Last night’s Oscars ceremony was a three-hour slightly mad event filled with surprises, odd animations and talks about race. (And a hell of a lot of Mad Max: Fury Road.) I’m going to give my reactions and thoughts about the event, the winners and my hopes for the night…
The Oscars 2016
The ceremony began with a fifteen-minute monologue from host Chris Rock, and it raised many eyebrows, nodded many heads in agreement and inspired a lot of nervous laughter. The topic for his monologue was this year’s ‘#OscarsSoWhite’ race debate surrounding the fact that every single nominee was white. His opening line was “Welcome to the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the white people’s choice awards!” and he went on to talk about the idea of boycotting the ceremony. “Why are we protesting this Oscars? It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means this whole ‘no black nominees’ thing has happened at least 71 other times.” He said black people didn’t protest before because they had “real things to protest at the time. They were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who wins best cinematographer. What happened this year? People went mad! Everybody went mad!”
He then said the thing that made me think most: “If you want black nominees every year, you need to have black categories. You already do it with men and women, think about it! There’s no real reason for there to be a men and a women category in acting! It’s not track and field! You don’t have to separate them!”
Read more and watch the speech here.
Nominations & Winners
Production Design, Make Up & Hair, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing – Mad Max: Fury Road
Meh. I haven’t seen ‘Mad Max’ so I feel like I can’t really comment, but I was a bit sick of it sweeping three awards in a row. It was a bit… boring?
Visual Effects – Ex Machina
I was so happy that this won, because it came after the technical categories that ‘Mad Max’ swept, so I was ready for it to win again. Again, I haven’t seen this film but I’m dying to!
Best Documentary – Amy
Okay, I have to be completely honest with this one. I’m not a documentary person so I don’t tend to watch any of the ones that are nominated each year, but from the clips shown before the winner was announced, I’m a bit disappointed that ‘Amy’ won. I was discussing this with my sister a few days ago and we both agree: we don’t see anything special about Amy Winehouse. She was an average singer who had varying success and in my opinion, was far from influential. There are people in the world who do amazing things and they die without having a documentary made about them. Some of the other documentaries seemed to cover world-changing events, and the one that won was about an average singer.
Original Song – Sam Smith
Ugh. That’s all I’ve got to say about this one. Another disappointment. (Also, his performance of this song was awful… it sounded like bad karaoke.) There was a bit of controversy over his acceptance speech: he called himself ‘the first openly gay person to win an Oscar’, based on an article ‘written by Sir Ian McKellen’. Um… he’s wrong, there. McKellen’s piece stated that there have been no openly gay actors to win an Oscar; it doesn’t mention the award for Best Original Song, which indeed has been won several times by an openly gay performer. Sorry Sam, but you don’t get that milestone achievement!
Animated Film – Inside Out
I knew this would win, but I was still so happy when it was announced. I’m a bit of a shameless Pixar fan girl, so I feel proud every time a film wins an award. I also loved the inspiration speech from director Pete Docter: “This film was really born out of watching our kids grow up, which is not easy. Anyone out there who’s in junior high, high school, working it out, suffering — there are days you’re going to feel sad. You’re going to feel angry. You’re going to feel scared. That’s nothing you can choose. But you can make stuff. Make films. Draw. Write. It will make a world of difference.” Oh Pete Docter, you gem.
Supporting Actor – Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Yet again, I haven’t seen ‘Bridge of Spies’, but one thing I can say is that I’m so excited to see winner Mark Rylance star as the title character in ‘The BFG’ this year!
Director – Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
I think Mr Inarritu is fast becoming one of the world’s best directors. I am yet to see ‘The Revenant’, but I was surprised to see that he won an Oscar last year too for ‘Birdman’ which I consider a modern masterpiece. Well done Alejandro!
Best Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Yay!!! Alicia Vikander was amazing in ‘The Danish Girl’ and if I’m correct she hasn’t won any awards at the BAFTAs or the Golden Globes this year, so I’m incredibly happy she won. She got up on stage flustered and breathless, and when she thanked her ‘The Danish Girl’ co-star Eddie Redmayne (who sadly didn’t win any awards this year after his sweep of the awards for last year’s ‘The Theory of Everything’ which was probably his best performance to date), he looked as if he was about to cry. So adorable.
Actress – Brie Larson, Room
I REALLY NEED TO SEE THIS FILM. It was so disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to see it before it left the cinema. However even without seeing the film, it’s blossomed one of my favourite unconventional friendships… between Brie Larson and 9-year-old co-star Jacob Tremblay. When Larson’s name was announced as the winner, Tremblay jumped up and high-fived her before giving her a huge hug, and beaming as she accepted the award. ‘Room’ is definitely high on my ‘to watch’ list.
Actor – Leonardo Dicaprio
This was a momentous, historic occasion: the award that got the biggest reaction of the night. When last year’s Best Actress winner Julianne Moore read Dicaprio’s name, the entire theatre erupted into cheering applause and gave Leo at least a fifteen-second standing ovation. He jumped up and almost ran to the stage to collect his award while his ‘Titanic’ co-star watched teary-eyed.
He gave a surprisingly cool and collected speech about treasuring the world, and the issue of global warming: “Making ‘The Revenant’ was about man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating … Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted.” Congratulations, Leo!
Best Picture – Spotlight
The shock! The final award of the night was the most prestigious: the Best Picture. I was 110% certain that this award would go to ‘The Revenant’ which won both the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for Best Film. But in one of the biggest surprises of the night, the award, presented by Morgan Freeman, went to Spotlight! Even the cast and crew looked shocked to win it as they all piled onto the stage.
What did you think of this year’s Oscars? Did you agree with the winners?