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I'd Like to Spank the Academy - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
I'd Like to Spank the Academy

Well, this is a surprise: The Revenant has the most nominations with twelve. Second place? Mad Max: Fury Road with ten. Ten! What the hell? Meanwhile, the movie that was actually the best of the year (Inside Out) got all of two, neither of which were for Best Picture; the year's second-best (Sicario) got three, but was also shut out of the Best Picture race. I suppose I could go on about this in particular, but whatever! This is how it always goes: these are reflections of over 6,000 Academy voters, after all -- their averages aren't going to match the opinions of one individual like myself. But, like many other individuals like myself, that's not going to keep me from shutting up about it! So why don't we just get on with my annual bitch fest then?

Actor in a Leading Role

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This would be much easier to say with confidence if the SAG Awards were already chosen, but at this point I think Leo is the one to beat.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Ugh, this is so frustrating! Stupid, typical Oscar politics: there may indeed be examples of people winning in this category two years in a row, but Eddie Redmayne winning last year (when Michael Keaton should have won for Birdman) still decreases his chances this year. And it's this movie he should be winning for.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I don't dislike Matt Damon really, but never in a million years would I say his performance in The Martian was Oscar-worthy. The Golden Globes threw him a bone by making the mystifying decision to put The Martian in their "Musical or Comedy" category, and that'll have to do.

Actress in a Leading Role

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Well, this is unusual: I've only seen three of these movies so far. I guess I'll have to watch Joy now, although I never had great interest in it; 45 Years hasn't even opened yet locally here in Seattle. This is no guarantee, but given that the Golden Globes has predicted the Best Actress winner every year for the past ten years, I'd say Brie Larson currently has the edge.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Cate Blanchett not only won an Oscar two years ago, but that was her second win; that decreases her chances this year dramatically. That shouldn't be how it is, but it's the way things are. And even without yet having seen two of these movies, I still think that among these nominees, she should get the award. I have a sneaking suspicion I won't mind Charlotte Rampling winning either, but I also don't think she has a chance in hell.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I love Jennifer Lawrence, but come on.

Actor in a Supporting Role

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This one seems like a tough call, actually. Maybe this will be one of the few categories in which Spotlight actually gets a win?
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I'm kind of surprising myself with this one, but -- I'm going for Tom Hardy. If I were an Academy voter, he'd get my vote. Leonardo DiCaprio is getting all the attention and Tom Hardy's great performance (and his performances are always great) is criminally overlooked.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Oh my god, please don't give this to Sylvester Stallone. Please. Just: no.

Actress in a Supporting Role

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: You know what? I'll just be honest and tell you I haven't a clue. If you put a gun to my head? Rooney Mara, I guess? None of these roles were particularly buzz-worthy so it's difficult to say.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Kate Winslet for the win! Except, she won the last time she was nominated. Also, surprisingly few people saw Steve Jobs. The odds are somewhat stacked against her.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Rachel McAdams for the lose! Okay, nothing against her, really, or even her performance in the excellent Spotlight. But, every other performance in this category was better.

Animated Feature Film

Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I think this is pretty much a slam-dunk for Inside Out, for multiple reasons: it was inexplicably shut out of Best Picture contention; Pixar tends to own this category; it was actually, you know, the best movie of the year. Don't argue!
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I'll give you one guess. Although yet again, Anomalisa has not yet opened locally so I haven't seen it, but since I practically worship Charlie Kaufman as a script writer, I'm sure that by the time Oscar Night actually happens, I won't have any major qualms with that one winning either. But Inside Out is going to get it.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Shaun the Sheep was a lot more fun than you might expect, but its inclusion here is tokenism at best.


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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Too much is known about the difficult shoot for The Revenant, which made more money than expected, meaning plenty of people are seeing how beautifully shot it was in spite of those difficulties. All this can only help its chances.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: As a matter of fact, every one of these movies was fantastically shot. Tough choice. But I might as well go with my #2 movie of 2015, Sicario, which is criminally under-nominated (I guarantee you Emily Blunt's performance is far more memorable than Jennifer Lawrence's -- I don't care that I haven't seen Joy; I would put money on it). Sicario's truly stunning cinematography was a huge part of what made that movie great.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I liked Mad Max: Fury Road so much I saw it twice, and I will still exalt its kick-ass feminist virtues -- and still, the Academy's love for that movie this year is way out of proportion. It did have great cinematography too but it would have to go at the bottom of this list.

Production Design

Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I'm tempted to say The Martian, considering all the hoopla about the pains they took to make things realistic, but this will probably go to The Revenant.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: This might actually be the one category where I actually would vote for the signature look in Mad Max: Fury Road. *GASP* I finally stopped bitching about Mad Max getting too much love from the Academy!
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I can't say the production design on Bridge of Spies was particularly memorable.

Costume Design

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Have we established yet that I'm pretty much just talking out of my ass here? Uh . . . Carol is going to win! Yeah, that's it!
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: And Carol actually should win. If Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara don't get Oscars, their outfits certainly should.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I'll just go with Cinderella. Even though it's the one movie in this category I haven't seen. But we all know it's not going to win.


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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: This is one case where I do have a strong feeling I know the winner -- and it will be Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Yes, even though he just won last year for Birdman! But his movie this year has twelve nominations.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: And The Revenant really is the best-directed movie of this bunch, in my opinion. Its story may be slight, but cinematically it's still stunningly well put together, and I would actually vote for it in this category -- even though I would still not vote for it for Best Picture.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Okay, Room was a good movie. But it wasn't that good.

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: The Force Awakens got five nominations, almost none of them in the big categories (it was also boxed out of Best Picture), but given its massive box office success, I think in all likelihood it may win a bunch of the categories it was actually nominated in.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: And guess what? The Force Awakens actually should win this one! I graded the editing on all of the movies in this category a B+, with one exception -- The Force Awakens, whose editing I gave a solid A; it was the highest grade of all the aspects I graded on that film. This is one tightly polished movie.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: This is one case, actually, where I'll just say -- any of the movies except The Force Awakens! Because they are all well-edited, pretty much equally well actually, with the exception of The Force Awakens -- whose editing is perfect.

Makeup and Hairstyling

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: It's worth noting that his makeup artist was one of the people Leonardo DiCaprio actually thanked in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: This is another case, though, where Mad Max gets some Oscar love even from me, albeit somewhat begrudgingly.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: It's odd there are only three nominated films in this category this year. And I never saw that 100-Year-Old Man movie. So I only saw 66.6% of the movies here. Let's just move on, how about that?

Music (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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Well, I was really tempted to say John Williams here, but guess what? Even though that man has been nominated 36 times, and has won five Oscars, only one of those wins was for a Star Wars movie -- the original, in 1978. He hasn't won since Schindler's List in 1994. So now let's ask ourselves: what part of The Force Awakens's score do you still remember? I don't know about you, but I'm drawing a blank -- aside from allusions to earlier Star Wars themes. To be fair, I can't remember the score from any of these other movies either. But I have heard talk about the score to Carol, so maybe that one will get it?
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: I hope Carol does get it. Just because it needs all the awards it can get. Seriously. Watch that movie!
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Okay, I'm done pretending I really care that much.

Music (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; Lyric by Antony Hegarty
"Simple Song #3," from Youth, Music and Lyric by David Lang
"Till 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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Academy voters like to think their vote means something, in which case, they may vote mostly for "Till It Happens to You."
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: And a vote for that song actually would mean something, in a category that rarely offers this level of import. That said, "Manta Ray" is quite pretty and would not be undeserving either.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Given that Fifty Shades of Grey was the worst movie I saw last year, I don't think it matters what song was in it. That movie should not have been nominated for any of these awards, let alone win one. Don't make me gouge my own eyes out in a fit of blind rage.

Visual Effects

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Let's not even pretend we don't all know which movie will win this award. It's totally The Force Awakens. How could it not be? Everyone and their mother has seen that movie; probably more than all the others in this category combined.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: And The Force Awakens would actually deserve it. That movie not only has excellent visual effects, but unlike George Lucas's prequels, it never strains to impress us with them -- they are used with admirable restraint, and impress nonetheless.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Ex Machina does not deserve this award. That's all there is to it.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: Fuck if I know!
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Given that Carol is the only one of these movies on my top ten from last year, I guess I'll have to say that one!
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: I enjoyed The Martian just fine, but I'd still vote for any of the other movies in this category over tht one.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

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

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I'm going for Spotlight on this one. It's both an excellent and terribly important film, but hard to watch; I have a feeling it won't win a lot of the awards it's nominated for -- but it just might get this one.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Inside Out, god damn it! It might be the best script ever produced in Pixar history. I'm serious.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: Let me make this clear: Ex Machina was entertaining enough, but still contains zero original ideas, which makes it wildly overrated. Best Original Screenplay is the last thing that movie deserves.

Best motion picture of the year

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

WHO I THINK WILL WIN: I'm leaning heavily toward The Revenant at this point.
WHO I THINK SHOULD WIN: Hello, INSIDE OUT! Okay, I'm a little fixated. That one's not even nominated. But it fucking should have been! So should Straight Outta Compton, actually. Although I would never say that one deserved to win; it just deserved a nomination. Also, why Carol is not on this list is outright baffling. So, I'm stuck with just this list then. Which means, once again, I'll have to go with the only one among them that I graded as high as an A-minus . . . which means Spotlight. Which, actually, I think might have an outside chance of winning. But my money's still on The Revenant.
WHO I THINK SHOULD NOT WIN: All together now! "Mad Max: Fury Road." A movie that's fun as hell and actually way more important than many give it credit for, BUT it still has no place on this list. I mean, come on. It's still just a thrilling action adventure at the end of the day. It doesn't even have half the importance of, say, Spotlight. Or even The Revenant, for that matter.

(Nominations for foreign language film, documentary feature, documentary short, animated short, live action short, sound editing, and sound mixing were also announced, but I don't know enough about them to make any worthwhile observations. The one possible exception is the documentary feature Amy, the only one of the documentary feature nominees I've seen, but which I still think has a real shot of winning, for obvious reasons.)

The 88th Academy Awards telecast will air on ABC Sunday, February 28 at 4 p.m. Pacific Time.


1 comment or Leave a comment
Heather McCrillis From: Heather McCrillis Date: January 15th, 2016 05:15 am (UTC) (Link)
"The Peanuts Movie" wasn't even nominated? #goodgrief
1 comment or Leave a comment