A Review Of The 2016 Academy Awards
It’s that time of year again! The Oscars! A time of year where rich people give each other golden trophies because they played pretend well. That’s why they give the writer’s awards at the beginning of the show… clear away the people who literally gave them EVERYTHING to say and do, and then make way for the people you made fun of in school because they kept singing in class. That’s not a bad thing. They figured out what we didn’t: playing pretend could get you millions of dollars to eat a raw liver and call it acting.
We at Social Underground made some predictions the other day as to who will win. The wild card in this whole damn thing is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but then Mad Mad: Fury Road came into make it more confusing. Social Underground still came up with a passing grade this year. Last year? We got an 85%. This year? Well, let’s get into it.
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
“The Big Short” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers
“Bridge of Spies” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
“Brooklyn” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, Producers
“The Martian” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, Producers
“The Revenant” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, Producers
“Room” Ed Guiney, Producer
“Spotlight” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers
Social Underground: 1-0
Was it the best picture of the year? Not even close. It was honestly a Lifetime Movie/Dateline special that had a bigger budget. But the significance of the movie would win over the voters. It had the 12 Years A Slave thing going for it: it made people feel bad, they will vote for it even if they didn’t see it, and just hearing about what the movie is about is enough.
I’m not even joking about any of this. I knew the movie would win even though I thought Bridge of Spies was better… and that movie was paint by numbers boring like Spotlight. You know what the movie is about, you know how it will progress, and you know how it ends. Boom. Sleepville. Good movie, but not great by any means. If Fury Road would’ve won… that would be a game changer.
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
“The Big Short” Adam McKay
“Mad Max: Fury Road” George Miller
“The Revenant” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Room” Lenny Abrahamson
“Spotlight” Tom McCarthy
Social Underground: 2-0
There was no way this wouldn’t win. Even though I thought that Miller did a superior job, he wouldn’t win. Again, how the hell is Spotlight nominated for best director? I’m sorry, Tom McCarthy, but I can set up cameras A and B to show two actors film conversations, too. Oh, the subject matter of the movie. Right. Shhh, everyone shut up and forget that it still sucks.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”
Matt Damon in “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”
Social Underground: 3-0
I’m just going to quote myself from the predictions with bold to illustrate my point:
“Although I thought DiCaprio did a good job in the movie, he has done better in previous roles that he lost in. I could grow a beard, hardly talk, be cold, and eat raw fish, too.”
Yeah, he won, but as I saw the nominees listed with the accompanying video, I remembered again that he probably shouldn’t win. DiCaprio’s video was from one of the few speaking parts of the movie. Damon and Cranston’s parts shown were clear that they should’ve been put ahead. Fassbender is cool, but that movie was another Sorkin nightmare.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Cate Blanchett in “Carol”
Brie Larson in “Room”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”
Social Underground: 4-0
Yeah, I called this like a boss. The movie kicks your ass, her performance kicks your ass, and you pretty much leave the theater broken and thankful for what you have.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Christian Bale in “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”
Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”
This was probably one of the most anti-climactic things of the ceremony. Out of all the nominees, Rylance didn’t really do anything in the film. He basically stood or sat in a seat in a jail and answered questions in a Russian accent. Bale, Hardy and Stallone all poured everything they had into the role. Ruffalo shouldn’t have been nominated. He’s cool, but no one in that damn movie should’ve been nominated… except maybe Keaton, but whatever.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara in “Carol”
Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”
Social Underground: 5-1
The movie was awful. It was really bad. It was a movie that was made to get awards… but Viklander was amazing in it. McAdams is a shocker that she was even nominated for standing and sitting while speaking dialogue… like Rylance. Mara did great being naked yet boring. Winslet could barely keep her accent together. Leigh was great, but it got old after a while. Viklander maintained a great performance with all emotions portrayed on-screen.
“The Big Short” Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
“Brooklyn” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
“Carol” Screenplay by Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian” Screenplay by Drew Goddard
“Room” Screenplay by Emma Donoghue
Social Underground: 6-1
The Martian deserved it, but I chose The Big Short because it was more important of a film. Was it better adapted? Not at all. Do you think any of the voters can actually read without glasses before giving up and falling asleep at 6 p.m.? No. If that was a possibility, then they would’ve read Room. That was a Spotlight joke. Get it? Old white people…whatever. Next!
“Bridge of Spies” Written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
“Ex Machina” Written by Alex Garland
“Inside Out” Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
“Spotlight” Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
“Straight Outta Compton” Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff
Social Underground: 7-1
Oh. Right. The paint by numbers film won. Straight Outta Compton feels like it should’ve won, but then you saw the movie and it was merely okay. All the movies on this list are biographical except Ex Machina and Inside Out. Most of the writing was done for them, they just had to piece together the best parts. I picked who would win instead of who should.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR
“Anomalisa” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
“Boy and the World” Alê Abreu
“Inside Out” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
“Shaun the Sheep Movie” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
“When Marnie Was There” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura
Social Underground: 8-1
Like I said in the predictions… Pixar will always win here.
ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN
“Bridge of Spies” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl” Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
“The Martian” Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
“The Revenant” Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy
Social Underground: 9-1
Every other movie in this category was based on a time period that could be referenced from. You can’t hold a candle to the pure creation of Mad Mad: Fury Road in this category.
ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Carol” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road” John Seale
“The Revenant” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Sicario” Roger Deakins
Social Underground: 10 – 1
ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
“Carol” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Jenny Beavan
“The Revenant” Jacqueline West
Social Underground: 10-2
Here’s where the predictions start to derail. I picked The Danish Girl because of the implications of change from a man to a woman and having to design that… but I forgot the fact that regular clothes from that period would work, too.
ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
“The Big Short” Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Margaret Sixel
“The Revenant” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey
Social Underground: 10-3
Once again, I forgot that this movie involved such heavy editing. I listened to others thinking that The Big Short would get it. I saw both movies. I knew Fury Road was better edited, but I let the others dampen my common sense.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Amy” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
“Cartel Land” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
“The Look of Silence” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor
Social Underground: 11-3
I picked this knowing that people would enjoy watching a crackhead singer facing her death would resonate more than genocide or the Ukraine. I was right, sadly.
ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini
Social Underground: 12-3
Not a big surprise here.
ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)
“Bridge of Spies” Thomas Newman
“Carol” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” John Williams
Social Underground: 13-3
Once again, not a big surprise here. I thought Williams could take it, but his score was largely just the same score from the other movies.
ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Social Underground: 14-3
I’m not happy that I chose this correctly. Smith won and then talked about LGBT rights… dude, you sang a song for James Bond. He is the biggest POS that uses women. Whatever, let’s ignore that Lady Gaga got robbed for singing about people getting raped. Totally cool, voters. Also, let’s ignore how he said he was the first openly gay man to win an Oscar. Uh, remember the movie Milk in 2009? An openly gay man wrote that.
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) February 29, 2016
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
“Bridge of Spies” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“The Martian” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
Social Underground 14-4
I chose Star Wars: The Force Awakens for this one. When you lose this one, you ultimately lose…
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Matthew Wood and David Acord
Social Underground: 14-5
ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
“Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
Social Underground: 14-6
I looked at Mad Max: Fury Road to win this because I thought everything else was basic CGI, and I also thought Ex Machina would be overlooked for awards because it was great and original. I was wrong. Ex Machina won because it looked real. Sure, every other movie did a great job of using practical effects with CGI, but Ex Machina really made you believe. Bravo!
Social Underground score: 70%
Well, minus the non-obvious choices, we were pretty good. What really kills predictions is when it comes to the technical stuff. When you see a sound mixing award go out, you pretty much know that many more will go to that film. Whatever. Mad Max: Fury Road won a whole lot of awards. I wish it would’ve won more, but I’m just a critic.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post,UPROXX,BGR and by just looking up his name.