THE WINNERS: Jim Schembri’s wrap of the 2016 Oscars
IN A NUTSHELL…
Any complaints that African Americans have of being way under-represented at the Oscars will now surely be dwarfed by complaints from A-list American filmmakers that Australians are way over-represented at the Oscars.
The six awards taken out by Mad Max: Fury Road – an astonishing achievement by any measure and setting a new record for an Aussie film – merely restates what has been obvious for at least two decades now, that Australia punches well above its weight come Oscar time.
Max’s wins were restricted to production categories, though, thus making its over-sized haul more palatable, with the major awards being sprinkled amongst the other major nominees.
You really got the sense this year that everybody got a nice bite out of the Oscar pie.
Though The Revenant scored best director and best actor, how nice it was to see Spotlight take best film, Room take best actress, Danish Girl take best supporting actress, The Big Short get best adapted screenplay and Bridge of Spies get best supporting actor. A nice, even spread.
Even Brooklyn, which ended up winning nothing, would be grateful for all the publicity Oscar bestowed upon it.
If you missed the ceremony, don’t fret: here’s all you need to know about what went down…
Most Awkward Moment: Chris Rock’s opening monologue.
Trying hard to make serio-comic points about the lack of African-American acting nominees, Rock’s routine was laugh-light and laboured.
Incorporating the civil rights movement and black people being shot by white cops, Rock gagged about the Oscars being the ‘White People’s Choice Awards’ and how in the 1960s black people were too busy being raped and lynched to worry about best cinematography.
His quip about Hollywood being ‘sorority racist’ went down like a brick in a punchbowl. For someone who has so brilliantly and bravely addressed race in his comedy, Rock fell far short of his own standard.
Best Thank You: From Adam McKay (accepting best adapted screenplay) to Paramount for taking a risk on a film about ‘financial esoteria’; he also whipped out the night’s first political barb with his cute reference to Donald Trump as a ‘weirdo billionaire’.
Best Telecast Innovation #1: To shorten speeches, a list of thank yous from the winners raced across the bottom of the screen as they ran up to the podium. There were also neat captions listing the main credits of the presenters.
Best Telecast Innovation #2: Enforcing the play-off music rule without mercy, often cutting into speeches and across those winners wanting to get that one last word in.
Best Telecast Innovation #3: Tracking shots on the stage with the presenters. About time.
Best Outfit: Cate Blanchett’s form-fitting flowery light-blue creation.
Chris Rock’s Best Gag: Rock landed a decent point when he introduced presenter Michael B Jordan as a ‘shoulda been nominee’ for Creed. If the best film category can go as high as 10 nominees, why not the acting categories also?
Black Rage Highlight: Angela Bassett’s Black History Month Minute tribute to Jack Black.
Black Rage Lowlight: A montage of best film nominees featured a walk-on from Whoopi Goldberg as a janitor berating Jennifer Lawrence in Joy over her mop and Chris Rock as the abandoned astronaut in The Martian with Jeff Daniels and Kristen Wiig saying how $2500 is too much to spend on saving a black astronaut.
Most Glaring Surrender to Political Correctness: Sarah Silverman, the usually controversial firebrand, totally backed away from the #OscarSoWhite controversy to deliver a seemingly endless series of flat jokes about the sex life of James Bond. Given her searing legacy of comic impropriety it was a huge opportunity missed.
Just Doing My Job Award: J.K. Simmons. He came out, read his autocue, announced the winner, walked off. So did most others, but nobody did it straighter.
Talking Over the Outro Music Award: Jenny Beavan’s last-minute note that Fury Road could be a look into what our future might look like if we keep polluting the earth. But she’s later be trumped.
The Obvious Moment Mad Max’s Hot Streak Was Over: When The Revenant won best cinematography.
Funniest Cutaway Visual Gag: The applauding bear from The Revenant.
F-bomb Award: Winning best sound editing for Mad Max: Fury Road, sound editor Mark Mangini dropped The Big One just as he took to the stage.
Non Human Comedy Highlight: The Minions presenting best animated short.
Most Tediously Predictable Winner: The gong for Pixar’s Inside Out suggests voters simply regard anything from the studio as the default winner. Wake up, voters.
Most Welcome Shock of the Night: Comedian Kevin Hart’s surprisingly concise, poignant call for positivity to overcome the negativity roused by the diversity issue.
Best Accessorising: Kate Winslet and her huge black-rimmed glasses. Call it hot librarian chic.
Most Moving Act of Selflessness: Winner Mark Rylance’s eloquent shout out to his fellow nominees, saying he doesn’t know how his work could be separated from their performances. A truly gracious winner.
Funniest Speech: Louis CK’s intro to Best Documentary Short, stating how it’s his favourite category because, unlike all the other nominees, the award will go to someone poor who really needs it and who stands no chance of making any money from it.
The Inevitable ‘We Get It, We Get It’ Moment: The speech by Oscars president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announcing impending changes to the awards.
Biggest Gulps During the In Memorium Montage: Christopher Lee; Maureen O’Hara; Alan Rickman; Douglas Slocombe; James Horner; Leonard Nimoy; David Bowie.
Most Expensive Laugh of the Night: Chris Rock’s extended Girl Scout Cookie Drive sketch, which raised $65,243. (Surely, the bit would have been much funnier if he’d gotten angry over how small the amount was.)
Most Unexpected Political Cameo: Vice President Joe Biden’s rousing call to stop rape and sexual assault on college campuses.
Most Moving Musical Performance of the Night: A largely unadorned Lady Gaga singing Till It Happens to You from The Hunting Ground.
Most Deserved Standing Ovation: For the 87 year-old Hateful Eight composer Ennio Morricone as he went up to collect his first non-honorary Oscar.
Most Cringeworthy ‘Remember I Used to be Funny’ Moment: Sacha Baron Cohen pulling out Ali G. Oh, man. Where’s Borat when you need him?
Best Speech: Accepting best director for The Revenant, Alejandro G Inarritu was the one winner who was able to triumph over the play-off music. Lifting a key line from the film, he made a powerful call for people to look beyond the colour of their skin. It turned out to be the most cogent, heartfelt and tempered comment on the whole diversity issue.
The big ‘did he really have to?’ Award Winning best actor, Leonardo DiCaprio’s call to address climate change was touching, but given he doesn’t exactly lack platforms or media access did he have to staple it on to an otherwise lovely tribute to his filmmaking partners?
Best Unintended Closing Image: Michael Keaton chomping into one of Chris Rock’s Girl Scout cookies. On centre stage with his fellow best film winners for Spotlight, he was also on stage last year when Birdman won.
Stupidest Closing Music: As the closing credits rolled up Fight the Power by Public Enemy blared out, a perfect example of labouring a point to the limits of patience. As many people had said throughout the ceremony, we all understand the importance of the issue and of change. Now, let’s move on.
Mad Max: Fury Road was a dominant force.
THE COMPLETE WINNERS LIST
BEST FILM – Spotlight
BEST DIRECTOR – Alejandro G Inarritu, The Revenant
BEST ACTOR – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
BEST ACTRESS – Brie Larson, Room
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Spotlight
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – The Big Short
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
BEST COSTUME DESIGN – Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – Mad Max: Fury Road
BEST MAKE-UP AND HAIRSTYLING – Mad Max: Fury Road
BEST EDITING – Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
BEST SOUND EDITING – Mad Max: Fury Road, Mark Mangini, David White
BEST SOUND MIXING – Mad Max: Fury Road
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – Ex Machina
BEST ANIMATED SHORT – The Bear
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – Inside Out
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – A Girl in the River
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – Amy
HONORARY AWARDS – Gena Rowlands; Debbie Reynolds; Spike Lee
BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM – Stutterer
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – Son of Saul
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – Writing’s on the Wall, Spectre