Notes on the Oscars: Okay, Oscar, but…

5 Mar

So, Oscar, let me get this straight…

  1. The movie that wins the most Oscars, that would be Mad Max: Fury Road with 6, fails to nab either Best Picture or Best Director…is that right?
  2. The movie that wins Best Director, that would Alejandro Iñárritu–a rare back to back champ, per 2014’s Birdman–for The Revenant, also fails to win Best Picture…is that right?
  3. The movie that wins Best Picture, the acclaimed Spotlight, only wins two awards, the other being Best Adapted Screenplay (more on that to come)…is that right?

Some true believers will no doubt applaud the Academy for so seemingly judiciously spreading the wealth. Yeah, that’s a good one.

On the other hand, maybe this, what, disparity just signals what many of us have known or feared for a few years: Uncle Oscar is losing his credibility. If, maybe, he ever had any at all.

Here’s what I know about last week’s awards…

Screen shot 2016-03-05 at 5.36.14 AM

This is Brie Larson from the gut-wrenching Room. She also won an Oscar last night, a fact that seems to have been lost in most morning-after coverage, much of which overwhelmingly seems to have focused on Best Actor winner Leonardo DiCaprio. Both Larson and her film are a Must Watch. On a lighter note, I think her dress is endlessly elegant: cut, color, texture, all of the above. I think anybody would be hard pressed not to include her among the event’s Best Dressed. Okay, but now I read, per Entertainment Weekly, that she’s set to follow her Oscar winner with yet another King Kong opus. Really? Alas, this is an all-too familiar trend: win an Oscar for a low-budget anti-Hollywood establishment offering, and then coast on that success to mainstreamdom.

 

Welcome to Brooklyn, the movie, nit the NYC borough. I saw the John Crowley film the afternoon of the Oscars and loved it. Quite a bit, actually. Brooklyn, about an Irish immigrant trying to figure out her place in two very different worlds, competed for Oscars in three categories, including Best Picture and Best Actress, the breathtaking Saoirse Ronan. All grown now. Ronan first attracted the Academy's attention with an on-point performance as the chilling child antagonist in 2007's devastating Best Picture contender Atonement. I'm all about Brie Larson winning Best Actress, but I would have been equally pleased if Ronan had won. I can definitely imagine repeat viewings of Brooklyn, but maybe not so with Room.

Welcome to Brooklyn, the movie, n0t the NYC borough. I saw the John Crowley film the afternoon of the Oscars and loved it. Quite a bit, actually. Brooklyn, about an Irish immigrant trying to figure out her place in two very different worlds, competed for Oscars in three categories, including Best Picture and Best Actress, the breathtaking Saoirse Ronan. All grown now. Ronan first attracted the Academy’s attention with an on-point performance as the chilling child antagonist in 2007’s devastating Best Picture contender Atonement. I’m all about Brie Larson winning Best Actress, but I would have been equally pleased if Ronan had won. I can definitely imagine repeat viewings of Brooklyn, but maybe not so with Room. I loved every frame of this movie.

Swedish born Alicia Vikander solidified her reputation as one of moviedom’s most promising new stars by winning Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Danish Girl. Vikander has been all over the place lately with roles in a number of high profile films, most notably–besides her Oscar winner, natch–would be last spring’s Ex Machina.  The sleek cautionary tale may have very well pulled off  the TWO biggest surprises of the night, first clutching honors for Best Visual Effects from splashier, bigger-budgeted offerings such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latter with its lavish 200 million price tag; meanwhile, Ex Machina reportedly cost a relatively meager 15 million. Maybe the Ex Machina team, Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Williams Ardington, and Sara Bennett, won because they demonstrated resourcefulness, cleverness, and how to do more with less. Also, with her win, Bennett becomes the first female champion in the Best Visual Effects category. Good job!

This is Mark Rylance, and he won Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies, portraying the mystery man at the center of all the action. Some reports have tagged him a "surprise" or "upset" winner, given the hoopla over Sylvester Stallone's comeback in Creed in which he yet again resurrected iconic character Rocky Balboa, originally made famous in 1976's Best Picture winner, Rocky, which Stallone also penned.

This is Mark Rylance, and he won Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies, portraying the mystery man at the center of all the action. Some reports have tagged Rylance a “surprise” or “upset” winner, given the hoopla over Sylvester Stallone’s comeback vehicle Creed in which he yet again resurrects iconic character Rocky Balboa, originally made famous in 1976’s Best Picture winner, Rocky, which Stallone also penned. Okay, but Rylance’s victory was hardly a surprise since he also won early honors from the likes of the New York Film Critics, the National Society of Film Critics, and the British Academy, and I say well-deserved. The British born thesp is also an Olivier honoree back at home and  three-time Tony winner in the states: twice for Best Actor in a play (Boeing-Boeing, 2008; Jerusalem, 2011) and more recently for Best Featured Actor in a play Twelfth Night, 2014).

Screen shot 2016-03-06 at 8.19.57 PMBest Picture winner Spotlight, which looks at the real-life Boston Globe reporters who investigated allegations of sexual abuse among priests, was not my my favorite movie of the year,  but it’s well done and certainly held my attention. I would have easily included it among my top 10 if only I made top 10 lists. At any rate, congratulations to writer-director Tom McCarthy. No, he didn’t win Best Director, nor was he on the roster of producers in line for the Best Picture Oscar, but McCarthy, who’s been writing, acting, and directing for a few decades, shared the Best Adapted Screenplay trophy with Josh Singer. I’ve been rooting for McCarthy ever since 2011’s Win-Win. His other credits include 2003’s The Station Agent and 2007’s The Visitor; meanwhile, shout-out to Michael Keaton. Okay, he was not among the film’s Oscar nominated cast (that would be Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo), but he can boast of acting in consecutive Best Picture winners, the other being 2014’s Birdman, and that’s pretty incredible. Good job!

Pixar-Disney's Inside Out was one of 2015's most engaging movies. clever yet also surprisingly touching. No surprise that it won the prize for Best Animated Feature. Okay, but what would have been a surprise would have been a win for Best Original Screenplay, for which it was also nominated.

Pixar-Disney’s Inside Out was one of 2015’s most engaging movies. clever yet also surprisingly touching. No surprise that it won the prize for Best Animated Feature. Okay, but what would have been a surprise would have been a win for Best Original Screenplay, for which it was also nominated.

Screen shot 2016-03-06 at 9.01.59 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the indomitable Jenny Beavan, two time Oscar winner for Best Costume Design. No, I wasn’t rooting for her or her vehicle, Mad Max: Fury Road, but I’m not necessarily surprised that she won, either. My pick was the great Sandy Powell for Cinderella, but I suspected that Beavan’s post-apocalyptic designs–the opposite of Powell’s lush offerings–might be an upset in the making.  I didn’t watch the telecast, but I understand hers was not the most popular win of the evening. Well, okay, but I actually like Beavan. This is her second Oscar, btw. Her first came almost 30 years ago for Merchant-Ivory’s romantic crowd pleaser A Room with a View; her eight additional nominations include the likes of Howards End (1992), The Remains of the Day (1993), Gosford Park (2001), and The King’s Speech (2010). I think it’s cool that a designer so closely associated with British period films won an Oscar for a film with an entirely different aesthetic. Good for her!

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Notes on the Oscars: Okay, Oscar, but…”

  1. listen2uraunt 18 March 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    Thanks!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Oscar Notes | Musea Zine - 14 March 2016

    […] See her post at https://listen2uraunt.wordpress.com/2016/03/05/okay-oscar-but/ […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: