2016 Oscar Winners

Over the course of what I swear felt like 12 grueling hours, this year’s relentlessly dull Academy Awards ceremony stirred to life only briefly with shocking upset victories in two categories, including the big prize of the night.

Prior to the very moment he lost, Sylvester Stallone looked like a sure thing for Best Supporting Actor. Instead, that trophy unexpectedly went to Mark Rylance for ‘Bridge of Spies’.

At the very end of the evening, nominee frontrunner ‘The Revenant’ seemed poised to take Best Picture. However, the film’s victory was snatched away by the journalism drama ‘Spotlight’. While ‘Spotlight’ was widely acclaimed, and everyone I know who’s seen both has agreed that it’s the better movie, ‘The Revenant’ seemed to have unstoppable momentum after winning gold for star Leonardo DiCaprio and director Alejandro Iñárritu (the latter’s second consecutive Oscar after last year’s ‘Birdman’). The Best Director and Best Picture awards typically go hand-in-hand, but that trend seems to be breaking in recent years.

I am a notoriously poor Oscar guesser, but even by my own weak standards I seem to be really out of touch with the Academy voters this year. Ultimately, I only predicted a third of the categories correctly. That’s pretty lousy, even for me. (My wife got twice as many right.)

In terms of number of awards won, the evening’s big champ was ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, which claimed six trophies, all in technical categories. Personally, I’m aghast at the Best Sound Mixing win. In my opinion, pushing every single volume fader to the maximum and leaving them there for the entire movie does not constitute “sound mixing.” I’m apparently in a minority for feeling that way.

Trailing behind with three awards was ‘The Revenant’. Best Picture winner ‘Spotlight’ only took one other category, Best Original Screenplay.

Ceremony host Chris Rock spent the entire evening making #OscarsSoWhite jokes. This was fully expected, and frankly, what else was he gonna do? Nevertheless, the lack of variety in his material got stale quickly. Most of his jokes were fairly mild and tame (such as calling the Oscars the “White People’s Choice Awards”), but one jab about Hollywood being “sorority racist” made the whole room go quiet for a moment.

A skit that inserted black actors into clips from all the Best Picture nominees was pretty funny.

Rock’s best bit, in which he guilted celebrities in the audience into buying Girl Scout cookies from his daughters, was practically the only thing he did the whole night that wasn’t about the Oscar whitewashing controversy.

Random Observations

The awards this year were allegedly presented in the order of the film production process, starting with the screenplay prizes first (because every movie starts with a script being written). This conceit almost immediately turned out to be a bunch of bullshit when the Supporting Actress prize was given shortly afterwards (as if casting supporting actresses is the first order of business after a script is written), yet Supporting Actor didn’t come until a couple hours later.

In an effort to shorten acceptance speeches, a tiny ticker scroll of all the names the winners wanted to thank was displayed at the bottom of the screen as they walked on stage. This effort proved a complete failure when almost every single winner then went on to thank those same names in their speeches anyway.

Throughout the night, the orchestra played very weird and random choices of movie theme tunes that were usually inappropriate to the awards being presented.

Conspicuously, almost every category was announced by at least one black presenter, as if having a black person give the award to a white winner would somehow make up for the lack of black nominees. Late in the ceremony, Sacha Baron Cohen came out on stage as his Ali G. character and made a good joke about this.

The Best Original Song award was presented by last year’s winners Common and John Legend. Common looked visibly disgusted when reading pre-written banter about the nominated songs being as powerful as the films they appear in… yes, even in such powerful films as ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.

Best Original Song was also the only award category of the night with a black nominee. Naturally, the prize went to Sam Smith, just about the whitest man in the auditorium, for that ear-bleedingly awful ‘Spectre’ theme song he inflicted on the audience earlier in the ceremony.

The Obnoxious Hypocrite of the Evening award goes to Leonardo DiCaprio for turning his acceptance speech into a super-preachy rant about climate change. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel that a millionaire movie star who gets ferried to film sets around the world in private jets has any right to harangue me for not driving a Prius. There are few careers as environmentally wasteful as filmmaking.

Officially scheduled to end at 11:30 PM, the ceremony only clocked in 37 minutes late, which is actually pretty good for the Oscars. Yet the damn thing still felt like it would never end.

Best Picture

  • ‘The Big Short’
  • ‘Bridge of Spies’
  • ‘Brooklyn’
  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
  • ‘The Martian’
  • ‘The Revenant’
  • ‘Room’
  • ‘Spotlight’

Josh’s prediction: ‘The Revenant’
Actual Winner: ‘Spotlight’

Best Director

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

Josh’s prediction: Tom McCarthy
Actual Winner: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Best Actor

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

Josh’s prediction: Leonardo DiCaprio
Actual Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Actress

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

Josh’s prediction: Brie Larson
Actual Winner: Brie Larson

Best Supporting Actor

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

Josh’s prediction: Sylvester Stallone
Actual Winner: Mark Rylance

Best Supporting Actress

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

Josh’s prediction: Jennifer Jason Leigh
Actual Winner: Alicia Vikander

Best Animated Feature

  • ‘Anomalisa’
  • ‘Boy and the World’
  • ‘Inside Out’
  • ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie’
  • ‘When Marnie Was There’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Inside Out’
Actual Winner: ‘Inside Out’

Best Short Film – Animated

  • ‘Bear Story’
  • ‘Prologue’
  • ‘Sanjay’s Super Team’
  • ‘We Can’t Live without Cosmos’
  • ‘World of Tomorrow’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Sanjay’s Super Team’
Actual Winner: ‘Bear Story’

Best Short Film – Live Action

  • ‘Ave Maria’
  • ‘Day One’
  • ‘Everything Will Be Okay’
  • ‘Shok’
  • ‘Stutterer’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Shok’
Actual Winner: ‘Stutterer’

Best Foreign-Language Film

  • ‘Embrace of the Serpent’, Colombia
  • ‘Mustang’, France
  • ‘Son of Saul’, Hungary
  • ‘Theeb’, Jordan
  • ‘A War’, Denmark

Josh’s prediction: ‘Son of Saul’
Actual Winner: ‘Son of Saul’

Best Original Screenplay

  • ‘Bridge of Spies’
  • ‘Ex Machina’
  • ‘Inside Out’
  • ‘Spotlight’
  • ‘Straight Outta Compton’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Spotlight’
Actual Winner: ‘Spotlight’

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • ‘The Big Short’
  • ‘Brooklyn’
  • ‘Carol’
  • ‘The Martian’
  • ‘Room’

Josh’s prediction: ‘The Big Short’
Actual Winner: ‘The Big Short’

Best Visual Effects

  • ‘Ex Machina’
  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
  • ‘The Martian’
  • ‘The Revenant’
  • ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
Actual Winner: ‘Ex Machina’

Best Cinematography

  • ‘Carol’
  • ‘The Hateful Eight’
  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
  • ‘The Revenant’
  • ‘Sicario’

Josh’s prediction: ‘The Hateful Eight’
Actual Winner: ‘The Revenant’

Best Original Score

  • Carter Burwell, ‘Carol’
  • Jóhann Jóhannsson, ‘Sicario’
  • Ennio Morricone, ‘The Hateful Eight’
  • Thomas Newman, ‘Bridge of Spies’
  • John Williams, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Josh’s prediction: ‘The Hateful Eight’
Actual Winner: ‘The Hateful Eight’

Best Costume Design

  • ‘Carol’
  • ‘Cinderella’
  • ‘The Danish Girl’
  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
  • ‘The Revenant’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Carol’
Actual Winner: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Best Production Design

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

Josh’s prediction: ‘Bridge of Spies’
Actual Winner: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Best Editing

  • ‘The Big Short’
  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
  • ‘The Revenant’
  • ‘Spotlight’
  • ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Josh’s prediction: ‘The Big Short’
Actual Winner: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Best Documentary Feature

  • ‘Amy’
  • ‘Cartel Land’
  • ‘The Look of Silence’
  • ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’
  • ‘Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Cartel Land’
Actual Winner: ‘Amy’

Best Documentary Short

  • ‘Body Team 12’
  • ‘Chau, Beyond the Lines’
  • ‘Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah’
  • ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’
  • ‘Last Day of Freedom’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah’
Actual Winner: ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
  • ‘The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared’
  • ‘The Revenant’

Josh’s prediction: ‘The Revenant’
Actual Winner: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Best Sound Editing

  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
  • ‘The Martian’
  • ‘The Revenant’
  • ‘Sicario’
  • ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
Actual Winner: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Best Sound Mixing

  • ‘Bridge of Spies’
  • ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
  • ‘The Martian’
  • ‘The Revenant’
  • ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
Actual Winner: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

Best Original Song

  • “Earned It” from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
  • “Manta Ray” from ‘Racing Extinction’
  • “Simple Song #3” from ‘Youth’
  • “Til It Happens to You” from ‘The Hunting Ground’
  • “Writing’s on the Wall” from ‘Spectre’

Josh’s prediction: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
Actual Winner: ‘Spectre’

Josh’s Final Score:

8 out of 24.


  1. itjustWoRX

    I nailed every award (that I guessed) until “Spotlight” took best picture. I even had Rylance for supporting actor.

    And as for biggest douche bag, I’ll give that to Chris Rock and the writers/producers. Every “joke” fell flat either with silence or nervous laughter. Runner-up goes to Sam Smith for proclaiming himself the first openly gay man to win an Oscar (guess he didn’t see ‘The Imitation Game’).

    After the ridiculously long opening monologue, and introducing Emily Blunt and “an even whiter woman, Charlize Theron,” I turned it off. Obviously the entire night was going to be about race. News flash Chris Rock, Charlize is more African than you are.

    Can’t wait for Kevin Hart’s nomination for “Ride Along 3” in 2017.


    • Elizabeth

      Just for the record, Sam Smith didn’t claim he was the first openly gay winner. He specifically said someone told him he would be the first openly gay winner if he won. He also stated he didn’t know if that were true or not.

    • Clark

      I also predicted Rylance would win – and I think he deserved it, he’s great in Bridge of Spies. Why on Earth would people think Sylvester Stallone had a chance?

      • Josh Zyber

        Stallone was the sentimental favorite, an industry veteran who’s made a great deal of money for the studios over the years, primarily in schlock movies, finally doing good and making something critically acclaimed. It’s the same reason Eddie Murphy was nominated for Dreamgirls.

        Of course, Murphy didn’t win either, so perhaps we should have seen this coming.

        • I haven’t seen Creed yet but I remember being a bit disappointed when I heard there was going to be another Rocky movie in the franchise. Rocky Balboa seemed like a perfect way to end the series and righted all the wrongs of the underhelming Rocky V. They’re really milking this character to a ridiculous point..part of me thinks “enough already”.

  2. Thulsadoom

    Very good point about Charlize Theron, itjustWoRX. 🙂 Totally agree!

    I have to admit, I haven’t watched the Oscars the last few years. There’s so rarely anything really impressive or interesting in contention these days.

    Looking through the lists, I was quite surprised how many awards ‘The Force Awakens’ was up for. Though most were technical, so to be expected. It’s funny, because unlike the other Star Wars films, TFA is so forgettable I never even thought about it for editing, sound or effects. As for the soundtrack, Williams was clearly just going through the motions…

    I was also surprised by how many nominations Mad Max had, given that it is the clearly the kind of film the Oscars would rarely acknowledge, let alone nominate (not really surprising it didn’t win anything, though).

  3. Hey Josh, prior to the ceremony, you predicted Quentin Tarantino to accept the Best Original Score award on Morricone’s behalf and ‘claim’ to have discovered him. So, did that happen?
    (I haven’t seen the ceremony, over here it airs from 2.30 to 5.30 am)

  4. Csm101

    I enjoyed the show for the most part. I tape it and fast forward through all the stuff I’m not interested in. I really enjoyed Brie Larson’s acceptance speech, sincere and brief. Ennio Morricone’s moment I thought was really emotional and was probably my favorite of the ceremony. My favorite bashing moment was when they did the Jack Black skit, hilarious! The Girl Scout cookies were great as I myself just went through selling a bunch for my daughter. Leo’s acceptance speech was pretty good until he Sean Penned the second half of it.

    • Clemery

      Totally agree… Brie Larson’s speech was exactly what they should all be like, short, sincere and to the point. She was walking away even before the music kicked in!
      I also loved that Morricone not only won (for his deserving score, IMO), but was there to collect in person, and his speech also felt very sincere and gracious. I love the callout to John Williams also, but for me I don’t think Williams is the talent he sued to be, and was lucky to be nominated for The Force Awakens.

  5. photogdave

    Best moment were Louie CK and the black history moment, which was basically a big FU to Will and Jada Smith.
    Most of the other jokes were just lame and there weren’t really any very memorable moments.

    • Clemery

      My favourite joke of the whole night… “And the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject goes to… Mad Max? What the…?”

  6. eric

    Mad Max: Fury Road is my go to demo disc right now for showing of my Atmos setup. Not sure why you think the mix is bad when it is more dynamic than most.

    • Josh Zyber

      It’s not dynamic at all, actually. Dynamic range requires variance between quiet and loud with a full spectrum of sounds in between. Fury Road is just all loud all the time non-stop.

      I’ve also been using that Blu-ray to test a new subwoofer, because I needed something with constant slamming bass and it has tons of that. The experience of sitting down to watch it as a movie, however, is like going to a heavy metal concert and sitting with your ear directly up against the loudspeaker for two hours. I do not consider that good sound mixing. YMMV.

      • Clemery

        Maybe its just me, but I seem to remember many quiet moments in the film. Sure, it was arguably one long action sequence (part of the high-concept appeal of the movie to me), but there were many instances where the film did pause from the action, leaving nothing but silence and quiet environmental background sounds. You should watch it again, as I really don’t see how you could legitimately argue it sounded like every single volume fader was pushed to the max unless its due to prejudiced exaggeration… but that’s just my opinion.

  7. Boston007

    Glad Leonardo finally won.

    A little surprised how many awards Mad Max won.

    I thought Inside Out was overrated. No other better animated movie last year?

      • Bolo

        I liked ‘When Marnie Was There’, too. Good storytelling.

        I haven’t seen ‘Inside Out’. I generally don’t find Pixar’s movies to be anything special. I’m not saying they’re bad. They mostly just feel like average kids stuff to me. But they seem to really captivate a lot of people so I figured ‘Inside Out’ was almost a guaranteed win.

        • Chaz

          Inside Out is definitely up there as one of their better films, an emotionally engaging real life story told through the emotions inside a girls head, how she deals with life, moving to a new city, making new friends and how the family as a whole also deals with these things, its great film making and probably one of the best examples of an animated movie playing to the strengths of its entire audience, walking the fine line of kids entertainment and drama, I had tears watching this one and only two other Pixar films have done that to me, Up and Toy Story 3, both amazing pieces of cinema 🙂

  8. Shaun666

    I’m amazed that Spotlight won best film. I thought it was really dull myself. The Revenant should have won. I think in years to come this will be looked on as one of the worst decisions ever by the Academy.

    • Chaz

      The Revenant is a visual masterpiece, it won for its directing which makes total sense and it won for its cinematography which was stunningly beautiful, also makes sense, but it wasnt the best movie, I havent seen Spotlight so I cant really say much there, but The Revenant didnt do much different outside of what I mentioned and it won awards for those 🙂

      • Chris B

        I agree, The Revenant is masterfully made and technically stunning, but not as emotionally engaging as it should be. It’s also too fucking long, sometimes less is more as opposed to more, more ,more of the same.

    • Chris B

      I don’t think the academy will ever make a worse decision it did than when Shakespeare in Love beat both The Thin Red Line AND Saving Private Ryan to win best picture. Not to mention Life is Beautiful and Elizabeth..WTF?

    • Boston007

      I agree with Chaz and ChrisB. I really liked Revenant for everything they mentioned but felt it wasn’t good enough to be Best Picture. I haven’t seen the other films though, so take that in mind too.

  9. I actually liked ‘The Revenant’ more than ‘Spotlight’, but both were good films, so I don’t feel ‘Spotlight’ undeserving at all. I may have felt that way had ‘The Big Short’ won though.

    Sly now joins my ‘robbed of an Oscar’ list, right below Mickey Rourke for ‘The Wrestler’ and Eddie Murphy for ‘Dreamgirls’. Fans will remember those three performances long after Mark Rylance in ‘Bridge of Spies’, Sean Penn in ‘Milk’, and Alan Arkin in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ have been forgotten (most of you have probably already forgotten!).

    I thought Chris Rock was just fine…he made me laugh a lot, which is all I can ask for from an Oscar host (even if selling cookies was a ‘rip-off’ of Ellen’s ordering pizza from a few years back).

    Finally, the Academy should be ashamed for nixing Abe Vigoda from the In Memoriam section. Yes, he was probably better know for his TV role as ‘Fish”, but the guy was in The Godfather for heaven’s sake…that’s not a big enough movie role for the Academy?

  10. Chris B

    I think Spotlight winning over the others is another example of a serious “message” movie winning out over entertainment value and artistic merit. The same kind of thing happened a few years ago when 12 Years a Slave beat Gravity or in 1990 when Dances With Wolves won over Goodfellas. Liberal guilt-ridden members of the academy being swayed by the politics surrounding the movies, as opposed to voting solely on the quality of the films.

    • Josh Zyber

      While I don’t disagree with your point, Gravity was never in any serious contention for the Best Picture prize. It was a populist pick put in there as a concession to viewers who tune out when all the nominees are low-grossing movies nobody has seen.

      • Chris B

        I’d actually have to disagree with you there Josh, from what I recall it was a dead-heat between 12 years a slave and Gravity. If you want to talk about a populist pick just put in there as a concession I’d totally agree that’s what both The Martian and Mad Max were this year.

        • Josh Zyber

          The race that year was really between 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle. Both won Golden Globes (for drama and comedy respectively). 12 Years won at the BAFTAs and Broadcast Film Critics Association, while Hustle won at the Screen Actors Guild.

          Although Gravity won with the Director’s Guild, that was considered a reward for its technical accomplishment (and it went on to take the Best Director Oscar for the same reason). It never stood a chance at Best Picture.

          • I actually do recall some buzz about “Gravity” making a last minute surge…much in the way last night a lot of entertainment pundits were predicting that “The Big Short” was going to win top prize…although a lot of that had to do with it winning the Producer’s Guild award.

          • American Hustle?! It didn’t win a single award that night! Gravity won 7 including director (which as you previously pointed out, usually goes to the guy who directed the movie that also wins best picture).

            I remember Ellen’s monologue going something like: “Either 12 years a slave will win best picture tonight….or you’re all a bunch of racists.” Which further reinforces my earlier point about “message movies” trumping entertainment and artistic merit. Rest assured, if Slave hadn’t won it, it would have gone to Gravity.

          • Josh Zyber

            Gravity’s wins were all in technical categories, just like Mad Max last night.

            Although American Hustle was ultimately shut out, its SAG win is typically considered a strong predictor for the Oscar. Spotlight also won at SAG this year, for example. Other recent BP winners that SAG called include Birdman, Argo, and The King’s Speech.

          • Timcharger

            You take Ellen’s joke about the silliness of the premise,
            that a voter is racist if they don’t vote for 12 Years, and you
            adopt the silly premise for your reasoning.

            So by your logic, the years for Django Unchained, Lincoln,
            Amistad, Color Purple, in those years the Academy felt
            okay being racist?!

            It’s a fair to debate if one thinks another is a better film
            than 12 Years a Slave. But you do know that your logic
            about guilt-ridden liberal Academy voters fear of being
            called racists didn’t produce Best Picture wins for many
            more slavery films.

          • Boston007

            Josh do you feel Mad Max was this year’s Gravity?

            I tend to agree with Chris B about the political message.

          • Al

            You couldn’t possibly be more wrong. Do your research. ‘Gravity’ was definitely the runner-up. In fact, many pundits believe that it’s loss to ’12 Years’ was one of the closest decisions in Oscar history. Gravity had all of the momentum going into the time that the voting occurred. Most experts think that it “lost by a nose.”

          • Chris Bennett

            Josh, I’m not sure why you seem to think that a film winning multiple technical awards negates it from winning best picture. What about Titanic? or LOTR: Return of the King? the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

          • Josh Zyber

            I’m not saying that negates a film from winning Best Picture. However, multiple technical wins do not automatically make something a front-runner for Best Picture. If that were true, Mad Max would have won Best Picture this year. Do you believe that Mad Max ever seriously stood a chance of that?

            I think some of you are misremembering the 2014 Oscar race. In the final stretch, American Hustle was hotly tipped to upset 12 Years a Slave after the SAG Awards. Gravity was a “Wouldn’t that be cool?” fantasy that some fanboys convinced themselves was real. It was never going to win.

          • Chris Bennett

            To answer your question, No I didn’t think Mad Max was going to win best picture. However, Gravity and Mad Max are different films. Also, with all due respect Josh I think you may be the one who’s mis-remembering the race. Go back and google the 2014 predictions. Here’s just a few examples from some major publications:




    • Chaz

      Well hopefully that changes in the next few years as the Academy starts to diversify the ethnicity and age of its members, its stupid to have a movie win just because it talks about an important subject, not that 12 Years a Slave shouldnt have won (I havent seen it) but Gravity was a masterful piece of film making all around it just didnt have the emotional impact that the winner had but that doesnt always make something like that a better film

    • Timcharger

      Chris B: “I think Spotlight winning over the others is another example of a serious “message” movie winning out over entertainment value and artistic merit… Liberal guilt-ridden members of the academy being swayed by the politics surrounding the movies, as opposed to voting solely on the quality of the films”

      Chris B: “I’ve only seen Mad Max and The Revenant.”

      I think deciding before seeing the evidence is another example of
      being swayed by personal politics, as opposed to deciding solely
      on the quality of the films.

      After I see the film, I certainly may agree with you about Spotlight
      versus Mad Max, versus the Revenant. But I will not pre-judge
      until I’ve actually seen the evidence.

      And if you have seen Spotlight from since you stated otherwise,
      then that of course negates my comment. I could be wrong.


      And the message in Spotlight is a liberal versus conservative
      thing?! Liberals stand up against big Church in defense of
      abused children? And conservatives believe rape regulations
      from big Government infringe on the rights of religion? There
      are no sides to this. What guilt-ridden liberal message can
      Spotlight possibly have?

      • Elizabeth

        Some issues definitely shouldn’t be political issues, but it comes down to profit. Climate change shouldn’t be a political issue but corporations that stand to lose from it have pushed forward junk science and politicians have been happy to take money to politicize it. It irks me to no end to have people say how it’s a hoax or some attempted power grab by the government. Or a scientific conspiracy to keep money rolling in (hint, lots of scientists also work as professors because being a full time scientist would leave them poor and homeless). The US is the only first world country that has a major political party still actively denying anthropogenic climate change. Of course I think we’re also the only country left that has more people who believe in angels and not evolution.

      • Chris Bennett

        Hey Tim, what I mean is this: Academy voters are made up of predominately white males (most of them of advanced age). Being that they’re in the arts I’d say it’s reasonable to assume that a majority of them are left-wing or liberal (now please don’t freak out here and ask me where I got my “data”), it’s a well-known fact that most celebrities are of the left-wing slant. Sure, there’s exceptions like Clint Eastwood or Vince Vaughan, but for the most part they tend to be liberal and probably vote democratic.

        In my opinion, if you look at specific examples in the history of the Oscars, you can see a trend of socially-relevant issue-orientated films winning out over what I feel were more deserving of best picture, and I think in part of that has to do with so-called “liberal-guilt”. Movies about rich, powerful white men abusing minorities or the vulnerable. I believe examples of this to be;

        12 Years a Slave beating Gravity (rich, sadistic slave-owners abusing blacks.)

        Dances with Wolves beating Goodfellas (genocidal, white soldiers massacring the American indian)

        Spotlight winning best picture last night (catholic priests in positions of power, sexually abusing young children).
        see what I’m saying? By awarding these films the major prize, it’s almost the academy’s way of saying “we acknowledge the sins of the past and sympathize with you because of it.”

        And for the record; no, I don’t think Django Unchained not winning best picture was the academy being racist. I doubt any Tarantino film ever will, if they didn’t give it to him for Pulp Fiction they’re not about to award him for his more outlandish work as his career has gone on.

        Oh and about the Ellen monologue? There’s an old expression that says “behind every joke there’s a little bit of truth” which seems rather apt with regards to this instance.

        • Timcharger

          No. Academy voters have no sins of the past in regards to
          being pedophile priests. Your theory just does not work
          when applied to Spotlight.

          Some Academy voters’ forefathers may have owned slaves,
          or some may have killed native Americans. But Catholic
          priest are not in their lineage.

          And your theory just does not work when applied to the
          many slavery films that were nominated and didn’t win
          Best Picture. I listed more than just Django Unchained,
          and you read and ignored the contrary evidence.

          The truth in Ellen’s joke is that there are people who
          mistakenly believe in that silly premise. The fear of being
          called racists will make the Academy vote a slavery film as
          Best Picture. You are proving the truth of the premise
          that Ellen was poking fun at.

          Let me guess, you have a theory that Schlinder’s LIst really
          sucks, and it won because of the guilt-ridden liberal
          sympathy vote?

          • No Tim, I actually think Schindler’s List won because it was the best movie nominated that year (I never said that this is something that happens every year) I’m saying in certain years, I believe politics have played a role in awarding the best picture Oscar to a films that didn’t deserve it as much as one of it’s competitors.

            You missed my point about catholic priests, they are also white men (some of them quite wealthy) who were in a position of power and used that to inflict abuses on a vulnerable group of people, much like the two previous examples I gave.

            I stand by my statement regarding Ellen’s monologue joke. It’s funny cuz it’s kinda true…

          • Timcharger

            I see your theory is that SOME years the Academy is
            fearful of being called a racist, and other years they
            don’t care. “It’s not something that happens every year.”


            And a new theory you added is that because the
            Catholic priests are WEALTHY WHITE MEN, that’s why
            the Academy voters had to vote for Spotlight. To send
            a “message” that they too fight the power, fight the
            WEALTHY WHITE MAN (or too guilt-ridden for being
            wealthy, White, and a man).

            Thank goodness the pedophile priests weren’t poor,
            non-White women. Otherwise, Hollywood might not
            shine a SPOTLIGHT on their crimes. And the Academy
            voters wouldn’t vote for Spotlight to send that


            And it sounds like you haven’t seen Spotlight, yet
            still want to pass judgement on how it didn’t merit
            the win.

          • Look, I’m going to say this one more time and leave it at that. It is my OPINION that in CERTAIN years of the academy awards,
            best picture has been awarded to a few films that may not have neccessarily been the BEST film that year, but were voted for based on a certain political message they were attempting to convey.

            I never said it happened all the time, that the academy voters are/aren’t racist, that being wealthy is a bad thing etc. and let me remind that I’ve consistently maintained this is only MY opinion. So feel free to disagree with me about it.

            Fair enough?

    • Clark

      I agree with you. Gravity is way better than 12 Years, and Spotlight is kinda dull – it deals with an important, “big” theme, but it didn’t move me or made me care about any of those reporters (why was Rachel McAdams nominated?).

  11. Timcharger

    Josh: “There are few careers as environmentally wasteful as filmmaking.”

    Hey Josh, you say that with some kind of authority. Like there was some
    kind of study that L.A.’s and Vancouver’s landfills grow at a higher rate,
    disproportionate to their populations? You gonna cite some evidence
    about how the air quality outside the Warner Bros studio lot is worse
    than the air outside a coal mining facility? Ground toxicity studies at
    Paramount studios indicate more pollutants than an oil refinery?

    Or do you want to say, you just conjured that statement up?

    • Timcharger

      Seriously, this rant:
      “The Obnoxious Hypocrite of the Evening award goes to Leonardo DiCaprio for turning his acceptance speech into a super-preachy rant about climate change. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel that a millionaire movie star who gets ferried to film sets around the world in private jets has any right to harangue me for not driving a Prius.”

      Your rant is much more of a tirade than what Leo said.
      Louis C.K. made a reference to a Honda Civic, but no
      utterance of a Prius was spoken by Leo.

      If Leo promoted celibacy and the perils of dating a new
      Victoria Secret model every month, only then would he
      win the Obnoxious Hypocrite of the Evening award.

    • Josh Zyber

      Film productions expend vast resources to construct temporary and fake things that are thrown out in three weeks. Leo’s movie this year is set in frontier times. How many trees did the crew chop down to make log cabins that nobody will use afterwards? Were all of the furs and pelts fake? The production was divided between Canada and Argentina, which means that the entire cast and crew had to be flown between continents with all of their equipment.

      • Timcharger

        Yes, vast amounts of resources are used in pursuit of art. The passion
        to get a dream realized requires expenses.

        You speak of travel to onsite locations, but you obviously know of the
        short travels down to the back lots to the green screens filmed in a
        warehouse. More and more work in being done digitally than ever

        Revenant had a travel budget. For every Revenant, there are twenty,
        forty, sixty films without a travel budget.

        And your statement is a relative one. How many thousands of test
        firings and millions of gallons of fuel are used to develop a new rocket?
        How many tons of disclosure and disclaimer printings are used by the
        financial services industry? How many single-use plastic bottles are
        used by the bottled water industry every year?

        And if there is an industry that will plan a budget to replanting trees,
        to spend money on cancelling out their carbon footprint, to promote
        sustainable sourcing of their needs… the film industry is the going to
        be one of the early adopters.

        Point is: your statement was a shoot-from-the-hip comment.

        You not driving a Prius was not thrown at you by Leo. You heard
        that in your own head. And your filmmaking-is-environmentally-
        evil line, it fit your rant narrative, so you just made it up.

        • cardpetree

          So what you are saying is that the real hypocrites are the Obama administration? Right on man! I can dig it!

  12. Boston007

    “The Obnoxious Hypocrite of the Evening award goes to Leonardo DiCaprio for turning his acceptance speech into a super-preachy rant about climate change. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel that a millionaire movie star who gets ferried to film sets around the world in private jets has any right to harangue me for not driving a Prius. There are few careers as environmentally wasteful as filmmaking.”

    DiCaprio is one of my favorite actors and I’m glad he won Best Actor(finally).

    That being said, I agree with Josh. Heck, I usually give DiCaprio a break when he uses social media for this stuff. That’s where he should.

    To use the podium at the Oscars after you’ve won an award is ridiculous.

  13. EM

    I had no horse in this race except that I’d entered a “pick the winner” contest in the animated-short category. With that 1 pick I am proud to say my accuracy rate this year is 100%!

  14. Clemery

    Is there seriously nothing positive you can say about the Oscars Josh? Jokes that don’t land, awkward presenter interactions, sappy category descriptions, preachy acceptance speeches… these are all Oscar staples, and all part of the fun for me.
    I quite enjoyed last nights telecast, for all the highs and lows it contained, and was no better or worse than any previous ceremony I’ve seen, since they all feel very much the same. I guess what helped last night to stand out was the focus on racial discrimination, and I was actually surprised that Chris Rock and co took jabs at both sides of the argument. I also think it made sense that the Academy chose to focus the ceremony on this issue, as it made such a big splash in the internet paddling pools that it would have been embarrassingly weird for the Academy to try and gloss over it. Agreed, many jokes didn’t go over well at all, with the Stacey Dash appearance probably being met with the biggest silence… which still makes for good TV (IMO).
    The awards went out mostly to my picks or favourites, and was also happy to see Mad Max get lavished in the technical awards, so much so that I was hopeful for a Director and Picture win, but once the director went to Inarritu, I knew Max’s chances were over… still, never expected Spotlight to be announced for the top prize though (personally I don’t really see it as BP, but I know others were extremely moved by it).

    Ultimately, perhaps next years Oscars can be reviewed by someone a little more positive about the movie industry, as Josh has already admitted that he has barely seen any of the nominees, nor has any interest in seeing them, and the arguments in the recap above apply to nearly every single Oscar telecast I have seen (every single one since 1992!), so it would be good to have a recap from someone who knows that the Oscars aren’t really about greatness, and can enjoy them for what they are.

    • Clemery

      Sorry… that seemed to come out a little meaner than I had anticipated. But I do stand by the point that you seem a little “over” movies lately Josh.

      • I only think Josh is over mediocre movies. He wants Hollywood to step up, change the scheme, alter the mood and electrify the boys and girls in the audience.

        • Clemery

          That is exactly what 2015 did for me though… stepped it up, altered the mood, elevated the medium past its complacency developed in recent years and electrified this particular audience member moreso than any other year this past decade. Mad Max aside (which for me brought back the awe and excitement I didn’t even fully realise was missing from modern cinema), I thought it was an amazing year for franchise entries and former-favourite artists/genres returning to form. The Hateful 8 was my favourite Tarantino film since Kill Bill Vol 1, and films like MI5, Unfriended, FF7, Inside Out all breathed new life into their respective (and, IMO, stagnant) genres/franchises/studios. Add to these an above average Marvel film (Ant-Man), a pretty good return to a galaxy far, far away, and other unique gems like Room, The Revenant, Ex Machina, etc. Shit, I even really liked Fantastic Four (well, the first half anyway). I’d say Spotlight is amongst my least favourite of the year… its competently made, but didn’t make much of an impact on me.

          The point is, with most years I am struggling to find films I love to fill out my top ten… with 2015, I am struggling to fit them all into my top 20… so not sure what makes 2015 such a “mediocre” year (other than a great line from Immortan Joe!)

    • Josh Zyber

      The Oscars are always boring. That’s no surprise. However, this year felt particularly grueling given that Chris Rock only had the one joke he kept hammering the entire night (Hollywood is racist, but that’s OK because it’s not that racist). For a guy complaining about lack of diversity, his material could have used a little.

      And my lord, when it’s 11 o’clock and the damn show hasn’t even gotten to the Live Action Short category, the whole format of the ceremony needs to be thrown out and rebuilt from scratch, because this just isn’t working.

      • cardpetree

        I never watch the Oscars, a lot of people including myself probably only watched this time to see Chris Rock tell us how racist liberal Hollywood is. I just watched the opening monologue though. I can only imagine that if he stayed with the same material the entire show, that it would’ve gotten old pretty quick.

      • Clemery

        Different strokes, I guess… as I typically enjoy the ceremonies (even the Anne Hathaway/James Franco one!)… mostly on the “celebration of movies” basis, but I guess I have been an annual vewier for so many years now that it is just a part of me, and would also suggest that maybe is in part due to an interest to see how they try to improve it each year, some of which work, others that don’t.

        I thought that the ticker-tape idea was a stroke of genius, and while I agree with you that it seemed a bit pointless when the winners went on to thank the same people in their speeches anyway, it was only the first year this was implemented and I hope to see future winners to get more used to this idea, as it can certainly save a bit of time.

        I don’t really have a problem with the length of the show, as they have always been over-long, I do admit that I am not at the mercy of the live show (I live in Western Australia), so I have the luxury of just flicking through the ads (and the Gene Hirshalt award) on my DVR recording when I get home from work… on the downside, this means I have to be on complete media blackout for 6-7 hours!

        I don’t know why I didn’t tire of the constant racial commentary throughout the ceremony, as I do agree that there was a fair amount of repetition… but I have actually been quite interested in this storm-in-a-teacup (or more specifically, the mis-reporting of it), and was fully expecting a strong focus on it throughout the broadcast, and I was impressed to see that both sides of the argument were addressed and made fun of (although the balance was a little more to the dark side).

        On a more personal level, I also got great satisfaction out of Ennio Morricone’s win and speech, I thought Louis C.K.’s intro to the Documentary Short Film category was one of the best of all time (even if it was slightly undermined by the winner announcing that it was her second win!), and had a great time giving shit to the Bond song!

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