It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Yes, it’s that time again. And, as promised, I will be watching from my very own brand new house! I even have a few guests coming over. I’m hoping to start a tradition, but who knows where I’ll be this time next year?
2016 marks an Oscar rarity for me, in that I’ve seen nearly all the Best Picture nominees (Sorry, Brooklyn. I just…can’t). So, before I get into who’s predicting what tonight, allow me to vainly list my reactions to all 8 (er…7). This helps, right? If you haven’t seen them? My opinions matter!
The Big Short
SPOILER ALERT: This is my pick for Best Picture.
It’s funny, it’s smart and it’s important. Michael Lewis, the author of the book The Big Short is based on has crafted a number of accessible Numbers=Drama tales (see also: Flash Boys, Liar’s Poker, Moneyball) and is quickly emerging as one of my favorite non-fiction writers (Mary Roach still holds the top spot). Of all the films on the list, this is one of the only ones that I think people need to watch.
Best Line: “I have a feeling in a few years people are going to be doing what they always do when the economy tanks. They will be blaming immigrants and poor people.”
Considering the rise of King Trump…this movie is prophetic.
Bridge of Spies
My gut reaction? This movie is kinda forgettable.
As in, I don’t really have much to say about it. And, considering I worked in the Spy Exhibit in Times Square and stood next to the flight suit of Francis Gary Powers for hours at a time, that’s saying something. It was an entertaining film. But not terribly thought provoking. Did it have anything to say about the multiple scandals our CIA and NSA are undergoing? Not particularly. Unless…it was meant to make me feel more patriotic towards the spies. Hostage negotiation and Tom Hanks worked much better in Captain Phillips.
Best Line: “This war does not for the moment involve men at arms; it involves information.”
Didn’t see it. Probably won’t. Doesn’t have a high heel’s chance in the Outback of winning.
Mad Max: Fury Road
This was the first Best Picture nominee that I saw and that was months ago. While it’s not going to change hearts or minds on any Big Important Issue, it definitely leaves an impact. It’s a finely made movie, one that takes on a level of spectacle the movies were always meant to adopt…it takes us to another world. I literally left the theater telling my friend, “I feel like I have tetanus now.” It’s a dirty, pokey movie and a nice little thrill ride.
Best Line: “Do not, my friends, become addicted to water. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence!”
I secretly wish this would win Best Picture (it won’t). I was enraptured with every second of this movie. Is it believable? Hell no. But the journey with Matt Damon’s astronaut Mark Watney is way more fun than the shit show DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass puts us through (more on that later). Watney is funny and resilient and a hell of a good time. Knowing that this was the author’s first novel only further impresses me with the story. I hope he writes more.
Best Line: “They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially colonized it. So, technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!”
I’m angry, at a psycho-physiological level at how many accolades this movie is receiving. It’s ridiculous. I looked into things and, yes, there was indeed a furtrapper named Hugh Glass that apparently went through all this shit. But, what, I’m just supposed to take his word for it? When he went over the cliff on the horse and lived to tell the tale (and then climbed inside the horse for the night!), I checked out of the movie completely. This shit is a Tall Tale, in the vein of Paul Bunyan and would have been a much better movie if it’d been directed by the Coen Bros.
Best Line: “AAGHH…Uuuuhhh.”
Remember when I read this book last year? As depressing as all that was, I have to say I found the movie a little uplifting. Maybe it’s the kid. Yeah, it probably is. Brie Larson gave a devastating performance and deserves the Oscar she will inevitably win for this. Not sure I’d ever want to watch it again, though.
Best Line: “It can’t really be room if door’s open.”
When I say that this movie is Erin Brockovich vs. The Catholic Church, I mean that in a good way. The ensemble of actors here is crackling, the narrative thread almost makes a moviegoer feel like an investigative journalist. A screenplay Oscar well won. The scene when they break out the Catholic directories to cross-reference all the “sick leaves”? I thought to myself, “God, that sounds like fun!” But, then again, there’s nothing I love more than a tedious task that could lead to a big surprise. This one I would watch again. I’m not sure the public needs to see it in the way they should The Big Short, but it’s definitely a thought-provoker.
Best Line: “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse them.”
Ok, ok, so now that I’ve self-importantly spouted off my armchair reviews…who’s going to win?
Well, (no doubt inspired by Spotlight), I cross-referenced several sources for predictions and have made the following matrix for your convenience. However, I must warn you: there aren’t many surprises. Most critics are agreeing on most of the races. Best Picture and the Dreaded Sound Awards (always my downfall!) are the only ones that Those In the Know seem to be at odds over. So, if you want to keep an element of surprise in your predictions…maybe best to skip this part.
|Variety||New Yorker||538 Blog|
|The Big Short||The Big Short||The Revenant||The Revenant|
|Brie Larson||Brie Larson||Brie Larson||Brie Larson|
|Best Supporting Actor||Stallone||Stallone||Stallone||Stallone|
|Best Supporting Actress||Vikander||Vikander||Vikander||Vikander|
|The Big Short||The Big Short||The Big Short||The Big Short|
|Inside Out||Inside Out||Inside Out||Inside Out|
|Best Cinematography||The Revenant||The Revenant||The Revenant||The Revenant|
|Carol||Mad Max||Carol||Mad Max|
|Mad Max||Mad Max||Mad Max||Mad Max|
|Mad Max||Mad Max||Mad Max||Mad Max|
|Best Visual FX
|Mad Max||The Revenant||Mad Max||The Force Awakens|
|Best Prod Design
|Mad Max||Mad Max||The Martian||Mad Max|
|Best Sound Edit
|Mad Max||The Revenant||The Force Awakens||The Revenant|
|Best Sound Mix
|Mad Max||The Revenant||The Revenant||The Revenant|
|Hateful 8||Hateful 8||Hateful 8||Hateful 8|
|Best Doc. Feature
|Best Doc. Short
|A Girl in the River||Claude Lanzmann||A Girl in the River||—|
|Best Live Short
|World of Tomorrow||Bear Story||Sanjay’s Super Team||—|
|Best Foreign Film
|Son of Saul||Son of Saul||Mustang||Son of Saul|
As for my picks? Here goes:
Best Picture: The Big Short. For all the reasons listed above and so many more (including Selena Gomez).
Best Actor: Miichael Fassbender.
Nah, I’m just messing with you! Leo. 538 Blog gave him 1 to 100 odds. There’s not a more sure thing in any of the other races.
Best Actress: Brie Larson. She’s also a near-given.
Best Supporting Actor: Stallone
Best Supporting Actress: Vikander (they all agree, so I guess I have to go with it!)
Best Director: George Miller, Mad Max. Because Fuck ’em, I’m going rogue.
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out (I told you there are very few surprises)
Best Cinematography: The Revenant (The fogging up the camera lens scene was kinda nice)
Best Costume: Carol
Best Makeup/Hair: Mad Max (So. Dirty.)
Best Editing: Mad Max
Best Visual FX: Mad Max
Best Design: Mad Max
Best Sound Editing: I’ll get back to you
Best Sound Mixing: Same
Best Score: The Hateful 8
Best Song: That awful Lady Gaga song. But thank God no one’s showing any love to Fifty Shades!
Best Documentary: Amy
Best Doc. Short: A Girl in the River (though I really want to see Body Team 12)
Best Live Short: Stutterer?
Best Animated Short: Sanjay’s Super Team (This will likely be another surprise)
Best Foreign Film: Son of Saul
But no matter what happens….Oscars will STILL be #SOWHITE! Here’s to hoping for more diversity next year. And for an eventful telecast!