Industry News: The 2016 Oscar Winners

imagedolbytheatreThanks again to Dolby Laboratories for sponsoring my time in Hollywood to cover the Oscars.

Here is the full list of winners of the 2016 Academy Awards, with hyperlinks to my reviews on this blog:

Best Picture
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

My sentimental favorite and the prohibitive favorite through most of the awards season until the past few weeks, the true-life journalism crackler Spotlight, wins in an upset. First journalism film to ever claim the prize! And the producers proclaim they hope the Pope gets the message that abuse must end.

Best Director
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Lenny Abrahamson, Room

After winning last year for Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu scores for a second year in a row for The Revenant. An epic story well-told and a move well-made by a beloved auteur of Hispanic descent stands out among the smaller dramas. Plus, he makes moviemaking look incredibly exciting!

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Matt Damon, The Martian

Although he got to flex his acting muscles even more in The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio suffered for his art this year and wins his belated Oscar for The Revenant. The biggest roar of excitement and in the Dolby Theatre happened for this long-awaited victory.

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Brie Larson, absolutely the favorite for Room with no close second, wins! Brie is great in the role and beloved on the Hollywood scene. Did you know she also played Amy Schumer’s sister in this year’s summer comedy hit Trainwreck?

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance pulls off one of the great upsets in Oscar history with a wonderful performance that is the elegant definition of a perfect supporting performance. Sly fans across the world gasped, and Mark Rylance became a much-Googled phrase.

Best Supporting Actress
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

It-Girl Alicia Vikander wins for The Danish Girl. Her role in the film was actually the female lead plus there are many fans of her work in the sci-fi film Ex Machina, also released this past year. She does a lovely, dare I say fierce job in both.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Drew Goddard, The Martian
Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, The Big Short
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Emma Donoghue, Room

Folks were impressed with the topical dark comedy The Big Short and the ability of a comedy writer/director – Adam McKay – to bring such panache to a story about the housing crash. This is the buzzy film’s only win.

Best Original Screenplay
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus, Andrea Berloff, Straight Outta Compton

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer developed the true story Spotlight without any source material, which is unusual for a film of this type. It is a great film and will at least be rewarded in this category. This is one of just two wins for the Best Picture.

Best Foreign Language Film
Son of Saul (Hungary)
Mustang (France)
A War (Denmark)
Embrace the Serpent (Colombia)
Theeb (Jordan)

Son of Saul is a searing masterpiece that could have easily snuck into the overall Best Picture race. Hopefully this win raises visibility for a great film.

Best Documentary Feature
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Amy, the documentary about Amy Winehouse, captured the most acclaim and buzz this year and won.

Best Animated Feature
Inside Out
Anomalisa
Shaun of the Sheep
When Marnie Was There
Boy and the World

Inside Out, an expected candidate for Best Picture that didn’t make that cut, prevails. And its makers challenge everyone to channel emotions into writing and art!

Best Film Editing
Hank Corwin, The Big Short
Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
Stephen Mirrione, The Revenant
Tom McArdle, Spotlight
Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Mad Max: Fury Road is the adrenaline-soaked action spectacular of the year. Its editing was fast and, well, furious.

Best Original Song
“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
Music and lyrics by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville, and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
Music by J. Ralph and lyrics by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from Youth
Music and lyrics by David Lang
“Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground
Music and lyrics by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre
Music and lyrics by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Sam Smith follows a recent Adele win for a song for James Bond. He invokes a little bit of revisionist history about what a pioneer he is that Dustin Lance Black and Elton John might dispute.

Best Original Score
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Carter Burwell, Carol
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies

Score one for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight with veteran composer Ennio Morricone taking home the prize for the writer/director’s peculiar revisionist western.

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Edward Lachman, Carol
Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
Roger Deakins, Sicario
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road

For wide open expanses, bear attacks and generally amazing cinematography, Emmanuel Lubezki wins for The Revenant. Plus, he makes history as the first cinematographer to win three years in a row after Gravity and Birdman.

Best Costume Design
Sandy Powell, Carol
Sandy Powell, Cinderella
Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
Jacqueline West, The Revenant

Despite the beauty of many of the period costumes, it’s Jenny Beavan’s renegade post-apocalyptic couture of Mad Max: Fury Road that’s the stuff of pure imagination.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

The ruggedness and bear-inflicted wounds of The Revenant are one-upped by the gonzo desert ampitheatre of Mad Max denizens. Prediction here is Mad Max: Fury Road.

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
The Danish Girl, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road, Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
The Martian, Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
The Revenant, Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Let’s give another to Mad Max, you know, “because.” The “below-the-line” technical awards nearly all go to Mad Max

Sound Editing
Mark Mangini and David White, Mad Max: Fury Road
Oliver Tarney, The Martian
Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender, The Revenant
Alan Robert Murray, Sicario
Matthew Wood and David Acord, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Another for the motorcycles and mayhem of Mad Max!

Sound Mixing
Benjamin A. Burtt, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Ben Osmo, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, Mad Max: Fury Road
Mac Ruth, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor, The Martian
Chris Duesterdiek, Frank A. Montaño, Jon Taylor, Randy Thom, The Revenant
Drew Kunin, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Bridge of Spies

And how Mad Max blended breakneck noises into one of the most singular sonic soundscapes of the year!

Visual Effects
Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett, Ex Machina
Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams, Mad Max: Fury Road
Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner, The Martian
Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer, The Revenant
Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ex Machina wins in an upset! Also a rare female winner in this category. Shows how much the Academy wanted to reward this visionary android romance thriller with Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander.

Best Short Film, Live Action
Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont, Ave Maria
Henry Hughes, Day One
Jamie Donoughue, Shok
Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage, Stutterer
Patrick Vollrath, Everything Will Be Okay (Alle Wird Gut)

Stutterer prevails.

Best Short Film, Animated
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Bear Story! Some voters will think this is about The Revenant too. Great speech by the winners.

Best Documentary, Short Subject
Body Team 12, David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, Beyond the Lines, Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

A Girl in the River prevails. Great spotlight on justice for women, and it caused a law to be changed in Pakistan.

Look forward to covering the movies of the year ahead! Thanks for reading, and I’m signing off from Hollywood! Thanks to Dolby for sponsoring my trip to the Oscars.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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