The 88th Academy Awards… The Winners


So here we go. I did watch the second half of the Oscars after filming last Sunday, but what with being sick and school work and everything else, I haven’t gotten a chance to do my traditional post on the winners until now, a full week later. This is a new all time low, but I’m going to try to move past it. I know everything that won or didn’t win has fully sunk in by now, but if I look back on this next year and don’t have the full three cycles of Oscar posts, well, I don’t know what I’d do. (Plus, I need to figure out how badly I did on my predictions this year.)

As a recap, my previous prediction averages are: 68% (2012), 80% (2013), and 75% (2014).

Animated Feature…


What was nominated: Anomalisa, Boy and the World, Inside Out, Shaun the Sheep Movie, and When Marnie Was There 

Who I’m predicting: Inside Out

And the award goes to: Inside Out 

Of course, I couldn’t be happier that Inside Out won! Am I biased because I didn’t see any of the rest of them, yes, but at least I saw one animated film this year (that’s one more than usual). Inside Out has the distinction (if you can call it that) of making it up higher on my top ten list than the BP winner…   And even though this is out of order for the ceremony, I’m 1/1 so far.  


Foreign Film….


What was nominated: Embrace of the Serpent, Mustang, Son of Saul, Theeb, and A War

Who I’m predicting: Son of Saul

And the award goes to: Son of Saul

I think because I actually saw the animated and doc winners, I used up my “I’m gonna see films that are a little bit different” quota for the year and didn’t see the Foreign Language winner. But my prediction average is up to 2/2, and I’m still not sure if I can handle this film but if it comes back into theaters maybe I’ll check it out.


Original Score….


What was nominated: Bridge of Spies, Carol, The Hateful Eight, Sicario, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who I’m predicting: The Hateful Eight 

And the award goes to: The Hateful Eight 

As much as I am displeased with the fact that The Hateful Eight is an Oscar winner, I can’t really begrudge it this award. Though I can’t say how happy I am that QT didn’t show up to accept the award like at the Globes. Yay for Morricone, Carol has no awards, and I’m up to 3/3 correct.


Original Song….


What was nominated: “Earned It” from 50 Shades of Grey, “Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction, “Simple Song #3” from Youth, “Til it Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground, and “Writings on the Wall” from Spectre

Who I’m predicting: “Till it Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground

And the award goes to: “Writings on the Wall” from Spectre

WHATTT?!?! Sometimes I feel like when guessing what the Academy will do, the uninformed opinion is the best one. I originally wanted to go with the song from Spectre, even though I didn’t like it, because it was the only one I had heard before. I didn’t though, once I saw that Lady Gaga was in the mix. Indiewire’s podcast, which has been guiding me through this awards season, seems to think that because names don’t go on the ballots, only the movie, no one knew who was in involved with The Hunting Ground, and it’s my own damn fault for doing research on this category, because the Academy clearly didn’t. Or they just liked Spectre better…? Doubtful, but I’m now at 75%.


Sound mixing…


What was nominated: Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revanant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I’m predicting: The Revenant  

And the award goes to: Mad Max: Fury Road

I love that Mad Max got all these awards! Even though it means I get a ton of stuff wrong! Like I said in my predictions, I was rooting for Star Wars to get this, but mostly I’m just glad that The Revenant didn’t get it. Even though that means I’m down to a 60%. Unlike the song category though, this isn’t that surprising, because I never know how the sound categories are going to go.


Sound editing….


What was nominated: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Sicario, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who I’m predicting: The Revenant

And the award goes to: Mad Max: Fury Road

Again, anything that gives Mad Max an award is okay by me, even if it means my average goes down. I’m now at a 50%, which is definitely failing (I mean, I was failing in the last category too). Since I still know nothing about sound, I’ll say that the intro montages for the sound categories were awesome…. editing percussively with the sound effect, they were great! The speeches were good too I remember.


Makeup and Hair….


What was nominated: Mad Max: Fury Road, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, and The Revenant

Who I’m predicting: Mad Max: Fury Road

And the award goes to: Mad Max: Fury Road 

What, you mean no one in the Academy appreciated The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared…..? Okay, I guess…. Seriously, though happy about Mad Max. Plus my average climbs back up to a 57%.




What was nominated: Carol, Cinderella, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Revenant 

I’m predicting: Mad Max: Fury Road 

And the award goes to: Mad Max: Fury Road

Yayyyyyy Mad Max!!!!!! Though Carol looses out on its second award, I was prepared. Average up to 63%.


Production Design…


What was nominated: Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and The Revenant 

I’m predicting: Mad Max: Fury Road

And the award goes to: Mad Max: Fury Road 

Again, couldn’t be happier. My thoughts on prod design this year are well on the record (Crimson Peak), but of course the lack of nomination makes it a moot point, so Mad Max was clearly my choice for this category. And I’m now at 6/9 or 67%, so things are looking up.


Visual Effects….


What was nominated: Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens 

I’m predicting: Star Wars: The Force Awakens 

And the award goes to: Ex Machina 

The second WTF moment on this list. I was surprised was Ex Machina was nominated, to say nothing of winning. Indiewire’s podcast theory is that this win, because all the branches can vote and most of them are actors, was for Alicia Vikander. Regardless, it’s a solid, if unexpected choice. Though I’m sad that a) my average is back down to a 60% and b) TFA isn’t going to take home anything tonight. (look at me, writing in present tense as if this didn’t happen last week)


Best Editing….


What was nominated: The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Spotlight, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens 

I’m predicting: The Big Short  

And the award goes to: Mad Max: Fury Road

I’m so glad to get this wrong! Even though it’s wrong for me to badmouth The Big Short, since I haven’t seen it, but I do love Mad Max and that editing was great. [Watch this video– it’s great!!] But what does this mean for The Big Short‘s chances at BP?! (Again, talking like this is happening night of, which it definitely is not) Average is now 7/11 or 64%.




What was nominated: Carol, The Hateful Eight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, and Sicario 

I’m predicting : Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant 

And the award goes to: Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant 

MY FEELINGS ARE SO MIXED!!! I think I’m well on record for how I feel about this category and the cinematography in this film. Yes, it’s essential to the film, yes it’s beautiful, yes Chivo’s amazing, but the cinematography is part of the problem with the movie I feel like. It elevates the film and tries to give it this transcendence that it really doesn’t have. If you’re talking about the cinematography in isolation, that’s not a problem… it’s just that the movie doesn’t back it up so it seems strange to me. Plus this is Chivo’s third win in a row. No question he’s deserving, but other people are too. Like I said off the top, my feelings are so mixed. Poor Roger Deakins, poor Ed Lachman. Carol still has no wins, but at least I got one of the surest wins of the night and my average is up to 8/12 or 67%.


Adapted Screenplay….


What was nominated: The Big Short, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, and Room

I’m predicting: The Big Short 

And the award goes to: The Big Short 

The Big Short gets its widely predicted screenplay win. What does this mean for BP? Who knows…. (well, we all know, but let’s just pretend we don’t). Average is up to 9/13 or 69%.


Original Screenplay…


What was nominated: Bridge of Spies, Ex Machina, Inside Out, Spotlight, and Straight Outta Compton

I’m predicting: Spotlight 

And the award goes to: Spotlight

In a plot twist that surprises no one, Spotlight takes the other screenplay award. Though tbh, how is Spotlight even original, isn’t it based off the article they wrote….? Guess not. Again, I (ironically) wonder what this means for BP because Spotlight and The Big Short are both even now…. What does it all mean??? Average up to 10/14 or 71%.   


We interrupt this program to bring you the results of the awards I don’t know enough about the predict (even though maybe I should have taken a crack at it this year….)!

Documentary Feature: Amy (would have gotten that right!!)

Documentary Short: “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”

Animated Short: “Bear Story” (would have gotten that wrong!!)

Live Action Short: “Stutterer”


Best Supporting Actress…


Who was nominated: Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight, Rooney Mara for Carol, Rachel McAdams for Spotlight, Alica Vikander for The Danish Girl, and Kate Winslett for Steve Jobs

I’m predicting: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl

And the award goes to: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl 

Sigh, Carol still has no awards. It only has a chance to win one more, and it’s not looking good. Everyone’s new favorite person wins for the movie no one wanted her to win for, but okay Academy. Not who I would have gone with, but of course I didn’t see the film. Either way, my prediction average is helped out by this so I am now at 11/15 or 73%.


Best Supporting Actor…

Brooklyn lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) meets with his client Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet agent arrested in the U.S. in DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 PIctures' dramatic thriller BRIDGE OF SPIES, directed by Steven Spielberg.

Who was nominated: Christian Bale for The Big Short, Tom Hardy for The Revenant, Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight, Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies, and Sylvester Stallone for Creed

Who I’m predicting: Sylvester Stallone for Creed

And the award goes to: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies

The third really big surprise of the night. People were predicting Rylance before Creed was even a thing, back when we were still laughing at the trailer and being like “why are they making another Rocky movie ughhhhh.” So it’s a surprise that Sly didn’t come away with this one, but as with another award later, the motto of this season seems to be stick with the early front runner. Rylance wasn’t my favorite of the year and I probably would have picked Sly out of all of these, but I’m not too fussed either way. Average goes down to 11/16 or 69% (and it’s only gonna keep going down from there folks)


Best Actress…


Who was nominated: Cate Blanchett for Carol, Brie Larson for Room, Jennifer Lawrence for Joy, Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years, and Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn

Who I’m predicting: Brie Larson for Room

And the award goes to: Brie Larson for Room

Yay, Carol wins nothing for sure, Brie Larson yay I guess, this award was predictable! My apathy towards this category is strong (Saorise Ronan will get it some other year, I’m sure). Prediction average up to 12/17 or 71% (if I end the night in the 70s I’ll be happy).


Best Actor….


Who was nominated: Bryan Cranston for Trumbo, Matt Damon for The Martian, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant, Micheal Fassbender for Steve Jobs, and Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl 

I’m predicting: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant

And the award goes to: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant

Again, one of the surest predictions of the night pays off. Leo finally has an Oscar! This was definitely one of the most satisying wins of the night because people who were in the room where we were watching it who didn’t know anything about any of the other categories stopped what they were doing to watch Leo finally win. Do I wish it had been for a different film than The Revenant? Yes, but at least he finally has one and we can put that nonsense behind us. Average is up to 13/18 or 72%.


Best Director….


Who was nominated: Adam McKay for The Big Short, George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road, Lenny Abrahamson for Room, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for The Revenant, and Tom McCarthy for Spotlight

Who I’m predicting: George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road

And the award goes to: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for The Revenant

Ugh stop talking you pretentious… winner…. But seriously, I’m not behind this one. Though my review of The Revenant reads kindly enough, the more I think about it the more I realize how empty a film it is. And I know you’re supposed to judge the final work, but who would wanna work with this guy ever? Did you see every time someone from Mad Max won and they all gave Miller just this approving look? And Mad Max didn’t win? Well, it figures if we think about previous years. Inarritu won last year even though TGBH racked up all the technical awards. Wes Anderson still didn’t win for shepherding all of that. But whatever, I’ve decided the technical awards are better anyway (more on that later). Annoying that I decided to go with my heart on this one, which brings my average down to 13/19 or 68% (so much for staying in the 70s).


Best Picture….


What was nominated: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury RoadThe Martian, The Revenant, Room, and Spotlight

What I’m predicting: The Revenant 

And the award goes to: Spotlight 

I remember when 12 Years a Slave won over Gravity, which I predicted correctly unlike this year, and realized that I should have known because 12 Years is much more Oscary in general. Spotlight is definitely more Oscary than The Revenant. Perhaps it really is just better to watch all of the films and go with whichever one fits into the canon of previous BP winners the best. I got seduced by all the other Oscar predictions on the internet, which got confused by the (rightfully) confusing precursor awards. But at the end of the day, though I can’t for sure say this about The Big Short which I still haven’t seen, Spotlight is more Oscary and I should have seen that coming. Because BP could have gone three ways, this wasn’t really a surprise, even though I predicted The Revenant. Regardless of my lack of surprise, my average still goes down to 13/20 or 65%.

Final awards count: Mad Max bags 6 awards, The Revenant comes away with 3, Spotlight takes home 2, Room, The Danish Girl, Son of Saul, Inside Out, The Hateful Eight, Spectre, Bridge of Spies Ex Machina, and The Big Short have one, and Brooklyn, Creed, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian, and Carol are all left empty-handed.

This is my worst year ever (though only three percentage points worse than 2012 at 68%); it’s a good thing I didn’t have money on this. If there are any lessons to be learned from this year they are a) don’t mess with the early front runner and b) don’t expect the Academy to be informed on who actually performs Original Song. I have no idea what lesson there is to be learned from the upset in the visual effects category.

I mentioned something about the technical categories earlier, and I just wanted to (more reasonably and briefly) recount a rant I made to my friend during the Oscar ceremony about how no one appreciates the technical awards. I know the Oscars being televised means they have to find a wider audience and chase ratings, and I’m glad it’s televised because I do want to see it even if watching it is always a Herculean effort to get through the four hours. They opened up BP nominations to ten films in the hopes that more mainstream films would get nominated and people would be more interested in watching the Oscars (that’s a discussion for another day). Every year it seems there are a million articles on the internet and a million opinions on how to make the ceremony more watchable for the average person. While I support that effort because I too, like many people, find the ceremony way too long and boring in spots, I disagree about some of the thinking behind it.

This all works on the assumption that the Oscars’ purpose is to entertain the average television viewer. That is one hundred percent false. The Oscars do not exist to have anything to do with the public, they’re supposed to be for the movie industry itself. That’s not to say that Hollywood are a bunch of out of touch elitists, but literally, that’s what the Oscars are. They’re supposed to be about the movies. That’s why it makes me sad when the orchestra plays people off when their speeches aren’t done. They are the ones winning the award, why shouldn’t they be allowed to thank who they want to thank and say what they want to say? If you don’t like what they are saying, and I’ll be the first to admit to heckling and criticizing speeches, than don’t listen to them. Obviously letting speeches go on for way too long is not desirable, but playing people off when they’ve barely started speaking always rubs me the wrong way.

And now to other most annoying thing about the annual “how to improve the Oscar ceremony” conversation: the suggestion that nobody cares about the technical awards and that they should be separated from “the real awards” meaning actors. I understand that your average regular television viewer has no idea the difference between sound mixing and sound editing and couldn’t care less who wins it, but I do! I care a lot about the technical awards, not just because that’s where my own interests lie, but because these people contribute to the films they work on just like the actors do. It’s not fair that just because the public knows who actors are that they are valued more. I mean, I get valuing them more I guess, because you literally wouldn’t have a movie without them, but guess what, you wouldn’t have a movie without a DP or a costume designer or a boom operator or hell, catering, which they don’t give awards for (not saying they should, for the record, just saying that it takes a lot of people the general public is not aware of to make a movie and that these people should be valued on some level) but the point is the technical awards important, not just to people like me who get into movies more than most people, but to the movies themselves and of course, to the people nominated for and winning the awards.

I know they already do split the ceremonies, that they do a recap of the honorary oscars and the awards to companies for technological advancements in filmmaking in separate ceremonies already. I suppose it makes sense to argue that if people don’t want to sit through all the awards they don’t understand or care about they shouldn’t have to, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important or meaningful. If they ever do end up splitting the awards, I swear to God, I’ll watch the technical ceremony on youtube or wherever they put it (because you can bet it won’t be on TV for very long) and skip the “real” ceremony. But long story short, PSA: Just because you can’t see the people behind the camera, doesn’t mean they’re not important. (I know I’m kind of preaching to the choir on this, but it rankles me every year and I just had to rant about it.)

But anyway, that was the Oscars. Once again, I had a pretty sorry BP month, and I didn’t even get to my BP Blindspot, Wings. I swear I’m gonna get to that one every year and I never do. Anyway, quick recap of what I did get to. The good: The Best Years of Our Lives, quite surprisingly involving with great deep focus cinematography by Gregg Tolland, The Bridge on the River Kwai, nicely rewarding on a rewatch with many similarities to my favorite film Lawrence of Arabia, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Chicago, both of which I reinforced my positive opinions of even though some people have second guessed their BP wins. The bad: The Greatest Show on Earth, definitely one of the worst BP winners; it should have been Singin’ in the Rain that year for sure. The ugly: Chariots of Fire and You Can’t Take It With You. They were both horribly boring, and You Can’t Take It With You has the extra ugliness of being directed by Frank Capra (I love his other films, why did this have to be the winner?) and having a nonsensical message to go with it. Wish I could get behind that one. Well, enough Oscar talk until next year, and sorry for the huge delay in putting up this post.

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