Random Thoughts on the 2016 Oscars


As is customary each and every year I like to look back and share a few thoughts and reflections on the Academy Awards. As usual there were several winners who were easy to predict, but there were some big surprises and a handful of news-worthy moments. There were also several times where all I could do was shake my head. But enough of the rambling. Here are a few random thoughts off the top of my head:

  • Chris Rock – I actually don’t think his job was quite as hard as some think. I felt he was more or less criticism-proof and that proved to be true as he has been praised far and wide despite a few missteps. He had some funny jokes, but his monologue delivery was pretty messy. And the Girl Scout Cookies thing – meh.
  • Rock – “Jamie Fox is one of the best actors in the world”. That was his best joke of the night. Oh wait, he was serious?
  • Thrilled that “Spotlight” won for Best Original Screenplay. It was such a wonderful accomplishment and the script was the key to its brilliance.
  • Despite some dull and boring presenters (I’m looking at you Sarah Silverman and Patricia Arquette), it seems fashionable to hate on the appearance of the Minions. I think it was fun and heaven forbid we have a brief 30 seconds of the show that kids may enjoy.
  • The first surprise came early. Alicia Vikander beats Kate Winslet for Best Supporting Actress? Can’t say I saw that one coming. Winslet had won everything up to this point. I guess you never know.


  • Chris Rock made a joke about race.
  • Great to see Andy Serkis recognized as a true, genuine acting talent. The brief video montage showing his work was a deserving showcase of his amazing work. Glad to see the Academy and his peers paying him some attention.
  • The geek in me yelped for joy when the Star Wars droids came out. I was as giddy as Jacob Tremblay.
  • “Ex Machina” was a good film and it certainly looks fabulous, but Best Visual Effects over “Mad Max: Fury Road”? I simply don’t see it.
  • But don’t feel bad for “Mad Max”. The film hit a furious run raking in one technical Oscar after another. It ended up winning six Academy Awards on the night. Not bad!
  • On the other hand two of my favorites went home empty handed – “Sicario” and “Brooklyn”. It’s really no surprise but a guy could hope, right?
  • So the James Bond theme from “Spectre” won for best original song? I’m no music guru but I did anyone actually like that song?
  • How could you not love it when Abraham Attah and Jacob Tremblay came out to present? Both were a lot of fun and it could be said both deserved Oscar nominations of their own.


  • Chris Rock made a joke about race.
  • Emmanuel Lubezki wins the Best Cinematography Oscar for the third year in a row! I loved Deakins work in “Sicario”, but “The Revenant” was a visual masterpiece. Well deserved Chivo!
  • Mark Rylance beats the frontrunner Sylvester Stallone for Best Supporting Actor. Unbelievable. No one can argue Rylance was bad, but considering Sly’s work (and the great performances that weren’t nominated) it was far from the best of the year. In the end Rylance simply didn’t leave a huge impression on me. A headshaker.
  • And continuing that thought, will Stallone ever get another shot at an Oscar? Sadly, who knows.
  • Joe Biden comes out to the classic Indiana Jones theme? Ummm, no.
  • Absolutely thrilled that “Son of Saul” won for Best Foreign Language Film. Sure it was the frontrunner but so was Stallone. This was a intensely powerful film that needs to be seen.
  • I think “Amy” is a fine documentary, but I can’t express how much I wanted “The Look of Silence” to win. Its brilliance and importance simply can’t be overstated. It deserved the recognition.
  • Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentaries “The Act of Killing” and “The Look of Silence” both lost the Oscar to music docs. Let that sink in for a second.
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu becomes only the third person to ever win back-to-back Best Director Oscars. Didn’t care for his “Birdman” win, but “The Revenant” was well deserved. Bravo.

88th Annual Academy Awards - Show

  • Chris Rock shows a video about race.
  • The transition music was peculiar and a bit schizophrenic the entire night. The movie tunes they played were so oddly random. Julianne Moore walks out to “Mrs. Robinson”? Brie Larson wins her Oscar to “Goldfinger”? Weird.
  • Brie Larson’s win for Best Actress was predictable. And while deep down I was rooting for Saoirse Ronan, I’m thrilled for Larson. She was fabulous. No drama in this category, but a very deserving win.
  • Speaking of predictable, Leo DiCaprio’s Oscar drought is over. He wins Best Actor in the most sure-thing award of the night. But that’s okay. He deserved it, and the standing ovation he received was a really good moment.
  • Just a note, every acting award went to first time Oscar winners. That’s pretty cool.
  • And that brings us back to “Spotlight”, this year’s Best Picture winner. I gotta say I’m thrilled, but I never saw it coming. I felt it had an outside chance, but so much pointed to “The Revenant”. “Spotlight” was my favorite film from 2015 and it was a wonderful way to end the show.
  • Ultimately this year’s Oscars was a pleasant mix of obvious and surprise. It did feel the entire show was in reactionary damage control mode. Chris Rock’s race jokes flirted with overkill, and he didn’t help himself by spouting a racist Asian joke himself. But he also had some funny moments that worked pretty well. Not horrible, but far from the monumental hosting job some are painting it as. For me it was about the movies, and I almost feel they were overshadowed. But it was still a fun night (as Oscar night always is).

Tom McCarthy, Michael Keaton

35 thoughts on “Random Thoughts on the 2016 Oscars

  1. I was fine with all of the winners that were chosing. I wanted Sylvester Stallone to win, but wasn’t too angry that he lost. Wait…That stupid Bond song from Sam Shepard won over Lady Gaga’s beautiful song that had an important message. WTF Oscars. Most of Rock’s jokes about Race were ok, and I liked his response of “If your offended by this Asian joke, tweet about it on your phones that these kids have probably made” but the comedian that was the best was Louie CK. His presentation on Best Short Documentary Film was really good.

    • Yep. Bond beat Gaga. I don’t get it. I haven’t heard anyone talk about how much they love that tune. I thought some of Rock’s jokes landed. I just got tired of it and felt it eventually overshadowed the movies. It was like the Academy was so determined to make a statement. I did love the video at the Compton theater. And the Jada joke was brutally funny. I thought Louie CK was pretty good. A little long-winded but good.

      I gotta say though, I hated that Stallone lost. As I mentioned, Rylance was good, but it isn’t a performance that left an impression and I probably won’t be talking about it down the road.

  2. “Despite some dull and boring presenters (I’m looking at you Sarah Silverman and Patricia Arquette)” Dude…Arquette made my ears and eyes bleed. Girl needed to get it together. Overall, a lot of surprises both good and bad. Not stoked about Spotlight, but whatever!

    • Not a fan of “Spotlight”? What was it about the film that pushed you away. I’m genuinely interested because I thought it was exceptional on every level.

      And what was up with Arquette??? Silverman was just unfunny but Arquette seemed like she was under hypnosis. I was waiting for her to bark like a dog and hop on one leg!

  3. The Bond song winning was literally Writing on the Wall. That was about the only guarantee. Mark Rylance was the best thing about Bridge of Spies, but I’m not sure that film will remain in memory real long nor that performance. I just knew Sly was going to win that. I also claim Alicia Vikander’s win is for both The Man from UNCLE and Ex Machina. That’s my head canon and I’m sticking with it lol! Also I wasn’t down with the Best Director choice. I think with all those technical awards Mad Max took home, the guidance of George Miller would have be recognized. Much like Gravity a few years ago with Alfonso Curon.

    • I really thought Sly had it. I’m pretty disappointed. Again Rylance was good but you’re right, that performance isn’t going to be something we remember.

      As for Director, I really like AGI’s win. That said, I would have loved to see George Miller win and you make a great point about his oversight of the technical accomplishments. He was the ringleader and who is to say he didn’t deserve being rewarded for that?

  4. I thought that, in order to win Best Picture, a film needed to win in at least 2 other categories. I knew that SPOTLIGHT was only a front-runner for Original Screenplay, so I didn’t think it would win. By the end of the night, it had only won that award while THE REVENANT had won Director and a couple more, so I assumed the latter was going to win. I’m not upset about the results, since I thought both were equally good, but I am upset about losing in the prediction contests.

    BEAR STORY is the first Chilean movie to win an Oscar! Yay!

    As for your thoughts:
    1) I only like the Minions on small doses (a spin-off was a bad idea). 30 seconds? No problem!
    2) I’m pretty sure Alicia had won more awards than Kate. In fact, Kate only won whenever Alicia was nominated as a lead.
    3) I haven’t seen EX MACHINA but, if its low-budget visual effects look as good as big-budget visual effects, it deserved to win, right?
    4) I thought WRITING’S ON THE WALL was average and forgettable. However, I didn’t love any of the nominees.
    5) You’re right about the transition music. I also heard a couple of songs that aren’t even from movies (like The Verve’s BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY).

    • I don’t think there are any requirements about winning a certain number of awards to win Best Picture. That said Spotlight is only the second or third film to ever win BP with only one other win.

      When they announced Bear Story I thought about you. I told my wife “I know someone who is happy right now”.

      1. Agree. The Minions Movie…nope.
      2. I know Winslet won a Golden Globe and BAFTA and she beat Vikander in both of those contests. But now that you mention it I do remember Vikander beating Winslet at the SAG Awards.
      3. Maybe. But I still go for Mad Max. I think what blew me away was how they used so many traditional visual effects. Some CGI in spots but the majority was old school special effects.
      4. To be honest none of the nominees did much for me either. I just don’t remember anyone who has loved Writing on the Wall. Seemed like a surprise choice.
      5. WOW! I missed that one. That makes it even more bizarre!

    • I remember you didn’t care for The Revenant. I really liked it but I definitely liked Spotlight better. Wasn’t expecting it to win the big prize. I wouldn’t have been a bit upset if Mad Max had taken it though.

  5. I didn’t watch the Oscars as I was too busy doing other things though I did see Brie and Leo win which I was ecstatic about as I was also happy for Spotlight as it was a nice surprise for a film that is really good.

  6. I know it was predictable and I don’t grudge it in the slightest by I was hoping Leo was left waiting a little longer and The Fass took best actor. I was hugely impressed with his work in Steve Jobs. That said, I don’t have any major complaints overall. I was also kinda hoping Hardy got Best supporting actor. Hey Ho!

    • The Rylance win didn’t do anything for me. Good performance – a strength of the film. But it has left little impression on me since I saw it. Stallone and Hardy were quite different. Both gave performances that have stuck with me. Of course I still think it’s a shame Idris Elba wasn’t nominated.

  7. I only watched Chris Rock’s monologue, which I enjoyed. Personally I don’t think that the Oscars, or award shows in general, have an accurate reading of the film atmosphere though I was pleased for the wins of Spotlight and Morricone.

    • My link to them is the history. I love the long line of great (and even not so great) winners through the many years. They rarely match my opinions when it comes to films (this year actually being an exception – Spotlight was my favorite from last year), but I have a lot of fun with the Oscars. I like talking about the movies, my agreements, and disagreements.

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