E: Well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so happy to be wrong.
Honestly, I’m generally pretty happy to be wrong because it means that there was a surprise. Though it looked like last night’s awards had settled into complete predictability, there were a few surprises and a couple of truly shocking moment (good and bad) alongside all of the expected wins. Let’s take a quick look.
Best Supporting Actor:
When I said that Mark Rylance was the only possible spoiler for a Sly Stallone win, I didn’t remotely think it was going to happen. Yes, Rylance won the BAFTA, but he’d never beaten Sylvester in a face off, and award show crowds have been positively gushing about him.
Best Supporting Actress:
Alicia Vikander. No surprise. She deserved it.
Also went to the obvious. Brie seems very nice and even though I wouldn’t have voted for her, I’m happy for her.
Depressingly correct. (While not a particular fan, my Mom was shocked that DiCaprio had never won an Oscar before; I guess we’ve at least remedied that perceived injustice.) And good for him for highlighting his passion for environmentalism as it intersected with his film.
Depressingly correct. I have nothing to say about this guy after two years of being disappointed by him.
Yes yes yes yes yes! I was and am so thrilled. Okay, so Spotlight was one of my alternatives, and I wasn’t strongly sure about The Revenant, but I just couldn’t bring myself to hope that the latter would win and the former would lose.
Biggest Winner of the Night:
Mad Max: Fury Road took home the most Oscars, winning 6 out of the 10 categories in which it was nominated. I started to think by the middle of the telecast that Mad Max and George Miller had a chance to unseat Inarritu and The Revenant. I much prefer Spotlight as a winner (a film that means something!) and I’m still scratching my head over Mad Max’s nominations for director and picture, but I’m very happy for the multi-national crew with their great giddy cheerfulness and their obvious love of director George Miller.
The way things were going, I assumed Mad Max had Visual Effects in the bag, but Ex Machina‘s surprise win was pretty great, especially because they were so shocked by it themselves. I love love love that the producers picked Andy Serkis to give out this award, too, as well as his crack about Donald Trump.
It was widely assumed that Spotlight and The Big Short would take the original and adapted screenplay categories, and they did. Again, I predicted Inside Out for animated feature and Son of Saul for Foreign Film, and both of them won. Ennio Morricone took home his first competitive Oscar for the score of The Hateful Eight (nicely mentioning John Williams, who was singled out with a little droid tribute for receiving his 50th nomination, a feat so astounding we had to look it up afterwards to prove to my parents it was possible, as a brilliant competitor) and Emmanuel Lubeski became the first cinematographer to win three years in a row. I can’t help wondering what he and Inarritu have planned for the rest of this year.
After Lady Gaga’s emotionally devastating performance of “Till It Happens To You” it was a complete let down to have the win go to the very nice Bond theme, “The Writing’s On The Wall.” Mr. E pointed out that “Writing” is easier to enjoy, more pleasant sitting at home as an Oscar voter, and that a recording of “To You” had to be less powerful than Lady Gaga surrounding herself with rape survivors, but man. I sobbed through that performance; it was easily the emotional highlight of the show. I’m more bothered by this loss than anything else, even score. Heck, they trotted out the Vice President of the United States to introduce the song! The strange curse of Grammy favorite Diane Warren continues; pretty soon we’re going to have to call her the Susan Lucci of Best Song.
Best Relentlessly Political Host:
I may hate the sound of his voice, but what Chris Rock said was pretty great. Or at least it was until he ended his monologue by mocking the #AskHerMore campaign. I do still wish that more people were taking notice about the Academy’s dismissal of anyone who isn’t a white guy (African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, and women of every race), but I’m really . I loved the little films he sprinkled throughout the show, such as Black History Month Minute (in which we were set up to assume Angela Basset was honoring Will Smith when it was really Jack Black instead) and the montage of black actors taking over roles in Oscar nominated films, particularly Tracy Morgan as The Danish Girl. Spot on and hilarious.
Cate Blanchett in pale aqua with flowers, oh my gosh, I have no words. Jennifer Garner in textured black, Priyanka Chopra in white, Stacy Dash’s silvery vintage looking column gown, Saoirse Ronan looking totally grown up in slinky mermaid emerald sequins, and Alicia Vikander (who took her beautifully gowned mother as her date) in blinged out spring yellow.
Louis C.K., no question or contest. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe proved to be a decent comedy duo, and Kevin Hart was surprisingly serious. Olivia Munn and Jason Segal, humorously but clearly explaining the innovations awarded at the Technical Oscars.
Most Mislead by Sir Ian McKellan: I’m glad you made your Loud and Proud Moment, Sam Smith, but you are definitely not the first openly gay man to win an Oscar. Dustin Lance Black springs to mind fastest, but I’m sure there are plenty of others. I think McKellan must have meant actors, no? Either way, it was nice that you made a point of mentioning it, turning a win for a song that doesn’t really stand for anything (over a song that did) into an emotional speech.
What was the yellow star on J.K. Simmons lapel? Why were only three of the nominated songs performed? Who was the tattooed, blue haired girl with the gems on her head hugging the visual effects team from Ex Machina? And, I don’t know, but having J.J. Abrams (snubbed for The Force Awakens) present Best Director? Is that a little cruel or what?