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Oscars

It’s been a difficult period for the Oscars what with the diversity issue rearing its ugly head and leading to some stars refusing to attend the ceremony – is it all just based around Beasts of No Nation failing to get any nominations? – but on the night everyone was looking to host Chris Rock to provide the final summing up of the whole debacle. He made some great remarks about the Oscars in the Sixties, having black categories such as Best Black Friend, how racist Hollywood producers are, and that the same opportunities should be given to black actors that are given to white actors. It wasn’t the funniest opening monologue the Oscars have ever seen but Rock got his points across in a way that wasn’t divisive or unnecessarily aggressive.

There were some strange moments: Stacey Dash, Sam Smith mangling his own song for Spectre, Suge Knight, Black History Month Minute (Jack Black?), any subsequent attempts by Chris Rock to address the issue of diversity (done to death far too quickly), cookie sales for Chris Rock’s daughters(!), the staff from Price Waterhouse Cooper, Jacob Tremblay standing on a box, and a plethora of weird musical cues for both presenters and winners.

Best Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies, Matt Charman, Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Ex Machina, Alex Garland
Inside Out, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Spotlight, Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
Straight Outta Compton, Screenplay by Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus, Andrea Berloff

Perhaps not an unsurprising result though fans of Inside Out may well feel cheated. Presented by Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron.

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short, Charles Randolph, Adam McKay
Brooklyn, Nick Hornby
Carol, Phyllis Nagy
The Martian, Drew Goddard
Room, Emma Donoghue

A fairly open field here, and this screenplay was very dense yet understandable throughout, but the Carol boycott began here. Presented by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Alicia Vikander

Great result for Vikander though Kate Winslet’s performance was so much more impressive, and should have been the winner. Presented by J.K. Simmons.

Best Costume Design
Carol, Sandy Powell
Cinderella, Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl, Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road, Jenny Beavan
The Revenant, Jacqueline West

As with the BAFTAs, Beavan wins with ease, the first shoo-in of the evening, but marred by an awkward call for ecological responsibility by the winner. Presented by Cate Blanchett.

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich
The Danish Girl, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road, Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
The Martian, Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
The Revenant, Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

The second win for Mad Max: Fury Road, well deserved and with a great speech by Gibson. Presented by Tina Fey and Steve Carell.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road, Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, Damian Martin
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Love Larson, Eva von Bahr
The Revenant, Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman, Robert Pandini

MMFR

Number three and as hugely deserved as the movie’s first two awards. Presented by Margot Robbie and Jared Leto. (Now go Google the word “merkin”.)

Best Cinematography
Carol, Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight, Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road, John Seale
The Revenant, Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario, Roger Deakins

Number three for Lubezki (after Gravity and Birdman) and not unexpected in any way, shape or form. Presented by Rachel McAdams and Michael B. Jordan.

Best Film Editing
The Big Short, Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road, Margaret Sixel
The Revenant, Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight, Tom McArdle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey

A movie that must have really been feeling the love at this point, and further recognition of just how good Miller’s vision is. Presented by Priyanka Chopra and Liev Schreiber.

Best Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road, Mark Mangini, David White
The Martian, Oliver Tarney
The Revenant, Martin Hernandez, Lon Bender
Sicario, Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Matthew Wood, David Acord

And the juggernaut rumbles on, and just as deserved as the other awards it’s picked up. Presented by Chadwick Boseman and Chris Evans.

Best Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Drew Kunin
Mad Max: Fury Road, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, Ben Osmo
The Martian, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, Mac Ruth
The Revenant, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom, Chris Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Stuart Wilson

Number six for Mad Max: Fury Road – ’nuff said. Presented by Chadwick Boseman and Chris Evans.

Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina, Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett
Mad Max: Fury Road, Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver, Andy Williams
The Martian, Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence, Steven Warner
The Revenant, Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith, Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould

Not an easy one to call but a win for Ex Machina at least breaks up the winning streak of that Australian movie… you know the one. Presented by Andy Serkis.

Best Animated Short Film
Bear Story, Gabriel Osorio, Pato Escala
Prologue, Richard Williams, Imogen Sutton
Sanjay’s Super Team, Sanjay Patel, Nicole Grindle
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, Konstantin Bronzit
World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt

Bear Story

While many may have expected Pixar to win for Sanjay’s Super Team, this was a tremendous result for this lovely little movie. Presented by Kevin, Stuart and Bob.

Best Animated Feature Film
Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, Rosa Tran
Boy and the World, Alê Abreu
Inside Out, Pete Docter, Jonas Rivera
Shaun the Sheep Movie, Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
When Marnie Was There, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiaki Nishimura

While this wasn’t entirely unexpected, the award should have gone to Anomalisa, and probably in any other year it would have done. Presented by Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Mark Rylance

Absolutely the right choice – Rylance’s performance was one of the best of 2015 in any category, and if you thought Stallone was going to win, don’t feel too bad, iny other year he would have. Presented by Patricia Arquette.

Best Documentary – Short Subject
Body Team 12, David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, Beyond the Lines, Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

A powerful, intense movie that deserved to win, and one that has made a difference already in Pakistan. Presented by Louis C.K. (who gave a great speech about how deserving the nominees were).

Best Documentary – Feature                                                                          Amy, Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees                                                                    Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin                                                          The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer, Signe Byrge Sørensen
What Happened, Miss Simone?, Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby, Justin Wilkes
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, Evgeny Afineevsky, Den Tolmor

Not a surprise, but in a field where any of the nominees could have won, perhaps a popular choice rather than a definitive one. Presented by Daisy Ridley and Dev Patel.

Best Live Action Short Film

Ave Maria, Basil Khalil, Eric Dupont
Day One, Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut), Patrick Vollrath
Shok, Jamie Donoughue
Stutterer, Benjamin Cleary, Serena Armitage

A wide open category but still a worthy winner. Presented by Jacob Tremblay and Abraham Attah.

Best Foreign Language Film
Colombia, Embrace of the Serpent
France, Mustang
Hungary, Son of Saul
Jordan, Theeb
Denmark, A War

Son of Saul

A surprise win for Hungary in a category where the entries from Colombia and Jordan were probably the front runners. Presented by Sofia Vergara and Byung-hun Lee.

Best Original Score
Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
Carter Burwell, Carol
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Morricone’s first win but for a score that remains memorable for not being memorable, and which did nothing to elevate the moviePresented by Pharrell Williams and Quincy Jones.

Best Original Song

“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey, Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville, Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction, J. Ralph, Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3,” Youth, David Lang
“‘Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground, Diane Warren, Lady Gaga
“Writings on the Wall,” Spectre, Jimmy Napes, Sam Smith

A big surprise, with Smith giving a shout out to the LGBT community. Presented by Common and John Legend.

Best Directing
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Two in a row for Iñárritu (the Mexican responsible for his movie’s twelve nominations – how’s that for diversity?), and the first winner to ignore the music telling him his time was up. Presented by J.J. Abrams.

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Brie Larson

After her BAFTA win, Larson became a dead cert for this award, but Blanchett’s performance in Carol was just that much more nuanced and effective. Presented by Eddie Redmayne.

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Leonardo DiCaprio

You could say, “about time too”, but DiCaprio has given better performances and his speech about climate change was heartfelt but out of place. Presented by Julianne Moore.

Best Picture
The Big Short, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner
Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger
Brooklyn, Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
Mad Max: Fury Road, Doug Mitchell, George Miller
The Martian, Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Mark Huffam
The Revenant, Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon
Room, Ed Guiney
Spotlight, Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagon Faust

Spotlight

It didn’t win any other awards, and it wasn’t the best movie of 2015, but it felt like it won because of its content and the Academy’s need to acknowledge that. Presented by Morgan Freeman.

In the end it was Mad Max: Fury Road‘s night with six wins and so many movies winning one award only. Chris Rock’s involvement lessened as the show went on (which was a result considering how overdone the diversity angle was), and there were occasional highlights courtesy of the Minions, Louis C.K. and Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G (at least he didn’t come as Borat in his green mankini). Carol was ignored, an aspect of diversity itself that no one has questioned or remarked upon, and there were very few surpises (as usual). The show itself was the regular mixture of awkward cues, strange camera angles, and no Jack Nicholson in the front row (just what does he do now each year the Oscars are on?). But, hey, that’s why we love them so much, because they never really change the format, and they never employ a host who will really rock the boat (it’d be great to see Ricky Gervais get his hands on the job).

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