The Oscars: the good, the bad and the ugly


In my opinion of course….

The good:

  • Spotlight winning Best Picture. It gets called boring but what it is actually doing is getting you to progressively rediscover the horror of clerical sexual abuse. It treats the subject like Jaws does the shark. It’s only at the end you see the full scale of the monster and that makes it all the more terrifying.
  • Brie Larson winning Best Actress. Blanchet and Ronan were great but Larson was better.
  • Mark Rylance winning Best Supporting Actor. There was a head of steam behind Stallone and he undoubtedly did good work in Creed. But Rylance was in another class – geddit? It’s a boxing metaphor and Creed is ….fine I’ll stop – and displays an altogether different level of craft. Stallone is playing an iconic character who’s been on screen for decades and gets to act out a lot of big schlocky set pieces of By contrast, Rylance is basically playing a cipher yet still radiates sadness and courage.
  • Inside Out winning Best Animated Feature. Deserved to win this (and best picture but there you go).
  • Amy for Best Documentary.

The bad:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio winning Best Picture. It was his turn apparently. Whatever the fuck that means. The praise for his performance tends to major on the ordeal it was to deliver not on the quality of the result, which is a bit one note. Ironically, in attempting to make amends for overlooking DiCaprio’s previous work in favour of apparently inferior efforts, the Academy has overlooked Fassbender in favour of an inferior performance from DiCaprio.
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu as Best Director. Has the guy found a magic lamp and wished to win best director and best picture every time he makes a film. At least Birdman was on the right side of the good/bad line – which couldn’t be said of Boyhood – but the Revanant was a drag.
  • Oh and continuing the anti-Revanant theme, I’d have given cinematography to Sicario. The visuals were clearly the Revanant’s strong suit but those in Sicario were something else.
  • The Big Short winning Best Adapted Screenplay is particularly unjust as the film’s main problem was that too little was done to adapt it from page to screen. The script for the Martian was a masterpiece and should have won.

The ugly:

  • The lack of diversity, of course.
  • Sam Smith’s the Writing on the Wall from Spectre winning Best Song. Now this was far from the category’s low point – they found a full slate of nominees which is not a given. But the winner is terrible. It sounds like the pub karaoke version of a Bond theme song, sung by someone who’s so wasted they can’t help slurring. It shouldn’t be possible to be simultaneously insipid and over the top but the Writing on the Wall Something really needs to be done with this category. Perhaps look beyond Hollywood for nominees. Or just scrap it.

Note: I updated the post about an hour after publication to include the point about cinematography.

Note 2: And a year later to include some missing words!