The Sweet Triumph of Getting It Wrong: Oscar Reactions, 2016

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.

Best Actress:

Also went to the obvious.  Brie seems very nice and even though I wouldn’t have voted for her, I’m happy for her.

Best Actor:

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.

Best Director:

Depressingly correct.  I have nothing to say about this guy after two years of being disappointed by him.

Best Picture:

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.

Surprising Win:

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.

Expected Wins:

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.

Shocking Loss:

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.

Best Dressed:

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.

Funniest Presenter:

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?

4 comments on “The Sweet Triumph of Getting It Wrong: Oscar Reactions, 2016

  1. SusieQ says:

    I got bored about an hour in, and as I had to get up at 5 this morning, went to bed. I’m glad that Spotlight won instead of The Revenant. I hated that movie…had to cover my eyes more than half the time. Just ugh. I was so tense by the time we left the theater that I had to have a drink to unwind. My husband had wanted to see it, even though I said I would rather see Carol. He kind of made a face so I gave in. About halfway into the movie he apologized, and I said bet you’re sorry we didn’t go see the lesbians. Hehehe.

    Loved Cait’s dress and loved Kate Winslet’ hair and dress. She just gets prettier every year.

    • E says:

      Kate is always glorious! I always think she looks like she’s out of a painting — there’s just something about her eyes, especially, that makes her seem like not only a beautiful but a very empathetic and understanding person.

      You would totally have enjoyed the lesbians more. I loathed The Revenant. I still don’t get why Mad Max was an Oscar movie, but at least it was enjoyable! I’m pretty thrilled about Spotlight, even if it’s weird that it only won two awards.

    • E says:

      Hey, have you seen Brooklyn? I strongly recommend that one.

  2. MMGF says:

    Despite not seeing was was so great about Leo’s performance. Despite not understanding what was so incredible about the directing of The Revenant. (Inarritu openly exclaims how he tried to have scenes run as long as possible without cuts. Which seems like *less* directing to me. Also, it’s exactly what he did last year in Birdman.) Despite preferring 4 different choices for all 4 acting awards. Despite all that, the biggest disappointment of the night, for me, was Best Song. I get it, Diane Warren isn’t allowed to win. But, as someone who has seen all 5 films nominated for Best Song, that Bond theme is so far and away not only the least catchy, but the least *relevant* of all of them. Had “Simple Song #3” won, I would have completely understood, knowing it’s beauty and amazing significance in the film. Had “Earned It” won, well, I at least would have understood, as the one hit song in the group. But the Bond song? It’s just not good, and it means nothing other than being the de riguer song over the opening credits. There’s a reason no Bond song has ever won before “Skyfall” by Adele did, a few years back. Because those songs just aren’t relevant to FILM in any way other than being in one. As opposed to “Til It Happens To You,” which embodies everything that The Hunting Ground stands up for.

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