Chris Rock did a valiant job as host. The monologue was killer, except for the Stacey Dash bit (it took me a good minute to remember why anyone would think having her do that would be funny, by which point Rock had already moved far beyond it). The Compton cinema bit went on a bit too long but it was pretty funny, and really a good reminder of what the public in general, NOT just black people, think about the Oscars. No one knows most of the films that get nominated for the Oscars. One of my co-workers even said to me on Monday that he had no clue the Oscars were even on this weekend, and when he saw The Revenant recently, he had no idea that it was even nominated.
Oscar watchers have now become an insular, self-selecting group, and I for one am perfectly fine with that.
I'm also perfectly fine with most of the winners from 2015. I was hoping against hope that Todd Haynes's near-perfect Carol wouldn't walk away empty-handed (I predicted it for Costume Design), but I can't get mad at Mad Max's sweep of the tech categories. That fucker is one superbly, often ingeniously, well-crafted film. It's so balls-to-the-wall creative that it's amazing it even got nominated, so I'm thrilled that AMPAS members recognized that great craft can be found anywhere. I was happiest for its wins in Production Design and Editing, the two elements that I thought contributed most to the film's narrative and adrenaline rush.
Weirdly, I correctly predicted ALL of the Short winners this year. That NEVER happens. Of course, my predictions elsewhere kind of sucked the big one. For which I mostly couldn't be happier. I honestly thought they were going to go whole-hog for The Revenant in the techs instead of Mad Max. And though I had Spotlight as my Best Picture prediction for a while, I ended up switching it to The Big Short for some reason. Probably because it won the PGA.
This year's ceremony was actually suspenseful for once, in part because of the seeming three-way race for Best Picture (thank you, guilds!), and in part because the Mad Max sweep really did make it feel early on like that film might be a huge spoiler. But then Lubezki made history by winning his third Best Cinematography Oscar in a row, the acting categories all went as expected (Mark Rylance in Supporting Actor being only a mild surprise, as he was the only person nominated for every single precursor award), and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñàrritu became the third person to win back-to-back directing Oscars.
Wait, so all those Mad Max craftspeople just did everything all on their own then? #Oscars— Dancin Dan on Film (@dancindanonfilm) February 29, 2016
I dunno. I'm commentaried out. I'm fine with the Best Picture winner, the Acting winners are all deserving (if not all for their winning performance), the crafts winners were entirely on point, and the ceremony itself was fun to watch (although it really is a pity about Stacey Dash, Sam Smith, and that fucking thank you scroll).
Coming soon: Oscar's Ballot vs. My Ballot vs. My Oscar Ballot