The 88th annual Academy Awards, deemed the biggest night in Hollywood, aired Sunday night with a few surprises and upsets. The glamorous affair was held at the Dolby Theater and was hosted by comedian Chris Rock. Prior to the highly anticipated award ceremony, many people were upset that this year only white people were nominated for the acting awards, and conceived the ever popular hashtag of #OscarsSoWhite. There were rumors swirling around that Rock should quit and boycott the show, but he refused and showed up with offensive, not funny jokes and quips. The Oscars are considered the highest achievement a person in that industry can ever receive, it is televised live in front of millions and millions of people. There are so many films made every year with the hope that they could receive even a nomination. This show is a huge deal. The amount of people, the amount of work and the amount of sacrifice that it takes to make one film is mind blowing, and then to have a film be nominated in any category is already considered a success because of the caliber of this award. Rock, to say the least, was a disappointment. He starts off the show with a monologue addressing the race issue by stating “Hey! Well, I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards. You realize, if they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get this job. You all be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.” Which, many people I’m sure were wishing that were true, and that’s not being racist, it’s just that compared to Harris’s hosting duties last year, Rock doesn’t even come close. Harris is a triple threat, he opened with a huge musical number singing and dancing and bringing joy and laughter to the audience. Not talking about an issue throughout the entire show. Rock then proceeded to discuss Jada Pinkett Smith declaring to boycott the Oscars, which he stated, “Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada’s gonna boycott the Oscars? Jada Boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rhianna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.” He was constantly all over the place, and then made a jab at police officers with the remark, “Things going to be a little different at the Oscars. This year, in the In Memoriam package it’s just going to be black people that were shot by the cops on their way to the movies.” He spends the rest of the monologue discussing race and if Hollywood is in fact racist. One minute he’s calling people out and the next he’s agreeing with them. This is a show to honor great film, great performances and great crews and the issue shouldn’t be about the race of the people nominated, the issue is why are these talented black actors not given the same opportunities to star in these Oscar worthy films. That is the issue. With that said, the rest of the show was a bore due to the fact that Rock continued to stress the issue of race and lack of black actors nominated which was becoming unnecessary. Normally the Oscars have funny skits, high upbeat musical numbers, more jabs at the performances, the movies nominated, etc. This show, had none of that.
The Academy decided that this year they would start a crawl on the bottom of the screen with all the nominees writing who they would like to thank, therefore the show won’t run over as it usually does. This was a horrible idea. The crawl went too fast no one would’ve been able to watch the winner accept the award and read the extremely fast crawl. It was distracting and most of the winners ignored it, which made the entire thing pointless. Hopefully it won’t reappear for next year.
The first award of the night, which is usually the Oscar for best supporting actor or actress, actually went to best original screenplay, and was awarded to Spotlight. Then a few awards later, Alicia Vikander won best supporting actress for her fantastic performance in The Danish Girl. Then the film Mad Max: Fury Road basically took over and swept up every award possible, ranging from costume design, production design, sound mixing, sound editing, etc. But one of the biggest upsets of the night had to be when the award for best supporting actor was announced. Everyone predicted that the prestigious award would go to Sylvester Stallone for his work in Creed, but Mark Rylance won for his performance in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies. The shock was that during the Golden Globes, both actors were nominated but Stallone won. Then when the SAG awards occurred, Stallone wasn’t in the running, and Rylance lost to Idris Elba. But, Rylance did win the British Academy of Film award (BAFTA) but again, Stallone wasn’t nominated for one. Having seen both films, it came as quite a shock that he did in fact win, but the Academy Awards are always filled with upsets and surprises.
The latter half of the show, the bigger awards take over. Brie Larson picked up the Oscar for best actress, she thanked her adorable costar Jacob Tremblay in Room, her boyfriend who she referred to as “her real partner” her parents, her family, the director Lenny Abrahamson and the author of the book the film is based on Emma Donoghue and then lastly thanks her fans and moviegoers that go to the theaters to see these films.
Then probably the most anticipated award of the night, best actor. The Oscar finally went to one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, Leonardo DiCaprio for his performance in The Revenant. This surprisingly was his very first Oscar, having been nominated 5 times starting at the young age of just 19 for his powerful performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He received a standing ovation and actually had to wait until the cheering and clapping stopped to accept his award and give his speech. He went on to thank the Academy, the other nominees in the best actor category, his costar Tom Hardy, the director Alejandro Inarritu-who also nagged an Oscar for directing The Revenant– countless others including Mr. Jones who cast him in his first film, his parents, Academy Award award winning director Martin Scorsese which he has worked on numerous films with, his friends, etc. and then discussed the climate and planet stating that 2015 was recorded the hottest year in history and that “we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.” He then closes the speech with “Let us not take this planet for granted I do not take tonight for granted.” It was discovered on Monday morning that DiCaprio winning generated more than 440,000 tweets per minute, claiming it was the most tweeted minute of the Oscars telecast history.
The last award and another upset went to Spotlight for best picture. Many people really thought that the award would’ve went to The Revenant since it won countless recognition and awards prior to this night. But Spotlight winning best picture was well deserved and a powerful film focusing on the true story of how the Boston Globe discovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover up in the local Catholic church.
The award ceremony although was quite boring due to the constant race issue being brought up and lack of jokes, was still exciting to watch for all the actors win their Oscars for the very first time. The biggest night in hollywood celebrated fantastic talent, wonderful films and the excitement of why people attend the movies in the first place. To escape the reality of their own life, dive into someone’s else for two hours and become inspired. That anyone can in a sense “dream of gold.”