Oscars 2016: 5 Big Winners (And Losers)
After a month’s worth of anticipation, controversy, and other smaller awards shows, the 88th Academy Awards finally came around to vindicate the hard work of its nominated filmmakers. At the same time, however, the Oscars had to break the bad news to some heavily favored candidates. Here are five of the biggest winners - and losers - of a solidly entertaining Oscars ceremony.
1. Mark Rylance Wins Supporting Actor Oscar
In perhaps the biggest shocker of the night, Bridge of Spies player Mark Rylance won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, edging out a strong and talented pool of nominees. While there's no denying Rylance's talent - he gives Bridge of Spies its most fun and intriguing performance - it came as quite the surprise to see him take the win over Sylvester Stallone (Creed) and other favored candidates, such as Christian Bale (The Big Short) and Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) - both of whom gave eccentric, pinpointed turns that proved to be magnetic in their films.
2. Mad Max Goes On A Tear, Wins Six Oscars
Nobody ever doubted the high-octane power of the smash hit Mad Max: Fury Road, especially with its ten Oscar nominations. Early on in the broadcast, however, fans and viewers were treated to a lovely day when Fury Road picked up six(!) of the coveted statuettes, securing each technical category not named Visual Effects (going to Ex Machina) and Cinematography (going to The Revenant). Although Fury Road failed to score a win for Best Picture or Best Directing for George Miller, the action filmmaking masterpiece has cemented its place in cinematic history with a hell of a night.
3. Ex Machina Sneaks In, Wins Visual Effects Oscar
Who would have thought that an independent film on the relatively modest budget of $15 million – and released so early in the year as well - would beat out visual effects juggernauts Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and Fury Road? The sci-fi pic used unique visual effects to effectively transform lead actress Alicia Vikander (who also won Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl) into a convincingly lifelike android. Perhaps this lighter and more ingenious application of visual effects sat better with Academy voters who had grown weary of big-budgeted spectacles.
4. Leo FINALLY Gets His Oscar
Rejoice, internet, for Leonardo DiCaprio has at last won an Oscar for The Revenant, which follows five consecutive losing nominations dating back to 1994. While his passionate fan base always knew he would win, some sources were placing DiCaprio on upset alert by Trumbo leading man Bryan Cranston, or even by Michael Fassbender playing the titular Steve Jobs. DiCaprio staved off the challengers and secured his win, and he used his acceptance speech to direct attention to climate change. He kept himself professional on stage, then promptly drummed his fingers and smiled as he awaited for his Oscar’s engraving. Nicely done, Leo!
5. Spotlight Wins Best Picture
The heavy-hitting journalism drama Spotlight secured the Best Picture victory over The Revenant, which gained late momentum with wins for Best Actor in a Leading Role (DiCaprio) and Best Direcing (Alejandro González Iñárritu) - with the latter being a very accurate metric for pinning down the eventual Best Picture winner. One could even say that Spotlight beat out the night's favorite in Fury Road, which looked primed to win big after dominating the early categories.
Interestingly enough, Spotlight is the first film to ever win just the very first and very last Oscars handed out at the same ceremony. In addition, it’s just the second Best Picture-winner to have only won one other Oscar (The Greatest Show On Earth did it in 1953 – the first year the Oscars were held!).
Yeah, some cool things happened at the Oscars this year, but wherever there’s one winner, there’s always a few losers, and these were the ones that felt it the most:
1. Sylvester Stallone Loses Out For Supporting Actor
It's been over thirty years since Sly was nominated for playing Rocky in the timeless franchise’s debut. Now, with a supporting actor nomination for his great reprisal in Creed, the stage seemed set for a big Oscar win. Yet somehow, someway, the nostalgic factor either wore off on the Academy or didn't affect them in the first place, as Mark Rylance took the Supporting Actor Oscar in the night’s biggest upset.
While it's easy to say "better luck next year," in the case of Stallone, who knows when his next shot will be?
2. The Martian, Star Wars Go Home Empty-Handed
Out of all of the movies in the Oscars bunch, The Martian and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens were easily the most mainstream, popular, and crowd-pleasing movies of the year. In spite of that, both films failed to secure even one Oscar because of the Fury Road machine running all over the technical categories – the only spots where either film had a fighting chance. The one that really stings, though, is the Visual Effects loss to Ex Machina, but hey – Fury Road lost that one too.
3. The Revenant Loses Smaller Categories
When the Oscar nominations were announced, The Revenant led all movies with twelve noms, making Alejandro González Iñárritu’s survival story the clear favorite to clean house. Even so, The Revenant only walked away with three awards: Best Cinematography, Best Leading Actor, and Best Directing. They’re bigger categories, sure, but it’s safe to say they had their eyes fixed on a lot more wins than just three. At the very least, Iñárritu has made history as just the third director in Oscars history to win in back-to-back years (Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1950-51 and John Ford in 1941-42).
4. Sam Smith Wins - And Loses
The Lady Gaga and Diane Warren song "Til it Happens to You" (The Hunting Ground) was upset by the much-maligned Spectre theme “Writing’s On The Wall” by Sam Smith and James Napier, but it was Smith that really felt the burn on Oscars night. He gave a paltry live performance of his soon-to-be-Oscar-winning song - a sentiment he absolutely shares – and in his acceptance speech, he incorrectly implied he is the first openly gay man to win an Academy Award. The gaffe is a result of his misinterpretation of an Ian McKellen quote where McKellen specifically referred to no openly gay actor ever winning an Oscar. Smith singlehandedly proved that you can win the coveted golden statuette and still have a bad night.
5. The Big Short Comes Up... Short
The Charles Randolph and Adam McKay-written screenplay The Big Short was one of the night's first victors when it won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Unfortunately, the snappy and critically-acclaimed retelling of the 2008 housing crisis could not muster another award in key categories such as Best Editing, Best Directing, and Best Picture – all categories where it was seen as either a strong contender or dark horse.