Host – Chris Rock – I think he did a good solid job. I like the way he addressed the #OscarsSoWhite issue. By addressing it he gave it weight, but then by joking about it he was able to lighten the mood of the evening and move on. However, I wish he would have stayed away from the issue after his opening monologue. The jokes got old by the end of the night.
Best Picture – Spotlight – I was just happy that The Revenant didn’t win. I was ok with the award going to Spotlight, but would have been even happier with Mad Max: Fury Road. I was not a big fan of The Revenant so I’m afraid that is slanting my opinion against this movie even though I can appreciate it’s epic scope. To me, it was a guy’s movie (my sixteen year old son loved it). I prefer movies with more character development. (I absolutely loved Room.) It is going to be strange to look back at the Best Picture winner for 2015 and see Spotlight. It was good, yes, but Best Picture? I think Mad Max: Fury Road is going to be the movie that stands the test of time. I think we have watched it about 20 times already in my household (again, the sixteen year old son). Every time I watch it, I see something new.
Best Actor – Leonardo Dicaprio – I am happy that Leo finally got his much deserved Oscar, but wish it had not been for his role in The Revenant. This was not his best role. I personally think Jacob Tremblay in Room was the best actor this year. He at least deserved a nomination. I feel like Brie Larson’s win was for both of them. I was happy to see them together in the audience.
Best Actress – Brie Larson – I was happy to see Brie Larson win with her role in Room. She played it perfectly – not too little or too much. She was very believable and relatable. I would have also been happy with Saoirse Ronan winning with her outstanding performance in Brooklyn. Ronan may have actually been the better actress this year, but I am glad that Room received one of the big awards. I think we are going to see Ronan at many Academy Awards in the future. She is only 21 and has already been nominated twice. She may be the next Meryl Streep – or at least Amy Adams.
Best Supporting Actor – Mark Rylance – I was extremely happy to see Mark Rylance win for his role in Bridge of Spies. His performance absolutely captivated me. I knew he would be nominated for an Academy Award as soon as I walked out of the theater. Tom Hardy was also very worthy of this award with his amazing performance in The Revenant. I would not have been unhappy to see him walk away with it. To me, he was the best thing in The Revenant (him and the cinematography). I have not seen Creed to comment on Stallone’s performance.
Best Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander – I have not seen The Danish Girl so I cannot really comment on this one, but she seems worthy. She was the “it” girl this year with her performances in The Danish Girl and Ex Machina The only movies I saw with nominees in this category were Spotlight and The Hateful Eight. I was glad to see Jennifer Jason Leigh nominated. I was curious about which clip from the movie they would show since her character really shines in the last chapter of the movie when she is covered with blood and brain matter and her teeth are broken. Sure enough, they showed a clip from that part of the movie. It must have been a bit shocking to those who had not seen it! I thought Rachel McAdams did a good job in Spotlight, but I was a little surprised to see a nomination come out of it.
Animated Feature – Inside Out – yep.
Cinematography – This was like the battle of the extremes. In the end “winter in the mountains” (The Revenant) beat “summer in the desert” (Mad Max: Fury Road). Both were excellent. I also enjoyed The Hateful Eight’s cinematography – another entry in the “winter in the mountains” category.
Director – Alejandro Inarritu – This may have been the toughest category of the night. All the directors in this category did a great job. I was not a huge fan of The Revenant and I am afraid that is slanting my opinion against Inarritu. I just didn’t care for the movie. I would have liked to have seen George Miller win this for Mad Max: Fury Road. With all the awards Fury Road picked up in other categories, I think this one should have gone to Miller.
Adapted Screenplay – The Big Short – yep.
Original Screenplay – Spotlight – no doubt.
Original score – The Hateful Eight – hands down. Congratulations to Mr. Morricone.
Original song – Writing’s on the Wall (Sam Smith) – I think a lot of Academy members were probably wishing they could change their vote during Lady Gaga’s performance.
And my choice for best dressed – Charlize Theron – absolutely stunning.