2016 #OscarsSoLong: Post mortem

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Leo went home with Oscar.® Iñárritu made history, but the real winner may have been host Chris Rock.

The 88th Academy Awards won’t necessary be remembered for who won, but for who wasn’t represented. In a messy, political and sometimes tense telecast, host Chris Rock went straight for the jugular at the lack of diversity in the nominations in his opening monologue. And rightfully so, with his bottom line being – we want opportunity. Rock was not above KOing the status quo, and BBQing some higher profile actors of color who chose to boycott the event. Some of the star-studded audience laughed, and some squirmed.

One of Rock’s sharpest observations (I’m paraphrasing): ‘…during the 1960s, the Oscars did not attract this kind of controversy because black people had real things to protest.’ Or his too-close-to-the-bone joke about the In Memoriam section  – saying that it could be images of black people shot by cops on the way to the movies.

Some of the short film inserts throughout the night were less successful in making a point, but all in all, I’m glad that Chris Rock stepped up to the difficult position he was placed in, using his razor-sharp observations, and didn’t step down as host. And he sold quite a few Girl Scout cookies too.

Spreading the love

Happy to report that the Oscar love was spread around far more than my predictions (16 correct of 24) foretold. Six of the eight best picture nominees went home with at least one gong. My totals may be off a bit, but the count went something like this.

  1. Mad Max / 6
  2. The Revenant / 3
  3. Spotlight / 2
  4. The Big Short / 1
  5. The Danish Girl / 1
  6. Room / 1
    ************
  7. Bridge of Spies / 1
  8. Ex Machina / 1

The ensembles

More is definitely less: Because the red carpet hosts could no longer ask the female talent who they were wearing – #AskHerMore was the directive – the interviews were even more painful. Perhaps there’s a reason that fashion details have been the norm on the meaningless red carpet. Go back to asking her less.

It was an elegant year for women with many stunning knockouts.

Highlights: Charlize Theron ablaze in red, Alicia Vikander shimmering in yellow, Cate Blanchett blossoming in mint green, Charlotte Rampling sparkling in black + white sequins, Olivia Munn glowing in orange and Daisy Ridley svelte in silver.

For the men: Eddie Redmayne, smart and slimline; Tom Hardy rocking shades and a fob; and Common, sleek in a narrow white tux with black bow tie and shoes.

Lowlights: Heidi Klum in a lavender frosting-like one shoulder number, Rooney Mara in an overly-complex design, and Kate Winslet in an ill-fitting, charcoal metallic strapless tube-dress.

Oscar upsets and surprises

> Ex Machina winning for best visual effects (the film with the tiniest budget)

> Mark Rylance winning Best Supporting Actor in Bridge of Spies over presumed, sentimental favorite Sly Stallone

> Best presenter of the night: Louis CK for Best Documentary Short, “This Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic.”

> Best winning moment: Chile’s first Oscar win for Best Animated Short, Bear Story.

Chris Rock’s sign-off was played out with Kool & The Gang’s Hollywood Swinging. Nice touch, as we await the organizational changes that are promised.

What was your take on the Oscars 2016 telecast?

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