By Mark Saldana
As the old adage goes, “The show must go on.” And the awards show honoring 2015’s achievements in motion picture arts and sciences did go on, amidst controversy regarding a lack of diversity among this year’s nominees. This issue led to the boycott by some actors and filmmakers, including Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith and her husband Will Smith. This didn’t deter comedian Chris Rock from hosting the ceremony, and in fact, gave him loads of material for his comedy. During the show, Rock often made jokes about the issue, but at the same time did acknowledge some validity of the complaints.
His humor mostly worked well to diffuse the awkwardness of the controversy. However, a few jokes and gags fell flat and only added to the uneasiness of the situation (the bizarre appearance of Stacey Dash). Ellen Degeneres may have taken selfies and ordered pizza while hosting the Oscars, but Chris Rock helped his daughter and her friends sell Girl Scout cookies to the audience, raising 65, 000 dollars. So, despite the “elephant in the room”, things went mostly smoothly and the audience had the opportunity to snack on tasty cookies and raise money for a worthy cause.
I have to say that Rock did an outstanding job for the most part. It has been quite a while since I have seen Rock perform stand-up, so I had forgotten what a talented comedian he is. Rock did well by keeping his jokes fairly clean, but intelligently offered his critique of the issues surrounding racial discrimination which still seems to be lingering around, despite the advancements the human race has made as a whole.
As far as the winners are concerned, Spotlight took the night’s highest honor, while Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first gold statuette. Mad Max: Fury Road won a great share of technical awards and Alejandro G. Iñárritu won the Best Director Award for a second year in a row. The Academy Awards signals the end of the film awards season for 2015. 2016 may have already begun, but cinephiles may have to wait until the fall and winter to see any major awards contenders to make their impressions for next year.
Here is a complete list of all the Oscar winners:
Best Picture: Spotlight
Direction: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant
Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Actress: Brie Larson, Room
Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Original Screenplay: Spotlight, Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
Cinematography: The Revenant, Emmanuel Lubezki
Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road, Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson (set decoration)
Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road, Margaret Sixel
Visual Effects: Ex Machina, Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road, Jenny Beavan
Makeup: Mad Max: Fury Road, Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Marti
Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road, Mark Mangini and David White
Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
Score: The Hateful Eight, Ennio Morricone
Song: “Writing’s on the Wall,” from Spectre, Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary)
Animated Feature: Inside Out
Documentary Feature: Amy
Animated Short: Bear Story
Documentary Short: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Live Action Short: Stutterer