The countdown is on to tonight’s Oscars. I used to so look forward to this, believing it was all about awarding excellence. Then I started noticing the glaring omissions; the great films and actors and directors who were passed over. Ridley Scott this year for The Martian. Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation.
The strange inclusions. This year, for me, it’s Rachel MacAdams in Spotlight. It was a good solid film but it felt….old. All The President’s Men feels more modern. And as much as I admire Rachel, I don’t think this is a terrific performance. Out of the entire cast, I thought Mark Ruffalo did the best job. He just seems to carry himself differently in every movie, investing not just the words but his body language with character.
My favourite film this year was The Big Short. It was a tough subject but boy, did they break down what happened in the housing crisis well. They also broke down the fourth wall and used people like Margot Robbie and Anthony Bourdain to explain very technical things in a very entertaining fashion.
I greatly admired Mad Max. George Miller should win for directing and the film should clean up for visual effects. I said I admire the movie for its brilliance but it wasn’t my favourite. I thought it was too bleak. Maybe I saw it on the wrong day. Also, I wonder how on earth Charlize Theron wasn’t nominated. A brilliant performance, certainly better than Jennifer Lawrence in Joy.
I haven’t seen The Revenant. It’s not my kind of movie plus I hate the idea that an actor has a “lock” on a win. Leo DiCaprio has been very good in some movies, mediocre in others. His name above the title gives me pause.
Other things that impressed me this year? Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies. Jacob Tremblay in Room. Matt Damon essentially acting by himself in The Martian. (It reminded me of Spencer Tracy’s advice “Never let them see you act.”) I love Bryan Cranston, but I thought Trumbo was a waste of time and, for a movie about writing, it was short on inspiring speeches. Also Diane Lane was wasted.
I read The Hollywood Reporter a lot and love this time of year because they have insiders comment on the nominations. Some complain about being bullied into voting one way or another. Others, you get the feeling, just mark their ballots for familiar names. It’s like voting for the incumbent in an election.
I will be watching tonight. I will mean girl the clothes and rant about the horrific speeches. Even with the crawl on the screen, you know that many of the winners will just rattle off a list of names. It’s like thanking their sponsors or something. The one thing that’s always interesting is when they thank….or don’t thank…their significant other. The Hollywood Reporter has an article on how this can impact on the longevity of relationships. It’s facile and fun. It’s also a little misleading because I get the feeling that once you’ve won an Oscar you run the risk of believing your own press. I can’t imagine the stress that would place on even the most solid of relationships…and Hollywood is not the most solid of places.