, save for Visual Effects. It had just dominated too much in all of the precursor awards leading up to Sunday night that there was no way it was going to be toppled by another movie. And what about Spotlight coming out on top? Well a lot of people were hedging all of their bets on The Revenant to win Best Picture because it had the most nominations and Spotlight ultimately won only one other award for Original Screenplay (which is rare in-and-of itself), but those people weren't looking at the fact that it's clearly been a critical and industry favorite all season long. Spotlight was never snubbed by any of the award shows in regards to nominations and triumphed with the Best Ensemble award at the SAG Awards, speaking to genuine love and support from the largest branch of the Academy. Simply put, Spotlight was a quiet frontrunner that people weren't paying any mind because of its unshowy manner, which is what probably got it the win, because it was a movie that relied solely on its script, its acting, and a deft directorial hand to keep the movie from being stale. So that's that for this year's Oscar.
Sitting here at the end of this year's Oscar race, I am personally glad for the first time ever that an awards season is all over. All of the controversy around this year's awards season, and in particular the Oscars, really detracted from a lot of the joy for me. Add on top of that a bunch of movies that I am sure were well made, but just did not appeal to me enough to warrant shelling out $10 and the gas money to drive to the other side of town to see, just kept me from being as excited as usual. I hope next year's crop of movies will be more appealing to me, and I hope like always that more blockbusters will be recognized by the Academy. Just because something is popular doesn't mean that it's bad, typically that means it's good and to snub every superhero movie or whatnot is rather ridiculous in this fanboy's mind. Of course, if it were up to me, just about every movie nominated would have some sci-fi or fantasy element to it, so I am biased, but hey... A fanboy can dream, can't he?