Monday, March 7, 2016

Leo Finally got an Oscar

Elizabeth Both
Opinions Editor

The 2015 Awards Season has officially come to an end. After months of fancy dresses, interviews, and endless acceptance speeches it seems that we can finally say goodbye to 2015, and welcome film in 2016. On the last Sunday night in February, The 88th Academy Awards lasted a little more than three hours (I enjoyed every moment), even when they gave 45 seconds for each winner, it still went over schedule. Chris Rock was the perfect host with all the backlash over #OscarsSoWhite--the second consecutive year that all the nominees were caucasian.
Rock in his first line out on stage, said “I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards.” He poked fun at last year’s host Neil Patrick Harris, and said something that everyone around the world has thought. “It’s the 88th Academy Awards, which means the no black nominees thing has happened at least 71 other times. O.K?”. In no way, I’m saying that this controversy has went “over the top” in Hollywood, but the fact that it's 2016 and not 1955 makes a big difference. 60 years later and we should have solved this problem--this race problem. This topic was larger than anyone in that room on Sunday, and with Rock’s highs (like that pre-recorded bit where he asked mostly blacks if they watched “Bridge of Spies), he hit some lows in the telecast.
When Rock mentioned the lynching of his grandmother, and the cops shooting unarmed blacks: the crowd grew uncomfortable and quiet. Slight murmurs and chuckles could be heard, but the camera swiped in on Matt Damon’s awkward reaction to what Rock said, and either all the stars in the room want to be careful with laughing about that type of stuff, or (I hope not this choice) that they don’t care.
Chris Rock may have done a tad overkill with the diversity jokes (or insults), but none the less it was the night that Leo finally got his gold statue! For a couple of years now, the meme of Leonardo not winning the prestigious honor has been roaming around the internet, and on Sunday night, that meme has been finally put to rest.
Besides Leo winning, a big winner was also Mad Max: Fury Road. Fury Road was gloriously insane, and it swept up in the technical categories in the night. It deserved every single one. I thought that the Academy is pretty predictable, but between Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) beating out an Academy favorite Sylvester Stallone, was the largest shocker of the night. This was my favorite speech of the night, but Rylance, in my opinion, was the odd man out--that even Tom Hardy had more of a chance than him. This caused uproar all over the internet, especially from Stallone's brother as well, calling out Rylance on Twitter.
Ex Machina was one of 2015’s most underrated movies (c’mon Oscar Isaac AND Domhnall Gleeson were BOTH in Force Awakens), and it stepped out into the sun by beating out Star Wars, and Fury Road for Best Visual Effects. Alicia Vikander, after a popular year, finally hit the homerun by winning Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. My predictions for Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress were unclear, since Stallone was in front yet I was vying for Hardy, and I was vying for Vikander but Winslet seemed like the frontrunner. I cheered when Brie Larson won, just something about her proves that she’s loves the work she is doing, and is extremely bubbly.
Best Director went to Alejandro González Iñárritu, which was not shocking, even though George Miller was the favorite early on. Inarritu has done something that has not happened since the 1950’s by winning two consecutive years. Birdman and The Revenant are two completely different stories, and to achieve that only in a year is quite amazing, (even if I did want Miller to win for Mad Max).
Best Picture was so up in the air since the beginning of awards season. The frontrunner went from The Revenant, Mad Max, Spotlight to The Big Short and then back to Spotlight. Spotlight won at the SAG Awards back in late January and that is the indication of what’s to come on Oscar night. Spotlight was filled with stars, (two best picture’s with Michael Keaton..coincidence? I think not!), and had one message that would resonate with voters: save the children. The Revenant and Mad Max almost cancelled each other out, since they were both set in dangerous weather conditions filled with a type of insanity. The Big Short won big at the Producer’s Guild Awards, which popped it up into first place, but failed to take flight. Spotlight was the only one to stick to a steady, constant pattern.
I recall sitting outside on a warm November day this fall, asking family members to see Spotlight in theaters since--and I quote--”..is going to win Best Picture.” Am I a psychic? No, but I know a good movie (even if it IS a lot of talking) when I see one (is Journalism in film making a comeback???!!).
I enjoyed this year’s ceremony a lot more than last year’s. It could’ve been Chris Rock’s point of view on Hollywood racism, Lady Gaga’s performance, all the movie shorts that I need to see ASAP, or probably just the fact that last year I pointed out that Leo needs to win an Oscar already. The meme is dead, but a new Academy has risen. A strong criticism though is that the music they play to cut off the winner’s speeches seemed to be even more rude this year than others. Even though that Larson came prepared, others were shocked and thankful towards the Academy and they wanted to convey it--but it's hard to do in 45 seconds.
If we learned anything from the past two years in film, and two consecutive years of white nominees, is that next year’s Oscars will be a much different ceremony. 2016 can go down in the books that Leonardo finally won his Oscar, and that this year in film is setting it stakes high to break that diversity barrier.

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