By Niharika Ghoshal
Everything at this year’s Oscars was a touch of hard work and simplicity. After all, except when they are splurging on Marvel films, Hollywood likes it simple and subtle. So does the Oscars, a genuinely affecting show celebrating good cinema. This year’s Oscars were no different.
ED gives you the lowdown on the biggest film event of the year.
What made Oscars 2016 a big hit!
- Chris Rock made waves as host, addressing the Academy’s alleged ‘whitwashing’ head on with his characteristic scathing delivery. Oh and hey, Ali G made an appearance too.
- Max Max: Fury Road won big with six prizes on the night and witnessed Valhala! When George Miller’s ferociously enjoyable – and gloriously insane – Mad: Max Fury Road was nominated for Best Picture, film fans everywhere collectively held their breath. Could a loud, proud action movie – in which a one-armed woman drives across the desert with a small band of runaway brides, fleeing from a water-hoarding, boil-infected warlord named Immortan Joe not win such awards? But what was clear, that the Academy actually really, really liked Fury Road. The film took home an impressive six Oscars – for Sound, Sound Mixing, Hair and Makeup, Production, Film Editing and Costume Design. All in all, it was a good day for Max.
- Fellow favourite Brie Larson was tipped to take home the Best Actress award for her role in Room, and didn’t disappoint. If you haven’t, watch her in Short Term 12.
- Leo. Our very own Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his long due statuette for his leading role in The Revenant. And yes, Leo finally got to make his speech but to the delight of me, he took the time to shed light on the urgent issue of Climate Change. Good on you, Jack.
- Emanuel Lubezki nailed it for the third time for his brilliant and mesmerizing cinematography (He previously won for Gravity and Birdman), and Inarritu’s second consecutive for The Revenant as a flawless director. Needless to say, the clips of the both of them receiving their awards were done in single takes.
- Lady Gaga gave a mind blowing performance with ‘Til it happens to you’, a song written for sexual assault survivors. She was introduced on the stage by Vice President Joe Biden himself. What a beautiful message to give to the world!
- Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s low-key film about Boston Globe journalists investigating sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, rightfully ended up with the Best Picture trophy. Saddening really that important films do not get a wide release in India.
- All the talk prior to the Oscars regarding the Best Supporting Actor category was about Sylvester Stallone, whose steely work in Creed made him the clear favourite. There were others who rallied behind Tom Hardy for his best Batman impression in The Revenant. And yet it was Rylance who defied the odds, winning for Bridge of Spies and becoming only the second person to pick up an acting award in a Spielberg movie (the other actor was the great Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln). As a bespectacled Russian spy, he was magnificent: glassy, reticent, and restrained.
- The Oscars aren’t the X Factor and the award for Best Original Song isn’t automatically given to whichever nominee performs best on the night. But audiences were nonetheless struck by the disparity between Sam Smith’s performance of so-so Spectre theme Writing’s On The Wall (the eventual Best Song winner), and Lady Gaga’s spellbinding, moving rendition of Til It Happens To You, her nominated Best Song from The Hunting Ground. Events took an even more interesting turn when Sam Smith said he had read an article in which Ian McKellen (Yes, Gandalf does interviews) said there had never been an openly gay Oscar winner – something which definitely isn’t true, prompting 2009 winner Dustin Lance Black to send a very snippy tweet.
- Having missed out on a nomination for his brilliant film Senna, about the life of Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna, in 2011 because of a technicality, the superlative British documentary maker Asif Kapadia was garlanded at this year’s awards for his piercingly sad tribute to the jazz and pop singer Amy Winehouse. Accepting the gold statuette, Kapadia said: “This film’s all about Amy, showing the world who she really was – not the tabloid persona.” Amy examined how Winehouse’s addictions to alcohol and drugs intensified in fame’s glare, culminating in her death from alcohol poisoning in 2011.
So, in a nutshell, an investigative drama takes best picture (Small solace to All the President’s Men fans), while The Revenant makes do with director, actor and cinematography; Mad Max: Fury Road takes the most trophies. Lady Gaga performs and Sam Smith is all happy and Gay.
And that’s all folks! Do join us for next year.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.