4-10 March 2016 #798

The Oscars review

It was hard to find anything to like about the Oscars this year, aside from the Spotlight win
Sophia Pande

It has been a strange and troubling year for the world of mainstream Hollywood cinema. The industry has been accused of racism, sexism, nepotism, and discriminatory practices at the highest levels.

The Oscars ceremony this year was boycotted by some of Hollywood’s most famous, with people like Will Smith and Spike Lee declining to attend and calling on Chris Rock, the host, to step down in solidarity with the black actors who, along with an entire slew of actors from various ethnicities, did not figure whatsoever into the nominations this year; all of the actors across the main categories were white.

Most unfortunate, as a trend this year, is the success of The Revenant. A behemoth of a film by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñàrritu - the Mexican filmmaker who became famous with his visceral, violent film Amores Perros (2000), and won the Oscar last year in the ‘Best Director’ category for Birdman.

Thankfully, while Leonardo DiCaprio did indeed win his long awaited Oscar in the ‘Best Actor’ category for his starring role in The Revenant, a cumulative win for having been nominated multiple times in the past, the film itself did not win in the ‘Best Picture’ category, with Spotlight (reviewed previously in this column) stealing the show and gladdening the hearts of scores of movie goers around the globe, all of whom have been beating their chests in frustration at a win that would have solidified the status quo of white male hegemony in a world run by the very same.

Spotlight’s win is an indicator that The Revenant was recognised for what it is, a vehicle for DiCaprio, made by a director who has enough hubris to continue making some of the most pointless, difficult to watch films that have come out of Hollywood.

Similarly, George Miller’s excruciating, pain-filled, over the top horror show, Mad Max: Fury Road (also reviewed in this column), made for bit of a surprise run by winning 6 Oscars - mainly for visuals and sound related awards - once again a reminder that Hollywood rewards epics with pretensions towards artiness.

It was hard to find anything to like about the Oscars this year, aside from the Spotlight win. Year after year, this ceremony, which caps a season of massive spending on unworthy films that will not stand the test of time, is given so much media attention only to leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Luckily, this year’s main films are actually a decent lot, with Spotlight being a classic example of what good, solid cinema ought to aspire towards.

Read also:

Mad Max: Fury Road

Spotlight

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