If you’ve ever had a look at the history of Oscar wins, it won’t be difficult to predict the winners. (Whether they deserve it or not is an all together different thing). Having said that, Academy members have couple of tricks up their sleeves to surprise you. This year’s Oscars have been no different. Take a look:
1. Best Direction: Alejandro Inarritu for The Revenant
Let’s get this straight! More than anyone else, The Revenant largely feels like Emmanuel’s film than Leonardo DiCaprio and Iñárritu’s. He shot the film in natural light that rendered ethereal appearance to the film giving multiple eye-gasms. And he deserving-ly won his third Oscar in a row, making him the first film-maker to achieve so. Having said that, The Revenant was a well-directed film, but not worthy of getting Alejandro G. Iñárritu the best director award, his second. The daddy of action film-makers George Miller was far more deserving of it for his outrageous road trip on the acid, Mad Max: Fury Road, the brain-child of Miller’s wild imagination with its heart at the right place.
Unlike Alejandro, Miller’s deft direction lent a subtle humane quality to the film that helped viewers connect with the characters and root for them. In The Revenant, the relationship between Hugh Glass and his son feels half baked. Even when Glass’s son is killed, you don’t feel anything for him, until he screeches and his eyes almost pop out in despair. Thus, basing the entire revenge saga on very immaturely handled relationship.
2. Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
Now, this Oscars win left me perplexed. Alicia Vikander had two releases last year – The Danish Girl and Ex Machina. She certainly deserved the award in this category but not for The Danish Girl. Moreover, she had a full-fledged role in the film. Logically speaking, she should’ve been nominated in the Best Actress category. This is not the first time Oscar has done category fraud. Rooney Mara, who won Best Actress (for Carol) at Cannes, too was wrongly nominated in this category to avoid a clash with Cate Blanchett. Nevertheless, I am happy Alivia Vikander won. It does hurt that she won it for the less deserving The Danish Girl instead of Ex Machina.
3. Visual Effects: Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett for Ex Machina
This came as a pleasant surprise. While many were certain that either Star Wars: Force Awakens or Mad Max: Fury Road would take home the Oscars, heart of heart, I wanted Ex Machina to win, and why not! It boasts one of the most elegant, subtle, and sophisticated visuals. The effects in Ex Machina are done in post-production unlike the typical practice of green screen sequences or motion capture during the shooting of the film. Vikander’s robotic appearance felt more believable.
4. Song: Writing’s on the Wall from Spectre
Writing’s on the wall is by far Bond’s weakest song, and even the most ardent Sam Smith fans would agree. While many speculated that Til It Happens To You (by Lady Gaga, The Hunting Ground) might win, I was rooting for Simple Song #3, the only nomination for Youth. No other song in the category renders that profound emotional depth to the story.
5. Animated Short: Bear Story
Though Sanjay’s Super Team was tipped as the hot favorite for the Best Animated Short, Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow is a masterpiece that deserved to win every bit. The latter encapsulates a large spectrum of emotions in those 16 minutes that even a brilliant feature film fails to capture. Thought-provoking science fiction elements perfectly fused with human drama left me with horrid images and ideas of life and death, longer after I finished watching the film.
By Nafees Ahmed
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