Hello, readers! This past Sunday was the 88th Academy Awards, where the greatest snub in Oscar history occurred and that’s the mama bear who tore Leo a new hole in The Revenant going home empty handed. So here are my thoughts on what went right, what went wrong and what the hell?
Of course, before we begin, there are my predictions to go over. I tied my score from last year, going 10-9, but at least getting four of the six major categories right, including Best picture. No surprises either, though, I’ll admit to being a bit disappointed over Sly Stallone not winning for Best Supporting Actor. Still, Mark Rylance’s performance was one of, if not the strongest aspect of Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and it was well-deserving of the win. Unfortunately, the online uproar from Stallone die-hards begs to differ as they were quick point out how much Rylance apparently sucks.
They’d have a point… if they were talking about The Gunman, but then again, not even Sean Penn and Idris Elba came out of that drab thriller unscathed.
So here’s my breakdown of the night.
Best of the Night: The most obvious plus of the night was DiCaprio finally winning Best Actor, though it should be noted that it was his first win in only five nominations. Sure, not the best track record; in fact, I’ve even made note of it before, but we didn’t storm the internet with memes of Kate Winslet going 0-5 before finally winning on her sixth nomination for The Reader. Paul Newman went 0-7 before winning his first for The Color of Money, as did Al Pacino before his win for Scent of a Woman. Richard Burton earned seven nominations without winning a single one, and Peter O’Toole topped him with eight winless nominations.
Where are their memes?
Also, it was nice to see Mad Max: Fury Road go home with the most wins of the night, winning six of the technical categories. Sci-fi indie darling Ex Machina, the “little engine that could” of the ceremony (I like to imagine that Alicia Vikander’s Best Supporting Actress win for The Danish Girl was actually for Ex Machina), took home a well-earned Best Visual Effects win. And though his extraordinary legacy has already been cemented long before this ceremony, it was great to see Ennio Morricone win his first competitive Oscar for Best Original Score (he already has received an Academy Honorary Award in 2007).
Yeah, I hear you. “Those are only technical categories.” They still count. I mean, think of how lesser a film you’d get if they dropped the ball.
The big plus of the night was Chris Rock, who absolutely killed it during his opening monologue, tackling on the #OscarsSoWhite “controversy”, which included him poking fun of the utter ridiculousness of it (As he put it, it’s the 88th Academy Awards and everyone’s just now complaining?). Of course, not every bit of Rock’s was a slam dunk. The show could’ve done without him pimping out his daughter’s girl scout cookies, but compared to the streak of meh – Ellen DeGeneres twice, Neil Patrick Harris, Team Steve Martin/Alec Baldwin – and downright yikes! – Team James Franco/Anne Hathaway – that we’ve gotten the past 5-7 years (the two exceptions being longtime recurring host Billy Crystal in 2012 and Seth MacFarlane, the latter of whom gets slighted for his 2013’s routine more than he should), Rock’s hosting performance was a major improvement.
Worst of the Night: Sarah Silverman’s Bond routine before announcing Sam’s Smith performance of “Writing’s on the Wall”… As if I didn’t have enough reasons to not like her.
I get that the running thank you lists at the bottom of the screen was to keep the acceptance speeches shorter, but it did absolutely nothing in stopping the winners from thanking their best friend’s third cousin’s roommates’s father’s step-sister. Academy, rent a bouncer.
Luckily for those running thank yous, they were out-done by the distracting pop up info bubbles that accompanied the presenters. I guess maybe you could say they were necessary, just in case everyone watching at home simultaneously forgot who Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Hart and Ryan Gosling were.
Mixed Bag of the Night: I’m not sure what to make of all those uptight, never white folk too butt clenched tight to laugh at Chris Rock’s racial jokes. Is it a Best of the Night moment getting to enjoy watching them be suffocated by their overwhelming white guilt, or is it a Worst of the Night moment having to deal with a room filled with that many pussies? I can’t decide.
Most Talked About of the Night: Presenter Stacey Dash’s Black History Month joke – maybe it was just how she delivered it, or maybe it was the joke itself, but I sure as hell didn’t get it. Neither did the rest of the crowd. I swear the crickets chirping amidst Chrissy Teigen’s awkward snarl was as deafening as a Pantera concert on steroids.
This led to many tweets of “Who is Stacey Dash?” Fair enough. When your career highlight was over 20 years ago with Clueless, many are probably gonna have a brain fart about you when you walk out on stage. But that unbearably awkward moment also begged the question within me: Who the fuck is Chrissy Teigen?
All in all, not the best show, but certainly far from the worst, thanks to host Chris Rock. Memo to the Academy: Book Louis C.K. now.
Here’s to next year’s Oscars, when in an effort to make up for the horrific whitewashing of the nominees, the Academy will go overboard and nominate only Tyler Perry and Marlon Wayans films.