By Kameron Clem
The Oscars. A Staple of the film industry for almost ninety years. A place where the best films from the past year compete to take home one of the illustrious golden statuettes.
The 88th rendition was nothing short of a huge night. Now, “huge” is a pretty subjective term because one person may say it was a “huge” night for “Mad Max: Fury Road” winning six awards for the night; more than any other film. One may say that it was a “huge” night for Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Oscar for Best Actor that many believe he deserved four other times. And one person may say that it was a “huge” night for the people who just got to be involved with the making of one of the nominated films. Whatever your definition of huge is, there is no denying that the Eighty-Eighth Academy Awards was a huge night.
Starting off the night were Chris Rock’s biting jabs at the Academy for the lack of nominations for African Americans. He set the tone for the night in his subtly uncomfortable opening monologue.
“If you want more black nominees just have black categories,” Rock said.
As Rock wrapped up his speech the category for Best Original Screenplay hit the screen. “Spotlight” won the award. The next award, Best Adapted Screenplay went to “The Big Short” a film very much about getting money out of politics.
Next was the award for Best Supporting Actress, which went to Alicia Vikander for her role in “The Danish Girl”. A film about a transgender woman who was the first to undergo treatments to change her sex from male to female.
Next began the reign of “Mad Max: Fury Road”, taking home six awards for production design, costumes, makeup/hairstyling, editing, sound editing and sound mixing. With only one award in between those six, the award for Best Cinematography, going to “The Revenant”.
After that, the night became a little harder to predict because everything that was up for a nomination was a triumph of filmmaking. The first example of that is “Ex Machina” winning for Best Visual Effects despite being up against “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” and “Mad Max: Fury Road”, among others.
The next segment of the show was dedicated to raising money for Chris Rock’s daughter’s girl scout troupe.
“Help my daughters beat Linda Dunn… Come on Leo, you made 30 million,” Rock joked.
Once again, Rock fills the Dolby Theater with a subtle uncomfortable feeling but in such a comedic way that it is almost unnoticeable.
The awards continued with the Best Animated Feature going to “Inside Out” and Best Supporting Actor to Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies”. Then something very unexpected happened. Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden appeared and gave a speech about the issue of sexual assault on college campuses and that no one is to blame for those tragedies except the people who commit them. It was a very poignant speech because directly after it, Lady GaGa poured her heart and soul into performing her Oscar nominated song about sexual abuse “Till It Happens to You” from the film, “The Hunting Ground”. Many people in the audience were left in tears after her performance and it’s not hard to imagine many people watching at home being in tears either. However, Lady GaGa ended up not winning the award for Best Original Song. Instead it went to Sam Smith for the song, “Writings on the Wall” for the James Bond film, “Spectre”.
The next four awards were the biggest of the night. Best Director went to Alejandro Innaritu for “The Revenant”. Best Actress went to Brie Larson for “Room”. Best Actor went to Leonardo DiCaprio for his performance in “The Revenant” and Best Picture went to “Spotlight”.