In the midst of controversy, the 88th Annual Academy Awards showcased a lot of big winners (and some big surprises) on Hollywood’s brightest night.
Host Chris Rock started the night off with some well-expected comments on the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity among the year’s nominees – including some swipes at Jada Pinkett-Smith (who publicly boycotted the ceremony). And unlike most of the comments and contention surrounding the ceremony, he kept things classy while still addressing the issue, both in his monologue and throughout the night.
“Spotlight” and “The Big Short” took home the first awards of the night for Best Original and Adapted Screenplays, respectfully. But more odd than the very short acceptance speeches, the modernization of the telecast (including a news ticker with recipient thanks and fun facts about presenters and winners) was the most striking.
While a sketch including Leslie Jones as the bear from “The Revenant” and Tracy Morgan as “The Danish Girl” was funny, the incredibly awkward appearance of Stacy Dash was anything but. Cue The Weeknd summing up all of our feelings about that…
“Mad Max” took home three trophies in a row for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup/Hairstyling, making the action flick an early heavyweight. Later, it added Best Film Editing, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.
Some special guests showed up to liven up the crowd – including R2-D2, BB-8 and C3-PO (the last of whom decided to make advances towards legendary composer John Williams), Woody and Buzz Lightyear (celebrating 20 years of “Toy Story” and making this writer very emotional), and The Bear from “The Revenant.”
Performances of the night ranged from Sam Smith performing his Bond theme “Writing’s On The Wall,” The Weeknd’s black lace-shrouded “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and a powerful performance from Lady Gaga of “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground” that earned a tearful standing ovation from the crowd (and the Internet). Smith and writer Jimmy Napes later won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Best Supporting Actress was awarded to Alicia Vikander (aka Belle – did you see that gorgeous yellow gown?) for “The Danish Girl,” while Supporting Actor went to Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies” (a big upset over the much-hyped Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”).
Other awards of the night included Best Cinematography for “The Revenant,” Best Visual Effects (“Ex Machina” – a huge upset for “Max Max: Fury Road”), Best Animated Short (“Bear Story”), and Best Animated Feature (“Inside Out”). Best Documentary – Short Subject was awarded to “A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness” and Best Documentary went to “Amy.”
Best Live Action Short Film went to “Stutterer” and “Son of Saul” took home the trophy for Best Foreign Language Film. Best Original Score was awarded to the legendary Ennio Morricone for “The Hateful Eight.”
The top trophies of the night went to Alejandro G. Iñárritu for “The Revenant” (his second Best Director win in a row after last year’s “Birdman”), Brie Larson for Best Actress in “Room,” and Leonardo DiCaprio (FINALLY!) won his first Oscar for “The Revenant,” proving he really is King of the World.
“Spotlight” took home the biggest award of the night, besting the likes of “The Revenant” and “The Big Short” for Best Picture. For journalism!
Phew! We made it. Thoughts? Opinions? Send in your comments – see you next year for some more “Trophy Hunting” action!