Monday, February 29, 2016

Post-Oscars 2016

I started writing this entry a couple days earlier so I could write down [for my own recollection] who I pick to win all the categories.
I think last year, I only got 7 winners right of the ones I picked beforehand (a couple documentaries, I picked when I heard the nominees, so it wouldn't be fair to count them).

The ones in bold are the one I got correct... or the winners were mentioned elsewhere in my blurbs.


Best Picture- The Martian
Best Actor- Leonardo DiCaprio [Right now my gut is saying Matt Damon... but it's hard to ignore the buzz around Leo... the next time RDJ is nominated for an Oscar, he better get this same buzz]
Best Actress- Jennifer Lawrence [It's hard not to go with the J-Law/David O. Russell combo, although Brie Larson and Cate Blanchett have just as good a chance to win]
Best Supporting Actor- Sylvester Stallone [my gut says Mark Ruffalo but "Spotlight" has all but been ignored this awards season]
Best Supporting Actress- Kate Winslet [I'd love Rachel McAdams, but I just don't see it happening, see above]

Best Animated Film- Inside Out
Best Cinematography- The Revenant

Best Costume Design- The Danish Girl [it's hard to pick- none of the costumes stand out to me]
Best Director- Alejandro Inarritu for "The Revenant"
Best [Full] Documentary- Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom [I'd like "Amy" to win because I heard it was really good... but I have a feeling about this one. Isn't it time to lift the sanctions on Russia over Ukraine? It's not worth sinking the world's economy over that]
Best [Short] Documentary- Last Day of Freedom

Film Editing- Mad Max: Fury Road
Foreign Language Film- Son of Saul
Best Makeup/Hairstyling- Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Original Score- Bridges of Spies [Can't go wrong with John Williams]
Best Original Song- " 'Till It happens to you"- Lady Gaga [I like "Earned It" but this song from "The Hunting Ground" NEEDS to win... if not to make up for the fact it wasn't nominated for best documentary, then for everything it stands for- stopping victim-blaming in sexual assault cases]
Production Design- The Revenant
Short Animated Film- World of Tomorrow
Short Live-Action Film- Ave Maria [hard not to go with that name]
Best Sound Editing- Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Sound Mixing- Star Wars VII
Best Visual Effects: Ex Machina

Best Original Screenplay- Ex Machina ["Straight Outta Compton" is probably going to win just because on the whole race issue that's been plaguing the Oscars]
Best Adapted Screenplay- Room

Red Carpet
Going through my previous two "post-Oscars" entries, I noticed that Anna Kendrick was my "best dressed" both times.
This year, she wasn't anywhere near the red carpet (and for the second year in a row, Robert Downey Jr. was nowhere to be seen... but really, the one thing I have any concern about with him is when HE gets that campaign for an Oscar that Leo had... please don't make him wait until he's Charlie Chaplin's age or, even worse, don't do him like Omar Sharif  [RIP] and neglect to give him an Oscar at all).

Anyway, my new pick for "Best Dressed":

Best actress nominee ["Brooklyn"] Saoirse Ronan

Also it was cool to hear her natural Irish brogue. I'd seen her in "Hanna," "The Lovely Bones" and "The Host" (which I hope I'll be able to find somewhere for five bucks).
And hopefully now everyone will know her name is pronounced "Sir-sha."
I didn't know until Stephen Colbert had her on the late show.
I was half hoping she would win the Oscar this year, but Brie Larson definitely deserved it too.

another of my "best dressed" of the night

But I have one honorable mention:

Kevin Hart had shiny embroidery on his tux. The perfect compliment to his shining personality.
He gave maybe the funniest opening monologue I've seen on SNL. I'd only been watching over the past couple years, but I almost didn't stop laughing the entire time.
Which reminds me... I gotta get around to seeing some of his movies. "The Wedding Ringer" was named one of the worst movies of 2014, but I still wanna see it. And of course "Ride Along" because I almost went out and saw the sequel.
Another side-note: I'd love to see him host the Oscars at some point too.

Rating Oscar Host Chris Rock

Speaking of SNL, Chris Rock recently hosted a show where Prince was the musical guest. I like both these guys a lot (Prince especially) and both disappointed me. Chris Rock told a joke involving 9/11 that went way too far for me and his monologue never recovered. I believe Prince performed a PlectrumElectrum track "Marz" with his band 3rd Eye Girl, but beyond that, it didn't live up to the hype. [Then again when he performed "Fury" while there in 2007, I had a million nitpicks about that too...]

With the exception of one joke (one of my cousins is a cop, so for me one joke went too far) and one segment (man on the street interviewing random people in front of a movie theater), Chris Rock was a great host.
He hosted the first Oscars I ever watched back in 2005 and he was great then as well.

Of course everyone who wasn't boycotting the Oscars was eager to see how he would address the lack of nominee diversity issue. It got tiresome a couple hours later, most running jokes often do. But his "sorority racist" comment, I thought, was spot-on and kinda clever.
My favorite sketch poking full at the issue was where we saw Whoopi Goldberg, Leslie Jones and Kevin Hart injected into movie scenes. I'm guessing Chris Rock stole that from Ellen because she ruined what was meant to be a serious scene from "Breaking Dawn." (Admittedly, her "50 shades" parody made up for that).
Best part was Leslie Jones (probably my last SNL reference in this entry, lol) being the bear from "The Revenant." If that scene was actually part of the movie, I might have watched it. Cannot wait to see her as part of the new "Ghostbusters" reboot-- freaking hilarious!!

Chris Rock did one other thing that Ellen did... and topped her.
She invited a pizza guy from a little local pizzeria and got pizzas for people.
Chris Rock brought Girl Scout Cookies and made more than $65,000 for his daughters' girl scout troop. Pizza's great, but you can't beat those cookies :P

Also loved when he had three Asian kids come out with the briefcases.

Other Cameos
My sister reminded me to mention the non-human characters that had cameos at this year's Oscars.
For starters, the droids from the latest Star Wars movie- C3PO, R2D2 and BB-8.
So cute seeing Jacob Tremblay standing on his chair in the audience to get a look at them. He mentioned being starstruck by them on the red carpet. It was mentioned that John Williams was for up for his 50th nomination and only won 5 times.
(I know in my predictions, I mentioned "can't go wrong with John Williams," but I incorrectly attributed him to scoring "Bridge of Spies"- that was Thomas Newman. John Williams scored Stars Wars- other than the two droids, the only other person involved in every Star Wars movie, which is kinda cool).

Then we had the Minions read the nominees for best animated short.
Johnny Weir tweeted shortly after "I don't understand...what are minions?"
A fanblogger of his RTed someone saying something to the effect that if Johnny doesn't get it, then it shouldn't be important.
I beg to differ... sure, "Minions" wasn't a perfect movie by any means, but I still love those characters. Their appearance was just Kevin having issues with the mic stand and Bob wound up reading the envelope after all the ruckus.

Lastly, Buzz and Woody from "Toy Story" were having a little back and forth as they always do, making fun of each other, and read the nominees for Best Animated Film.
Which of course was "Inside Out"- one of the best movies of the year [that I'm starting to regret not going out to see in theaters] and they're both Pixar films.


Unlike previous years, we "only had time" for three performers for the "Best Original Song" category. My favorite blogger, Lyndsey Parker, expressed a little annoyance at this because two lesser known artists were excluded. [And also noted that Duran Duran and John Parr were snubbed for "A View To a Kill" and "Man in Emotion (St Elmo's Fire)" collectively]. Anohini would have sang "Manta Ray," which was from the documentary Racing Extinction- showed a lot of undersea creatures including those big-ass Manta Rays. Their size boggles my mind!
"Simple Song #3" was from YOUTH- never heard of it, so for me, it wasn't a huge loss.

In retrospect, it's too bad we couldn't give awards based solely on how well they were performed...
I don't know how long it's been since Sam Smith sang publicly or how long ago his vocal cord surgery was, but he sounded a little off. I'm not sure why. It's a shame because he really does have an amazing voice. [I recently bought his album too-- I went from being a non-believer to a fan because of "Not The Only One"].
The Weeknd performed "Earned It" inside a ring of candles surrounded by scantily barely clad women, one of which was hanging from the ceiling. The only missing for me was his falsetto in the bridge leading to the chorus-- that's the vocal range that gets me every time I hear this song. [Listened to his album for the first time today-- lots of great slow jams and baby-making music, but some tracks ran too long and I paid a bit for neglecting to notice the Parental Advisory sticker... smooth silky voice or not, the some of the language in 2-3 tracks wasn't tasteful towards women].

At the end of it all, Lady Gaga gave one of the most powerful Oscar performances ever. Her "Sound of Music" tribute last year was amazing, yes, but this... Isn't there a Grammy category for a live performance? Because this would win hands down.
She did " "Till It happens to you" stripped down at the piano and at the end, all these rape and sexual survivors came out and stood hand in hand. On their arms, there were varying messages written.

So when they read of Sam Smith's name, I flipped out... everyone [except my friend Drew] was picked Gaga to win this. Everything was set up that way. Instead, they went with a James Bond theme that people were tweeting wasn't all that great. (I'll have to hear the recorded version to be sure of my feelings).
But when Sam gave his speech, whatever angry/sadness I felt evaporated. It was lucky he co-wrote with someone or he wouldn't be able to stay on his feet :P And it's a great win for the LGBT community. I had a feeling it'd be the first time an openly gay artist won this award.

Also, Dave Grohl performing "Blackbird" during the In Memoriam section- he's with the Foo Fighters and rocks hard a lot, so it was kinda cool he's capable of doing the exact opposite.
[According to IMDB, they forgot Abe Vigoda... they always forget someone... I could point out the fact they didn't mention Vanity/Denise Matthews, even though she only did B-movies...]

Winners and Losers

So, for starters, I guess I can thank "Mad Max: Fury Road" for giving me the first couple correct guesses that night.
We usually give out Best Supporting Actor first, but this time we started with the writing categories.
"The Big Short" won for Adaptation and "Spotlight" for Original... both movies were ones I didn't think would win anything because they got nothing at the Golden Globes.

Considering I only got 7 winners right last year and 9 this year, I should probably listen more to the other awards shows and less to the Golden Globes and my sentimentality... that's usually where I make the most mistakes.

Should I also accept the fact that Jennifer Lawrence is probably going to NEVER WIN another Oscar? I've picked her every time since "Silver Linings Playbook" and I've been wrong. And I REALLY hate being wrong.
Brie Larson definitely deserved it, though. No denying that. One thing about "Room" that gets on my nerves a tiny bit-- the kid is so loud in the one scene they showed. Isn't she trying to keep his existence a secret? I'm on edge that any second, her captor is going to break into the room and attack her/them. If opportunity knocks, I will see "Room"-- even though it'll probably be hard to watch.

Anyway, "Mad Max" won at least 6... and throughout the night, my mom kept saying "I really hope it doesn't win Best Picture."
I wanted to see it on HBO after all the hype, which I thought was ridiculous. As it turns out, it was nominated for Best Picture because it's supposed to be a metaphor/allegory of what our future could potentially become. The first half hour was really hard to get through-- really grotesque visuals. But after that, I did kinda enjoy it and some of the hype was warranted. So long as you don't associate it with the original "Mad Max" series with Mel Gibson. That was the one thing my mom couldn't get over. I never saw the original, so I wouldn't know. The movie kinda reminded me something out of a graphic novel.

One surprise was Sylvester Stallone not winning for Best Supporting Actor when literally everyone said he would. All the critics kept saying how great "Creed" was, but it neglected to win the one award it was nominated for.
Likewise, "Bridge of Spies" only got a handful of nominations, but only won this won for supporting actor. Mark Rylance.

Another great surprise- Mad Max not sweeping all the technical awards.
"Ex Machina" got a lot of rave reviews, but it was released so early last year that it was unlikely to get any nominations for Oscar Isaac or for Best Picture. But I'm glad that it won for Best Visual Effects.

Alicia Vikander really should have been nominated for "Ex Machina" and won. Her role in "The Danish Girl" doesn't seem like one that demanded the same recognition.
But I also hadn't seen the movie yet. For all I know, her role could have been as integral to the movie's success as Felicity Jones's in "The Theory of Everything." [Patricia Arquette was great in "Boyhood" but Felicity Jones was even better in her movie].

The running joke on Twitter was people asking if everyone was watching just to see if Leo won for best actor.
When Julianne Moore started going over all the roles and reading the names, I was starting to think anyone could win.
But then when the envelope opened, anticipation built up inside me where it was hard to even breathe.

Even she read the name with an almost "well, of course" type of attitude... everyone was expecting it. But I was still pinching myself afterwards to be sure that it was

I'm sorry, I kept thinking about this after he won :P

I guess that's the excuse I need to finally rewatch "Titanic"... I was starting to consider maybe giving it another shot now that I'm old enough to appreciate the movie.
I mean, it's a long-ass movie and the ending is going to kill me all over again, but I would like to at least do a blog post about it.

It's not every day I review a Leonardo DiCaprio film. He does a lot of movies like "The Revenant" (still can't spell it without spellcheck) that either don't interest me or look really hard to watch because it's very dramatic and such.
While he's still got his good looks, he really should do more roles that put it to an advantage.

Again my one nit-pick with him is that his speech ran too long and went too far on a tangent about climate change.
It's an issue, yes, but there are bigger issues...
Many of which we didn't really get to hear during the night because the exit music kept drowning people out. Kat Dennings tweeted her annoyance at this when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was talking about her Oscar-winning short documentary about honor killings and got played off mid-sentence.
It was also great to see Joe Biden introduce Gaga and support her cause and that of "The Hunting Ground."
Hopefully the fact she didn't win the Oscar doesn't nullify this momentum and more gets done. [For starters, #FreeKesha].

Then we finally had Best Picture-- which kinda felt like a formality after Leo won :P
Morgan Freeman introduced all the nominees and it felt like he read the winner rather quickly.

And to me, it was a huge surprise that it went to SPOTLIGHT.

The Golden Globes all but ignored it. Maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press didn't like the "Press" this movie was about... who knows?

What I do know:

1) we didn't really want "Mad Max: Fury Road" to win-- despite the fact it was the only movie we saw of all this
2) I didn't really want "The Revenant" because it looks like a hard movie to get through
3) The Martian didn't win anything
4) "Spotlight" looks like a great movie and, more importantly, it looks like I'd be interested in seeing.

It's not like I intend to see ALL of the movies that've won Oscars over the years, but I'd like to see as many of them as possible. So long as there's something in it for me.
The cast alone is reason enough to see "Spotlight."

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