Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 Oscars: Mountain Men, Mad Max and Martians

The first campaign everyone cares about has begun.
Oscar nominations are out, and one of the first subjects discussed is a lack in diversity. The acting nominations have kicked off the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, while Alejandro Inarratu could be the first man to win two Best Director awards since 1950.
The Revenant wound up getting the most nominations, threatening Spotlight's position as a front-runner, while a guy named Max made a very big splash.

So, let's look at the categories:

BEST FILM: The Revenant has the most with 12 nominations, although it doesn't include a screenplay spot. It's bound to get a few tech awards, and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio. The fact that he's way out of his comfort zone battling betrayal, nature and a big bear could be enough for him to get the award. Spotlight could upset thanks to being in the Original Screenplay race, and supporting acting noms for Mark Ruffalo and Rachel Nichols. The Martian could also be in the race, except Ridley Scott's not in the Best Director race.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF:  Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the ninth Best Pictire nominee. It brought back this franchise in a big way, and it's about time a blockbuster was at least in the Best Film race. It will still be up for five awards, Jurassic World could have also been on this list if it treated its female characters with more respect through all of the movie. That's why it's shut out.
Carol is also not in the Best Picture race. Some will suggest it's because they don't want Fox News to be angry, and I'm worried that could be the reason

BEST ACTOR:  With 12 nominations behind him for The Revenant, it's gotta be Leo's year. The only threats would be Matt Damon, who also goes through a lot in The Martian, and Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs 
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF:  Steve Carrell was in the race for The Big Short. He was the Angry Stockbroker who couldn't belive how much of a mess Wall Street was ten years ago.

BEST ACTRESS:  Another race that's over before it began. Brie Larson's performance as the kidnapped mother in Room (which just reached Reno) has been praised by everyone, and she is the favorite. If there's any threat, maybe Cate Blanchett for Carol.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF:  Charlize Theron could have been added for Mad Max Fury Road. She was truly the main heroine in this movie

SUPPORTING ACTOR:  This is fairly tricky because a good contender, Idris Elba, is not in the Oscar race. He's in the SAG and BAFTA Awards races, though. The sentimental favorite is Sylvester Stallone for Creed (aka Rocky 5.5), but I'll choose Mark Ruffalo for his role as one of the relentless Boston Globe reporters in Spotlight.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF:  Harrison Ford got Stallone's spot. The return of Han Solo was just as big a deal as the return of Rocky, and he helped make Star Wars: The Force Awakens work.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  The two front-runners got their spots for portraying someone familiar. Jennifer Jason Leigh was an Old West version of Janis Joplin (at least according to someone at Adam Carolla's podcast) facing the hangman's noose in The Hateful 8. She was defiant to her fate, especially in the final act. However, Rooney Mara as an Audrey Hepburn-type who has the devotion of a housewife in Carol may be enough for her to win.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF:  Helen Mirren was in the race for Trumbo. She's great at being queens, but her portrayal as gossip columnist (and self-appointed vaccine against Communism) Hedda Hopper was chilling.

BEST DIRECTOR:  With Ridley Scott out of the race, it will be a three-man race between Inarritu, Adam McKay for The Big Short and Tom McCarthy for Spotlight, .Inarritu has brutal nature and incredible scenery, MacKay has the ability to explain economics better than anyone, and McCarthy has a story that shows reporting at its best. Because I doubt we will have a back-to-back winner, I'll choose McKay. George Miller had the toughest job of all, but since it's sci-fi, it won't be his night.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF:  Ridley Scott, what else?. Still also no Todd Haynes for Carol. Is it because it's too controversial, years after Brokeback Mountain?

ALSO....I wish Amy Schumer sneaked into the Original Screenplay race for Trainwreck, but she couldn't hold off Alex Garland's script for Ex Machina. Spotlight will probably win there. Adapated Screenplay will be the toughest race of all, but I'll choose Drew Goddard because of his Joss Whedon ties.
And where's The Good Dinosaur and Minions in Best Animation? It seems the Oscar voters want to prove they won't limit their choices to Hollywood. That's why Japan (When Marnie Was There) and Brazil (Boy and the World) are in the running. It only makes Inside Out's victory more inevitable.

Best Song is a one-song race. Sam Smith will likely win for the theme from Spectre, What's more surprising is that two of the nominees are documentaries, Racing Extincton and The Hunting Ground.

Straight Outta Compton should have gotten more love, especially for O'Shea Jackson Jr, who played his dad Ice Cube.  Although it gor in the Original Screenplay race,  it was still criticized for what it left out, Same story for Concussion, which may have ruined Will Smith's Best Actor bid.

Of course, my predictions are likely to chance (and I'll say so), but this is a good place to start.

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