Okay, so Diana talked a bit about the Oscar ceremony in that the speeches were less than great. I agree with her and must mention how Sam Smith failed spectacularly at both singing and giving a speech, but I’ll cut him some slack because standing on that stage having just won an Academy Award cannot be good for your nerves. Lots of people have covered the debacle, so just google your way to it.

No, I want to talk about the upsets and surprises and how I’m totally on board with all the winner, even if I didn’t pick them in our Oscar Pool. Okay, the major surprises were Ex Machina for Visual Effects, Mark Rylance for Actor in a supporting role, Spotlight for Best Picture and maybe “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre for Original Song. I still haven’t seen all the documentaries, so I can’t really way in on any of the wins in those categories. 

EX MACHINAFrist up: little Ex Machina wins for Visual Effects over giants Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This is such a great win. Ex Machina is a fantastic little and very intense film, but at no point are you wondering about Ava and her robotic heritage. The visual effects are so seamless and fits with the movie so well, that you don’t even question the presence of a robot because it feels so natural. On that basis alone it should have won, but when you take the budget of the film into consideration then you’re start being impressed. The visual effects in the other movies is spectacular and often time unnoticeable  – which is what great visual effect should be – but when you look at what Ex Machina achieved with a much lower budget you are astounded. Ex Machina deserved to win and I’m happy that it did.

mark-rylance-oscarsNext up: Mark Rylance won for Actor in a supporting role over old man Stallone who everyone thought would win, and if not then surely either Hot Dad Ruffalo or Odd Ball Bale would get it because they were in powerful stories about the American people. Nope! Mark Rylance’s subtle and powerful Soviet spy took home the award and frankly, I’m relieved. Let’s not give out more pity awards to Stallone, because he made a comeback – which, did he really? He’s been in all those dumb Expendable films and he never was a good actor to begin with. Mark Rylance was a powerful, yet quiet presence in Bridge of Spies and when we left the cinema we were impressed, but then we saw all the other films and we forgot about him. Dumb move.

spotlightAnd now: Spotlight won Best Picture over many films, but most notably The Revenant, The Big Short and maybe Mad Max: Fury Road. I loved The Revenant and bet on it in all of the Oscar Pool I could, but I’m down for Spotlight winning because it was great. The reason why I think it won and it makes sense that it won is because The Academy has been in love with ensemble film for Best Picture a lot these past ten years – well ensemble films with a message. The winners starting from 2005 til now are:

Crash, The Departed, No Country for Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech, The Artist, Argo, 12 Years a Slave and Bridman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

And Spotlight fits with these winners. It is a great ensemble film boasting several people who headline films on their own and its main problem of the film is a hot topic that still affects people. Spotlight is also a film that many people have seen and will see that is not an auteur film. The Revenant while a great film, it is also very much a film that most people wont watch.

Like Diana said while we were discussing it: Sporlight is a film I’d recommend to my parents, but The Revenant is not one I’d ever think they’d watch.

Lastly: Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” is a great bond theme, but it was not the best song nominated and Lady Gaga should have won for “Til It Happens To You”. You might argue differently, but I stand by this as much as I stand by that Boyhood should have won Best Picture last year.

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