The Hunt for Oscar: The 88th Annual Academy Awards

The Hunt for Oscar: The 88th Annual Academy Awards

This morning the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced. It's very bittersweet for me because I love film, however, once again, #OscarsSoWhite. After last years backlash and the amazing crop of films made for and featuring POC, this year's nominations seem to be a much bigger insult and slap in the face than last year. For the past 5 years, I have embarked on what seems to be a futile and infuriating journey. I attempt to see and critically evaluate all of the biggest, “best” and most buzzed about films of awards seasons before the airing of the Academy Awards. I hunt down any and all movies I think have even the slightest hope of getting a nod for Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay, etc.  If the award is broadcast I want to have seen the movie before the winners are announced next month.

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I have described this as increasingly self-torturous journey because the Oscars insist on making it so, since expanding the Best Picture category to 10, I’ve spent the weeks after the holidays hunting down movies that I think will have the best chance of garnering nominations, only to be shocked or disappointed when high quality movies are snubbed.  This year it seems as though the tough viewing will be The Revenant, also known as “Please give Leo a damn Oscar already” all the while knowing that Idris Elba was unfairly passed over for his amazing performance in Beasts of No Nation. There will be some fun films along the way, The Martian was entertaining and well deserving, however knowing that Creed was roundly snubbed despite an incredible story and the best cinematography i've seen in years, it makes it harder to be objective while thinking about which films are most deserving of a nomination. I’m going to try to approach this with a critical lens as I review the movies I have seen before the February 28th ceremony airs, however, how many times can deserving filmmakers of color be loudly ignored before I start to ignore this farce? Not too many more times.

I started by watching movies from this list of Oscar Predictions published by Vanity Fair - however, following the official (super White) nominees. I will start reviewing movies next week and make my predictions before . Hope you join me on this journey and let me know your opinions.

BEST PICTURE

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST ACTOR

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

BEST ACTRESS

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Matt Charman, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies
  • Alex Garland, Ex Machina
  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley, Inside Out
  • Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
  • Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff, Straight Outta Compton

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, The Big Short
  • Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
  • Phyllis Nagy, Carol
  • Drew Goddard, The Martian
  • Emma Donoghue, Room

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
  • Edward Lachman, Carol
  • Roger Deakins, Sicario
  • John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight

BEST FILM EDITING

  • Hank Corwin, The Big Short
  • Jason Ballantine and Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Stephen Mirrione, The Revenant
  • Tom McArdle, Spotlight

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Eve Stewart, The Danish Girl
  • Colin Gibson, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Sandy Powell, Carol
  • Sandy Powell, Cinderella
  • Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
  • Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Jacqueline West, The Revenant

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

  • The Revenant
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
  • Carter Burwell, Carol
  • John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
  • Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground
  • “Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction
  • “Simple Song #3,” Youth
  • “Writing's On the Wall,” Spectre

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Martian
  • Sicario
  • The Revenant

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Inside Out
  • Anomalisa
  • Shaun the Sheep
  • Boy and The World
  • When Marnie Was There

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • Amy
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Cartel Land
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom
  • The Look of Silence

So that's the list and the plan is to just watch as many of these movies as I possibly can, this usually means that I'm watching two to three movies per week until the telecast airs. Thankfully, I won't have to pay to see all of the nominations at this point in the year. Given the Academy's history, and the arbitrary nature of award shows in general, it is hard to be optimistic that we will see any diversity of thought or that an underdog will take the top prize.. 

Next week I will continue my hunt for Oscar by reviewing the first of the official nominees that I have seen. Until then, happy watching!

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