The Academy Awards are the highlight of every year for filmmakers, actors, composers and everyone who works in the film industry. Or at least they should be.
In recent years The Academy has been accused of short-sightedness and not being as socially aware as they could be and only being aware when the media tells them to. There are a majority of factors that contribute to this lack of change for the Academy, far too many for me to go through here so I’m simply going to predict who I think will win, who I want to win and who I think should’ve been nominated.
Best supporting actor
Christian Bale – The Big Short
Tom Hardy – The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
To think anyone other than Rylance will win is madness. The man is considered by many to be the greatest living actor full stop. His film career is limited but his stage career is legendary in every sense of the word. It’s no secret Spielberg has been trying to work with Rylance for over 30 years and there’s a reason for it. As a SUPPORTING character he does just that, both on screen and in the script his character aids the lead (Tom Hanks) in every way he can.
Overall I think the nominations are actually very good, however I would replace Stallone with Oscar Isaac for his performance in Ex Machina (not the first time that film comes up…) and Hardy with Seth Rogen for Steve Jobs, who actually should win this catagory. Sorry Mr Rylance but Wozniak created the home computer, you failed at your only job and got caught.
Best supporting actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara – Carol
Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
This, in many ways, is always the hardest category to call. Supporting female roles are everywhere and at this moment in time there are so many exciting actresses working and delivering in every movie they’re in.
For the same reason Seth Rogen should be nominated in the above category Winslet should win here. Joanna Hoffman is the emotional centre of Steve Jobs for 80% of the film and compliments the other performers by working with them and being a cast member instead of trying to hard and pulling focus from the story. Leigh is at fault of that, chewing every piece of scenery she can sink her broken teeth into. The other three are fantastic actresses and deserve to be here. In an ideal world Phyllis Smith should be here for her performance as Sadness in Inside Out but we’ll talk more about that film later.
Lenny Abrahamson – Room
Alejandro G Inarritu – The Revenant
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
For best director you cannot just pick the best film because there’s so much more to it than that. You must consider every decision he had to have made in the process; lighting, music, actors, his choices for their performances, editing and the final say, interpretation of story (if real and/or based on source material).
After asking yourself all of these questions the only logical choice is George Miller. All these directors are brilliant and all these films are great (except one…) but Mad Max struck a chord with so many people for so many people for reasons they couldn’t explain. I think because it’s visual storytelling is far superior to anything released this year.
Ridley Scott should be here for The Martian, Alax Garland for Ex Machina, Spielberg for Bridge of Spies.
Directors had a really good year actually, better than actors on the whole I think.
Best adapted screenplay
The Big Short
Having read the Andy Weir novel I might be slightly biased however I feel it’s relatively easy for a screenwriter to take a drama with dark themes and transfer the same tone onto the screen. With comedies or at the very least a drama with comedic elements it’s much more difficult. Drew Goddard had the novel to contend with and then the fact that 70-80% of this movie is scientific exposition and it’s a miracle that people were able to stay invested when the counting of potatoes and the formulas and equations required to make more is one of the more riveting scenes of the movie. Well done sir.
Steve Jobs is the obvious snub here. Loosely based on a memoir of Jobs, Aaron Sorkin made one of the most brilliantly crafted screenplays I have ever seen and to not see it here is an abomination.
Best original screenplay
Bridge of Spies
Straight Outta Compton
It can only be Inside Out, the clue is in the category nomination. None of these are ‘original’.
Bridge of Spies: based on real events and follows the conventions of every film of this nature.
Ex Machina: Brilliant but borrowed story/thematic elements from a score of sci-fi movies.
Spotlight: Based on real events.
Straight Outta Compton: Based on real events.
Inside Out is so original by every definition of the word. I’ve talked about this film at length so many times I might save it for a later rant after the awards ceremony itself but needless to say Inside Out deserves all the praise it gets and all the praise it ISN’T GETTING.
Best animated film
Boy and the World
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There
Last year there was genuine competition in this category with Big Hero 6, Boxtrolls, Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Song of the Sea and of course the infamous snub of The Lego Movie.
Hopefully this is an open and shut case this year. Inside Out is brilliant, I’m almost getting tired of me saying it, and I can’t wait to see Anomalisa when it finally arrives in the UK in a couple months.
Best original score
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I said in my review it was brilliant and hopefully the Academy agrees with me. I’m finally not alone with my comments about Star Wars, Chris Stuckmann himself agrees that the score is mediocre and only has one good new tune (Rey’s Theme).
(he’s going to say it again)
Why isn’t Inside Out nominated here. Michael Giacchino knocked it out of the park with Inside Out.
In reality, the real casualty is not having Daniel Pemberton’s amazing score for Steve Jobs, mixing three hugely different recording and writing techniques along with multiple different styles to accompany the various shits in tone, character development and scene setting that his score did so so well.
Best visual effects
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
I can’t pick this one. It could be any of them (except The Revenant).
I would like to see Ex Machina win purely for the reason that you never went ‘Oh my lord those special effects are incredible’ apart from the first time you see Ava. After that you just take her for what she is.
Mad Max is a visual treat and incredibly easy to watch and enjoyable, the same for Star Wars but personally for me it’s Ex Machina.
There are so many awards the Acadamy awards incl. Hair and Make Up, Cinematography, Editing etc. If you want me to make a reaction to every Oscar given out I’d be more than happy too. If you want that leave a comment below or hit me up on twitter @jamesiscool13.
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for here are Best Actor, Actress and Film.
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl
Annoyingly, DiCaprio looks on course to win his first Academy Award. To be clear, I am not saying he doesn’t deserve one; Aviator, Wolf of Wall Street, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Catch Me If You Can. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of our generation. In this film he lies down a lot and eats a fish. Saying he’s the best actor because he spent a night in a horse carcass means nothing if the performance itself is flawed, not believable or engaging and doesn’t give the actor the tools to use his best abilities which in his case is dialogue. YOU CAN’T SAY MUCH WHEN YOU SPEND 30-40 MINUTES HALF DEAD MAKING WEIRD FACIAL EXPRESIONS AT TOM HARDY. Literally every part of the Revenant is better than DiCaprio. Every actor especially Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson, the cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki, direction and costume design.
So no I don’t think Leo should win let alone nominated (#floof).
Fassbender would win this hands down if it was down to me. The man became Steve Jobs, I don’t mean that in a metaphorical sense he literally became the man. He was referred to as Steve on set, was constantly making suggestions to Boyle and Sorkin about what he should be doing and in a recent interview Danny Boyle himself stated that ‘during filming Michael never made a mistake or messed up his lines, he was a director’s dream during the weeks we had together’. Need any more?
Domhnall Gleeson has been in so many films this past year but Ex Machina was what made people stand to attention and he definitely should be here for that performance. Such a multi-layered character played perfectly alongside Oscar Isaac.
Cate Blanchett – Carol
Brie Larson – Room
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
I’m frankly astonished to see Charlotte Rampling here, not because I didn’t like 45 Years I’m just surprised a film like that is getting this kind of recognition, but believe me I’m so happy for her and the film as it’s really very touching.
I saw Room two days ago and this could become an instant classic I feel has always been here and a vast majority of that is down to the brilliance of Brie Larson. The last time I audibly said wow to a female performance was when my parents showed me Sophie’s Choice with Meryl Streep. Larson transcends her competitors and will be remembered forever for this performance. Bravo.
Jennifer Lawrence is here out of habit. Joy is not as good as everyone says. She carries the movie and it’s success is built on her shoulders and that should be applauded that such a young actress can already be expected to carry this kind of movie.
Having said that, to not consider Alicia Vikander for Ex Machina is an oversight of huge proportions. The movie does not work without her, her training in ballet allowed her movements to be just beyond the realm of normal people while remaining achievable and the mindset of something artificial knowing this and yet being able to confuse someone human that the emotions she feels are real was spellbinding. Not as amazing as Brie Larson but still great.
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
I think it’s clear to everyone that I don’t like The Revenant, maybe because it was built up as something to marvel and mark as a historical moment in film. By contrast Birdman was given the same treatment and that is my 2nd favourite film of all time. The Revenant will win best film because it ticks the boxes and has a media following.
Annoyingly that’s all you have to do however I wish with every fibre of my body that the Academy is playing a joke on all of us and Mad Max will win best film. As I said in my top ten list, it is literally a perfect movie. It’s the only movie here you can watch on mute and you know are given as much information as you would be normally, that is impossible in modern cinema to have something so brilliantly simple done at the highest level of quality.
Wait aren’t we forgetting something?
I was outraged when I read the nominees list earlier today and for all our sakes I will not rant here but I will say I’m not angry anymore I’m just disappointed in you Oscars. You had the chance to award the best picture Oscar to an animated film and everyone would’ve been more than fine with it, we understood with Toy Story 3 but that was nominated at least. Do you realise the ramifications that win would’ve had? Children seeing that and potentially becoming animators or artists and be more interested in film. Not to mention the message it sends to other award ceremonies, animated films finally getting the recognition they so richly deserve.
People in years to come will look back at 2015 and we have to sit here and go “The best film we made this year was something that was hard to understand without subtitles, it’s best scene involved the brutal attack of a beloved movie star by an adult bear and make everyone who watched it confused at the ending where he let’s the man who killed his son and left him for dead go because ‘it’s not his life to take’ and then sees him being killed literally seconds later by a random tribe of Native Americans for no reason that have something to do with the story but nothing to do with these characters in particular”.
Alternatively we could go “here’s a film that’s visually appealing, involves characters you root for and understand why they’re the focus, has an entertaining ensemble with a great score and anyone of any age can enjoy”. That can describe both Mad Max and Inside Out.
I’m done with the Oscars for now. Expect something even longer after the actual awards. If we’re both lucky I’ll record my reactions and just release a video instead.