People were wondering what to expect from the #OscarSoWhite evening and apparently viewership was down significantly. Anger, frustration and controversy did not ruin the evening, but the issue was not downplayed either. The lack of diversity was addressed meaningfully, tastefully and most of the time with humour. I do hope that when we look back in 10-15 years time, the 88th Annual Academy awards will be perceived as the pivotal year, the year that marked meaningful change to diversify the film industry, the Academy Awards, and end the era of white privilege.
Off my soapbox now…
How did I make out in the annual Oscar Pool? For the second year in a row, I landed in fourth place. Not bad since my votes are far from strategic. Am I disappointed that George Miller did not win Best Director? Absolutely. He was robbed. Should Mad Max: Fury Road have won Best Picture too? Probably, but you have to share the love. And if love is to be shared, I am glad the good people of Spotlight were recognized for bringing this very important story to the screen.
Other disappointments were Best Supporting Actor and Best Song. Sly should have won. Quite frankly, I am wondering if the voters even watched Creed, because if they had, Michael B. Jordan surely would have been nominated. “The Writing’s on the Wall” could have been a great song, but sadly it is not. Voters no doubt realized their terrible mistake after Lady Gaga’s gut wrenching performance.
Enough about the disappointments, what was memorable? Most memorable moments for me were….
When Chris Rock made all the white people cringe-laugh with his intro, and especially when he said that years ago they didn’t have time to be bothered with the Academy because “we had real things to protest” “when your grandmother is swinging from a tree who cares about best documentary short?”
When Stacy Dash came on stage and everyone went like “What?”
When everyone was adjusting themselves in their seats to stand up for Sylvester Stallone’s standing ovation and Patricia Arquette announced Mark Rylance as the winner.
When Lady Gaga blew it out of the Dolby Theatre with her emotional performance of “‘Til It Happens to You” and the young survivors of violence appeared on stage, wounded and united.
When Brie Larson hugged these same survivors as they left the stage after Gaga’s performance.
The hilarious parody video that placed Whoopi Goldberg in Joy, Leslie Jones as the bear mauling Leo in The Revenant, Tracy Morgan as The Danish Girl and Chris Rock on Mars in The Martian.
When Mad Max cleared through all of the technical awards, but particularly when Jenny Beavan marched proudly, in her Mad Max-esq crystal studded leather jacket, from the back of the theatre to receive her well deserved Oscar for Costume Design and the people stared.
When Chris Rock helped the Girl Guides sell $65,000 worth of cookies to the starving stars.
When Brie Larson gave her lovely acceptance speech for her brilliant performance in Lenny Abrahamson’s beautiful Room and she thanked the Toronto International Film Festival.
When Leo got a standing ovation for his six-times-the-charm Academy Award and spoke on behalf of the planet, humanity and people’s children’s and their children’s children, because will probably won’t have any.
When Spotlight was named as Best Picture and some of the nicest people in Hollywood got up on stage, because they were in the movie and the movie was important.
And finally, at the very end when they played “Fight The Power” loudly over the PA system.
Let’s hope the 89th Annual Academy Awards continue to make inroads that make for a more inclusive and rewarding culture of movie making.