Do we really care about the Oscars?
The 88th Academy Awards is an annual American awards ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences.
We know it as the “Oscars”, the origins of which are largely uncertain. The popular story is that an Academy librarian thought the statue resembled her Uncle Oscar and the Acadamy staff began referring to it as ‘Oscar’. But that is truly uninspiring.
Perhaps more fittingly this year it’s an abbreviation for “Obnoxious Stars Calling America Racist Show”
This is the second year in a row that only white actors and actresses were among the chosen few in the top four categories. As such there has been a massive backlash and a real concern about the diversity in Hollywood.
Again. Does it really matter? One would hope that the films and filmmakers that made the list this year are genuinely acknowledged for their work and not their skin colour.
Did “Straight Outta Compton” deserve a nomination for best picture and “Beasts of No Nations’s” Idris Elba for best supporting actor?
The other contenders are worthy adversaries – who would you replace with who?
The Academy is made up of the people who make the films. The awards show has several functions; to reward excellence, but also show the many forms excellence can occupy.
The many forms of excellence. Mmmm. So perhaps it does matter. The films being recognised again this year have white nominees and while their films tell stories and are recognised, there are millions of other people, ethnicities and stories that should also be recognised, rewarded and heard. But seemingly, and continually, are not.
It is strikingly obvious at the lack of colour in the class photo of the nominees of the 88th Academy Awards.
#OscarsSoWhite – Maybe not in 2017. Look out for “Birth”, “Morris from America”, “Southside With You” and “Collateral Beauty” with Will Smith to name but a few.
Those ‘lucky’ enough – and I say ‘lucky’ with air-rabbit fingers, because many find it a curse – to receive a little golden statue, officially called the Acadamy Award of Merit, get their few seconds of breathless acceptance.
And more often than not we are rewarded with a stumble, a ramble, a tear or a rant.
This is Oscar gold. Not, Oscar Gold the Jewish tailor, but pure TV gold.
I think this is why most of us watch.
Yes, we want to see who wins. But really we want to see the actors, naked.
No character to hide behind.
I love the opening monologue. I genuinely hope for something special. I’m a big Hugh Jackman fan. All singing. All dancing. Cheeky, charming, charismatic and funny.
I also love the raw, passive aggressive, laugh out loud, borderline abuse of Ricky Gervais.
While he has yet to host an Oscars, his Golden Globes appearances have been absolutely brilliant. He is polarising. You love him or you hate him. Someone making the decisions really loves his work. He has been invited 3 times to host.
I can’t wait for him to invade the Oscars and set off a few firecrackers.
The monologues, the celebrity presenters, the red carpet, the interviews. That to me is the Oscars.
Give me an Oscars where Jennifer Lawrence trips on the way up to collect an Oscar, where Cuba Gooding Junior pumps the air with his fist, where Jeff Bridges accepts his while apparently stoned, where Ellen takes a group selfie and where Roberto Benigni’s bounds over seats to collect his Oscar.
Show me the raw emotion. The honesty. The humility.
So strap on your heels, button that tux and hope that on Sunday 28th February 2016 the 88th Academy Awards brings us something unique and memorable.
And so as the orchestra plays me off, here are my predictions for the top 6 categories of the 2016 Academy Awards.
“The Big Short”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Bridge of Spies”
My Predicted Winner: “The Revenant”
Potential Spoiler: “Spotlight”
Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)
Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)
Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)
My Predicted Winner: Leonardo DiCaprio
Potential Spoiler: Eddie Redmayne
Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)
Brie Larson (“Room”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)
Predicted Winner: Cate Blanchett
Potential Spoilers: Saorise Ronan
Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)
Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)
George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“The Revenant”)
Lenny Abrahamson, (“Room”)
My Predicted Winner: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Potential Spoiler: George Miller
Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)
Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”)
Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”)
Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)
Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)
My Predicted Winner: Tom Hardy
Potential Spoiler: Sylvester Stallone
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)
Rooney Mara (“Carol”)
Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”)
Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)
Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)
My Predicted Winner: Alicia Vikander
Potential Spoiler: Rachel McAdams