Gathering in the Dolby Theatre is over. 88th Oscar Award Ceremony is done and dealt with, famous people ran over the red carpet, dresses and tuxedos were photographed, somebody even said a few words worth hearing, when it started. Race for the Golden Statue was over and we finally learned who has won and who will have to try some other time. Chris Rock was a good host, better than Neil Harris anyhow, but he played the race card few times to many. You know the rule… Good joke is funny once, very good twice, and the best of them you can hear three times. I didn’t count, but it seemed he played the card 30 times or more during the ceremony. It’s funny, because in my humble opinion last year was better choice for such a stunt since “Selma” was unjustifiably ignored with all the wonderful performances in that movie. However, repeated jokes aside, this Oscars were historically interesting and we will remember the 88th Ceremony in the years to come. There are few reasons for that.
First is Ennio Morricone. Great master won his first “real” Oscar for the score of “Hateful Eight”. He has honorary life achievement already stored somewhere, but Academy was wise enough to correct the great mistakes of the past and give the statue to the man who deserved it more than few times before.
Second is Leonardo Di Caprio. All memes and jokes can end now. The man has finally won his Oscar for the role in “Revenant”. Did he deserve it? Well, that role was different from other roles he usually plays. This time he didn’t play the white man in the position of power or money, he didn’t play the type of roles he usually gets into (“Wolf of Wall Street”, “Great Gatsby”, “The Aviator”, “J. Edgar”) and for the first time since “The Departed” he played the character with the necessary depth for the Academy Award. All that, of course, if we keep in mind what type of roles Academy voters like to honor.
Before the ceremony I expected the match between “The Revenant” and “The Mad Max: Fury Road”. I sincerely hoped that one of them will win the best movie award, but my hopes were misplaced. I liked “Spotlight”, but I hoped that the Academy will change its pattern and give the award to George Miller or “Mad Max”, not only because they redefined the way action films are made, but because the movie about the road warrior was one of the best films of the genre in more than a decade.
However, “Spotlight” won in style. Two titans were worn out by then, having won 9 Oscars in total, but big finale wasn’t meant to happen. “Mad Max” took technical and make-up categories, and “Revenant” took photography, director and the leading role. Yes, Max has won the most golden boys of all movies at the ceremony, but “Revenant” has won two of six most popular ones.
Leading Actress winner was Brie Larson for her performance in “The Room.” “Room” was nice movie with a nice twist, but when I saw it I was stunned with the acting performance of Jacob Tremblay way more than I was with Brie’s. My favorite for the award was, as you can guess if you’ve read this blog, Charlotte Rampling for her great role in “45 years”.
I was also surprised with supporting roles. Somehow, most people thought that Stallone will win his Oscar for the supporting role and that he’ll have his fairy-tale ending of the “Rocky” saga which started 40 years ago. I was sentimental toward old Sly by wanting him to win, and my other choice was Ruffalo for his wonderful role in “Spotlight”. Ruffalo has nominations two years in a row, both for great roles, but the Award goes past him every single time. Last year it was due to magnificent performance of J. K. Simmons in “Whiplash” and this year to Mark Rylance and his role in Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies”. I don’t know what to say to that because “Bridge of Spies” was mediocre film to me which would’ve been good if it was filmed 20 years ago, but in the current social and political reality of post 9/11, invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq, it just didn’t work. Rylance’s acting was good, and that is Oscar-like performance, but as I said – Stallone and Ruffalo were much better in this year’s ballot.
In the Supporting Actress Category Academy also didn’t give in to the sentiment and award an Oscar to Jennifer Jason Leigh. That’s pity, since her role in the “Hateful Eight” was the most memorable of all and that is telling a lot if we take a look who else is in that ensemble. Alicia Vikander won the Award for her role in the “Danish Girl”. It’s a great role, but it’s a surprise nevertheless. Vikander had a great year with two fantastic roles in “Danish Girl” and “Ex Machina” respectively. “Ex Machina” won the Oscar for the Special Effects, making “Star Wars” fans mad, but it’s a great movie and I’m very happy that Academy gave it deserved recognition. It would be even more so if Alicia Vikander was nominated for that role since it was more believable than one in the “Danish Girl.”
“Mad Max” won most of the technical and style awards. Six of them were enough to show the Academy’s fascination with the dystopian saga, but I’m intimately disappointed that Miller didn’t win the Best Director award too. Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu won the award twice in a row, and I think it’s first time in history that non-American director has won that award repeatedly. I’m not sure if this is correct though, so I’ll have to check on that info. If it is, that’s one more reason why 88th Oscars will go down as historically important ones.
In the end it’s my opinion that this year in total was much weaker that 2015 if you take all of the nominees. Some good films didn’t make it on the list, and some others did and maybe they didn’t need to. “Bridge of Spies” and “Brooklyn” first come to mind. There were “Beasts of no Nation”, “45 Years”, “Carol” and “Youth” as more legitimate candidates. Also, Charlize Theron should’ve been nominated in the Leading Actress Category. But all that aside, it was a good show.
Next year we will go to the 89th Ceremony, with some other actors, movies and – hopefully – host. Also, I hope that next year will bring more talk about accomplishments and less about politics and minorities. Hollywood will probably learn from its mistakes. Hopefully, though, with more quality that in these nominees.