Last night, I watched the 88th Academy® Awards broadcast with friends and over 150 people at the Rialto Theater in Raleigh. There was a lot of laughter, and some gasps, at host Chris Rock’s hilarious opening monologue, which, of course, was completely about the whole #oscarsowhite controversy. You knew it was coming way before he walked out on stage to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” but that didn’t lessen the impact of such lines as: “This year, in the In Memoriam package, it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies.”
I’ve read that some folks think Rock went too far with some of his material, but I found it to be maybe the best Oscars opening monologue ever – at least the funniest. So were appearances by Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, and Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G, but there were, as always, some bits that bombed like when CLUELESS actress Stacey Dash came onstage as the supposed new “director of the minority outreach program” and wished everyone a happy Black History Month to zero laughter, and Rock bringing his daughters out to sell girl scout cookies was pretty lame too.
Was happy to see Leonardo DiCaprio win for THE REVENANT - the lock of the night. Naysayers complain that his acting was just angry grunting, but I thought he put in a intensely passionate performance. Of course, in the Oscar tradition, this also majorly a win for his previously nominated work, so you got to factor in his terrific turns in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, and THE AVIATOR among others. DiCaprio had a nice eloquent speech too.
Anyway, on to the actual awards. My predictions were really off as I had my worst score in five years: 16 out of 24. In 2012, my score was 15/24 (My best score was in 2014: 21/24). I had THE REVENANT down for Best Picture, it went to SPOTLIGHT, which I came very close to going with as it was my favorite film of 2015. THE REVENANT did win all the other categories that I predicted, including Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Best Director, making him the first person in 66 years to win the award two years in a row. With SPOTLIGHT and BIRDMAN’s wins last year, I guess I’ll know to vote for the Michael Keaton movie that is up for Best Picture next year.
Here are the eight predictions I got wrong:
BEST PICTURE: SPOTLIGHT (I picked THE REVENANT)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mark Rylance for BRIDGE OF SPIES (I picked Sylvester Stallone for CREED)
ORIGINAL SONG: “Writing’s on the Wall” – Sam Smith from SPECTRE (I picked: “Til It Happens to You” from THE HUNTING GROUND)
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT: STUTTERER ( I had SHOK down for this, I thought it would lose to AVE MARIA).
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: A GIRL IN THE RIVER: THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS (I took a stab in the dark with BODY TEAM 12)
BEST ANIMATED SHORT: BEAR STORY I missed all three of Best Short Film nominees, even though I’ve actually seen all of the Live Action and Animated ones. I guessed with my heart on these for sure.
VISUAL EFFECTS: EX MACHINA (I thought the Academy would throw a bone to the hugely successful STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. My second choice would’ve been MAD MAX: FURY ROAD so I was going to lose this one either way.
COSTUME DESIGN: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (I had picked Sandy Powell for CINDERELLA; my second choice was Powell for CAROL, so I really underestimated MAD MAX, which won 6 Oscars). I loved how Jenny Beavan, MAD MAX Costume Designer, looked like she could've been in the movie with her outfit:
So that's Oscars 2016. Despite my poor score, I had fun and I'm glad there were a few surprises.