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Expectations and Surprises: A Reaction To The 88th Academy Awards

Photo Courtesy of TubeGms

Awards season has come and gone yet again, and with that, another Best Picture movie to eventually be forgotten, some witty hosting, and even a few surprises! Here’s a list of the things that shocked us the most, as well as the awards we saw coming from a mile away.




1. “Ex Machina” takes home the prize for Best Visual Effects

In what was by far the biggest upset of the night, Alex Garland’s creepy sci-fi thriller beat out three Best Picture nominees (“The Martian,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Revenant”) and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in a category that has historically been dominated by massive blockbusters and pricey Best Picture nominees. It was a well-deserved win for one of the most underrated movies of 2015.


2. Sly loses out to Mark Rylance for Best Supporting Actor

 Supporting Actor was a strange category this year with the presumed frontrunner Sylvester Stallone failing to earn nominations at the BAFTAs and the SAG awards but winning at the Globes. Idris Elba won at the SAGs, but he wasn’t even nominated here, and the BAFTA went to eventual Oscar winner Mark Rylance. The overall lack of support for “Creed” and Rylance’s history on the British stage likely pushed him over the top. 


3. Spotlight wins Best Picture

I predicted “Spotlight” as the big winner when nominations were announced back in January, but there’s no doubt that “The Revenant” had all of the traction going in after winning at the Globes and the BAFTAs. I thought Spotlight did just enough — with acting nominations for Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams as well as screenplay and editing — to hold off the wild push by “The Revenant.”


4. Sam Smith wins the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Writing on the Wall”

This song sucks. There’s no way in hell that this should have beaten “Til It Happens to You,” Lady Gaga’s powerful anthem against sexual assault. Things got even worse when Smith claimed that he may be the first openly gay man to win an Oscar (he isn’t) and doubled down on the stupidity. The Academy also failed to recognize “See You Again” with even a nomination. This category is a mess.


5. “Mad Max” cleans up 

OK, maybe this one didn’t really surprise me much (“Fury Road” was my favorite film of the year), but my Twitter feed seemed pretty shocked when George Miller’s high-octane action thriller took home a staggering SIX Oscars, more than any other movie. Only a cinematography win for “The Revenant” kept this one from being a clean sweep of the technical awards.


No Surprise


1. Chris Rock’s opening monologue delivers

In the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite (all of the acting nominees in each of the past two years have been white), this was one of the most anticipated moments in recent Oscar history, and first-time host Chris Rock knocked it out of the park. 

Rock came firing right out of the gate: “Man, I counted at least 15 black people in the montage.” He even poked fun at the boycott, telling Jada Pinkett Smith that “boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties … I wasn’t invited.” 

He also took time to shine a light on victims of police brutality. It was the most important part of the night, and Rock delivered.


2. Leo and Larson win for the first time

WE CAN FINALLY SHUT UP WITH ALL THE DAMN JOKES NOW. The races for Lead Actor and Lead Actress have been set in stone for a while now, but Leo’s acceptance speech felt like one big sigh of relief for one of the industry’s best actors.


3. “Inside Out” wins best animated feature

Sorry, “Shaun the Sheep Movie.” While it didn’t end in a nomination, the Best Picture buzz for Pixar’s innovative and emotional hit was very real. “Inside Out” wasn’t just the best animated movie of 2015; it was one of the best period.


4. Iñárritu goes back-to-back and Lubezki pulls off the three peat for their work on “The Revenant”

“The Revenant” director Alejandro G Iñárritu became only the third person to take home this award in back-to-back years (the Mexican-American director also won for “Birdman” last year), while his friend Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, who also worked on “Birdman” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity,” completed the three-peat for his cinematography.


5. Jacob Tremblay was predictably adorable 

Nine-year-old “Room” star Jacob Tremblay has been making the rounds (he even got a picture with Best Actor winner Leonardo DiCaprio at the SAG Awards), and even though he didn’t earn a nomination, the pint-sized actor stole the show. He even wore Star Wars socks!

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