Sunday, February 28, 2016

Final Thoughts Before the Oscars

It's been quite an awards season. The precursors were mostly all over the place including the critics and guilds. At one point or another one of the following films--Spotlight, The Big Short, The Revenant, and Mad Max: Fury Road--were seen as the film to beat. The only surprise would be if one of these films didn't win the big award tonight of best picture. But they'll all have to do it the hard way with all of them missing precursor honors on the way like assumed current front-runner The Revenant missing out on PGA and SAG Ensemble awards. That film does have the momentum winning at the BAFTAs and coming out on top at the DGA. And yet, even with its Oscar-leading 12 nominations, the attitude seems to be that this film is too divisive to win especially with two films that might play better with the Academy for their topical content.

Certainly The Revenant has been helped by the notion that it was such an arduous undertaking to film, that a lot of its technical achievements are obviously displayed in their epic glory, and that whole weird bear raping controversy. Oh and of course its lead Leonardo DiCaprio is finally, FINALLY getting his overdue Oscars at 41 years young, which also fueled audiences flocking to this nearly 3-hr revenge drama to the tune of $170 million, second highest of the Best Picture nominees. Too bad it's also my least favorite film of the lot and probably stole some of the thunder from the other hard-to-shoot, technical wonder that is Mad Max: Fury Road. Both will be fighting it out to the end for sure.

Speaking of Leo, he will not be denied. He won all of the major awards and his film is clearly a favorite. He will be joined by the other acting lock of the night Brie Larson, whose dominance is a bit more confounding especially with her starring in a far smaller film (though getting a telling Directing nod) and in a severely stacked lineup. But like Leo, she has won all the major precursors including BAFTA and yesterday's Spirit Awards. The Supporting categories are slightly more competitive. Alicia Vikander beat Kate Winslet at the SAG, but Winslet beat her at the Globes and BAFTA while Sylvester Stallone has won all of the awards with the important exception of SAG and BAFTA, for which he was unexpectedly not nominated, going to Mark Rylance. And if Idris Elba has been nominated (won SAG and Spirit Awards), it would've been even more competitive.

Idris Elba's snub also brings me to the biggest storyline this awards season as signified by the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. For the second year in a row all acting nominees are white. There were plenty of outrage, think-pieces written, calls for boycott, and the Academy directly addressing it by making behind-the-scenes changes to make their membership more diverse in the coming years. Also in a stroke of kismet, Chris Rock is hosting tonight and I'm sure he'll have plenty to say so I shan't say more. The other minor story-line was category fraud with plenty of lead roles getting into supporting categories (and vice versa) aka looking at you Rooney Mara and Vikander.

But in the end, it's almost done. It's been a weird and pretty exhausting season. Leo is certainly relieved for it all to end. And while The Revenant is not one of my favorites and will probably walk home with lots of awards tonight, it's all about the appreciation of film. That's why people were so up in arms about various issues this year, because people LOVE films and want to make them better. So in the end, just continue watching and loving films.

Related links:
Click here to see my official predictions.
Click here to see my own personal ballot.
Click here to see my initial thoughts on the Oscar nominations.
Click here to see all my posts on "Awards Season."

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