Like an M. Night Shyamalan plot twist Chris Rock did in fact show up to host the 88th Academy Awards, and the event did go off without a hitch — no crazed protestor drove their car into the Dolby Theater anyway. This night wasn’t at all Billy Crystal-y; this was definitely more Degeneres-ish with Rock shouting loudly from the stage, shouting his way through the cues that were going to make him the evening’s secondary centerpiece hopeful (the main attraction obviously being the sight of Leo with the Oscar in his hands finally). And there was a lot of talk about the lack of racial diversity amongst this crop of nominees, stuff that once sounded like rumors were now things Chris Rock was spurting out loudly on stage — calling out Jada Pinkett Smith and by extent William over there, and other actors who were protesting the Oscars for the lack of inclusion of black nominees. He got some kind of a mild reaction from the audience.
Rock was good though, even after a somewhat Rock-y start (cha-ching!). He hesitated not one second to delve right into the controversy of the perceived white-washing of the nominations — not even Comedy Central’s comparatively conservative usage of the ‘bleep’ button would’ve allowed him to say what he wanted to say here. Rock does address the issue and he even (considerately) redirects the focus away from the nature of this year’s nominees and towards an industry that continues to struggle including more roles (not necessarily high-profile ones) for a variety of ethnicities.
Interesting how this ceremony didn’t for one second address the even smaller chunk of the Role Playing pie, those representative of the LGBT communities. Successes like Tangerine are just going to have to sit tight for now. Those minorities will be addressed at the next telecast. Rock’s an odd choice though for this event, as his performance recalls his meta performance in his recent comedy/drama Top Five. With that, naturally, come the expectations of profanity and vulgarity and in these ways he’s certainly restricted but he makes some pretty good stabs with some visual gags and a trio of Asian kids who essentially become props to one of his jokes.
In the brightest spotlight imaginable Rock largely succeeds as a host, he doesn’t tiptoe around as if there’s broken glass everywhere. Rock’s never been one to care if a feeling or two gets maimed in the process. So while this definitely wasn’t, and was never going to be the Obscenity-Laced Oscars this was about as memorable as any other and there is already speculation as to who will be the host next year. There were surprises while some really good guys were finally rewarded for their efforts (and patience). Fury Road won like, everything. Someone sang. There were too many commercials. Too many names mentioned during the In Memoriam segment that I did not recognize. And there definitely weren’t enough Girl Scout Cookies.
WINNERS — WHAT ARE THE ODDS?!
(Winner / What I picked)
Original Screenplay: Spotlight / Spotlight
Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short / The Big Short
Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander / Alicia Vikander
Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road / Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road / The Martian
Hairstyle/Makeup: Mad Max: Fury Road / Mad Max: Fury Road
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki / Emmanuel Lubezki
Film editing: Mad Max: Fury Road / The Big Short
Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road / Mad Max: Fury Road
Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road / Mad Max: Fury Road
Visual Effects: Ex Machina / Mad Max: Fury Road
Animated Short Film: Bear Story / World of Tomorrow
Animated Feature: Inside Out / Inside Out
Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance / Mark Rylance
Documentary Short Film: A Girl in the River / . . . . . . um . . . .yes
Documentary Feature: Amy / Amy
Live Action Short Film: Stutterer / . . . um . . .sure
Foreign Language Feature: Son of Saul / Son of Saul
Original Score: Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight) / John Williams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Original Song: Writing’s on the Wall (Sam Smith) / ‘Til it Happens to You (Lady Gaga)
Best Actress: Brie Larson / Brie Larson
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio / LeoSchmardo DiSiprico
Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu / Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Best Picture: Spotlight / Spotlight
OBSERVATIONS FROM THE NIGHT (like a Twitter feed but way less redundant)
Chris Rock seems uncomfortable. Wow he’s jumping into the race thing head-on, eh?
Jacob Tremblay is standing up in his seat to get a better look at C-3P0 and R2-D2 when they come on stage. Heh. That was funny-bone-tickle worthy.
Chris Rock is currently shamelessly selling his daughters’ Girl Scouts Cookies to random members in the audience, meanwhile Olivia Munn is hoarding them by the box.
Chris Rock seems uncomfortable again.
Why is Mad Max winning everything?
Pete Docter seems to be the only one (so far) who has really grasped the concept of the Academy tweaking the acceptance speech formats (scrolling across the screen a list of the names the winners would like to thank and thus saving all of us from listening to that trollop). Good for you, Pete. I hope others follow because really so far nothing has changed.
Ennio Morricone seems genuine. That was a highlight moment, especially because I totally didn’t peg his work as the winner this year. Cool.
Hooray for Emmanuel Lubezki and Alejandro G. Iñárritu on their back-to-back wins. That’s three in a row for the incredible cameraman and dós for Iñárritu for his expertise in the director’s chair. Birdman and The Revenant couldn’t be two more different films; this is an incredible filmmaker who has seriously earned himself a new fan. (He did last year, actually.)
Who’s the most deserving of their awards? I’ll list my Top 5: 1) Leo (Best Actor); 2) Brie Larson (Best Actress); 3) Spotlight (Best Picture); 4) Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road (Best Costume Design); 5) Inside Out (Best Animated Feature)
Leo got the Oscar you guys. His acceptance speech was about as quality as his name being called was predictable, but predictable sounds really negative. His words were from the heart and certainly important and powerful. Good for him for, as per usual, using the stage to talk about something much bigger than himself and his chosen profession.
What were your thoughts of the winners and the overall show this year?
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