A moment of silence please for the worst night in Academy Awards history in the past decade.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s sift through the ashes of what turned out to be a rather disastrous evening, starting with the fact that the instantly-forgettable Spotlight has claimed the top prize. The film only managed to nab one additional Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, making it the weakest Best Picture win in over 60 years (the last Best Picture winner to take only one additional Oscar was The Greatest Show on Earth, which, fittingly, is commonly named as one of the worst picks in Academy history). To reiterate, the Academy is saying that it’s not the best edited film, it’s not the best directed film, nor does it even deserve a single acting award, and yet, it’s somehow the best film of the year because of its lackluster screenplay. And this is not even to mention the fact that two films won more awards than it (The Revenant with three and Mad Max: Fury Road with six, the biggest haul of the night), which all goes to show that even they weren’t that crazy about their pick for the top prize.
There were a few moments of celebration in between the chaos, however, including Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu winning Best Director for The Revenant (the film that should have easily claimed Best Picture), making him the first director in over 60 years to win the award back to back. We also got to see cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki claim his third Oscar in a row for his gorgeous work on the same film.
Perhaps the most special moment though came in getting to see Leonardo DiCaprio finally win that elusive acting Oscar on his fifth try for his brilliant performance in Inarritu’s film. It was also a delight to see Brie Larson win Best Actress for her outstanding work in Room, as well as getting to see Mark Rylance claim Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies over the extremely overrated performance of Sylvester Stallone in Creed (a performance that many swore was going to get him the Oscar).
However, there were still more bad decision made throughout the night that included awarding two sub-par screenplays (Spotlight and The Big Short) over clearly superior nominees like Inside Out and Room. Additionally, one could only laugh as Mad Max: Fury Road received the Oscar for Best Costume Design over Cinderella, Carol, AND The Danish Girl.
Perhaps most embarrassing of all, however, was their choice for Original Song, the abysmal “Writing’s On the Wall” from Spectre, a song that is almost universally hated and has become one of the those picks that will go down in Academy history as a terrible mistake (not that the other nominees were much better, but they weren’t nearly as horrendous). While the Academy is working on restructuring themselves, they really need to do an audit of the music branch and do a little spring cleaning, as there is definitely something wrong there.
Overall, as we can clearly see, this is a year that is best erased from the records and forgotten, not that anyone will need help to do the latter when it comes to Spotlight. It’s rather ironic though, to say the least. The last time the best film of the year won Best Picture (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2004), it was followed up by a disastrous year that saw the dreadful Million Dollar Baby take the top prize. Then when it happened again (Birdman in 2015), it is once again followed up by a terrible year at the Oscars, and once again hosted by Chris Rock. That’s nothing against Rock, who did an ok job of hosting this evening, it’s just a very interesting coincidence.
Perhaps the Academy just feels the need to remind us that they can still make bad decisions as well, especially at the cost of robbing some truly deserving films. Now whenever we look back at this year, it will be in sheer astonishment that both the Golden Globes (the HFPA) and BAFTA were able to come to a better conclusion than the Academy, whose many baffling choices will be puzzled over for years to come. Oh well, we can only hope that they’ll get back to awarding Best Picture to a film that’s actually worthy of it next year.
Until then, please see below for a complete list of tonight’s winners and as always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Best Picture: Spotlight
Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, The Revenant
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Best Actress: Brie Larson, Room
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Best Original Screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Best Adapted Screenplay: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
Best Film Editing: Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Best Original Song: “Writing’s On the Wall,” Spectre
Best Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Visual Effects: Ex Machina
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Best Documentary Feature: Amy
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Live Action Short: Stutterer
Best Animated Short: Bear Story
Best Documentary Short: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness