The greatest outrage stirred by last week’s announcement of the Oscar nominees was not the Best Picture snub for Carol or the absurd exclusion of Todd Haynes from the Best Director category, but rather the troubling homogeneity of the twenty men and women nominated in the acting categories. Specifically, many have taken issue with the fact that this year’s Oscar slate looks about as white as a Whole Foods before noon on a Sunday. The social media hashtag OscarsSoWhite resurfaced within minutes after the nomination announcement had finished, and Spike Lee has even called for a boycott of the ceremony as a response to the blatant lack of diversity in this year’s picks.
The 2016 Academy Award nominations have just been announced, but Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight has been the frontrunner for months. It was anointed the film to beat for Best Picture way back in September, when it debuted to rapturous reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival. Sure enough, when John Krasinski and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs revealed this year’s nominees, the drama about the Boston Globe reporters who revealed a sex-abuse cover-up within the Catholic Church earned six nods, including Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Picture. According to most experts (and Google search results) it’s sitting in pole position heading into the home stretch of awards season.
Year-end awards are supposed to honor the best in cinema. But it might be more accurate to say they honor a narrow sliver of the best in cinema; only films released from October thru December; only the stuff promoted by the big studios; only movies deemed “important” or “serious” or “biopics about dead famous people.” The impulse to make lists and give out prizes is a good one, but more often than not that impulse results in one big echo chamber, with pundits predicting — and critics and guilds rewarding — the same half-dozen contenders.
This is the most exciting time of the year for anyone who loves film, as critics and journalists no longer have to play the guessing game of what may or may not make it to the Oscars. The awards season frontrunners are already pretty clear, with the exception of a few titles yet to screen for press, including The Revenant, The Hateful Eight, Joy, By the Sea and Concussion. Here’s what your 2016 Oscar categories will most likely look like.
One of the few unquestioned highlights of this year’s Academy Awards was the live performance of Best Original Song nominee “Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie. Tegan and Sara and the Lonely Island performed, Oprah got her very own LEGO Oscar, and Will Arnett moaned about darkness and no parents while wearing Val Kilmer’s Batsuit from Batman Forever. It was a great moment, but one that was totally out of touch with the spirit of the evening. According to almost every pundit and critic, everything was decidedly not awesome about the 87th Oscars.
At long last, the Oscars are in the books for another year. As usual, the Academy Awards made for a night full of memorable moments, great speeches, and huge disappointments. (You deserved better, Boyhood.) Here now, the highs and lows of Oscars 2015 — all the things the Oscars got right this year, and all the things they got wrong:
This Sunday’s Oscars will be the 87th annual Academy Awards. In nearly a century of honoring Hollywood’s best, the Academy has sometimes has made some bold choices, and some dumb choices. This gallery has them all; the complete history of nine decades of Best Picture winners in pictures. Some are classics, still watched to this day. A few are almost totally forgotten to history. (Cavalcade, anyone?) But they all won. Even Crash, somehow.
1952 was an incredible year for world cinema. John Ford directed The Quiet Man, Akira Kurosawa made Ikiru, Vittorio De Sica released Umberto D., and Orson Welles premiered his version of Shakespeare’s Othello at the Cannes Film Festival. Hollywood produced the great Western High Noon, the brilliant Hollywood melodrama The Bad and the Beautiful, and the classic musical Singin’ in the Rain.
Okay, so there was a fair amount of disappointment around the 2015 Academy Award nominations. Everything was not awesome for ‘The Lego Movie,’ robbed of a Best Animated Movie nod, and David Oyelowo’s dreams of a Best Actor nomination vanished when Steve Carell and Bradley Cooper’s names were mentioned instead. ‘Force Majeure’ got snubbed for a Best Foreign Language Film nomination and ‘Selma’’s Ava Duvernay was robbed in the Best Director Category. I just keep looking at the list of nominations and playing “Sad Trombone” over and over again. It’s basically the official theme song of the 2015 Academy Awards.