Last night, the 88th Academy Awards ceremony was broadcast on our small screens to celebrate the year’s accomplishments on the big screen. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the Oscars this year. I do think that diversity is and always has been an enormous problem in Hollywood (in nominations, and more importantly, in work opportunities), but I still decided to tune in. For once, I had seen the majority of the nominees — all but one of the Best Picture noms, and even a few of the documentaries and shorts — promising an exciting competition in my family’s annual ballot pool.
I’ll begin with the TMP ballot competition because I’m sure those who participated are very excited to know who the winner is! Each category was worth a maximum of three points, making a perfect ballot worth a total of 72 points. No one had a perfect score (or anything close to it), but we are classic film buffs, after all — not new-release or award experts. Here are the top three rankings:
WINNER – Pete B. – 45 points
RUNNER UP – P. J. – 42 points
THIRD PLACE – Keisha of Cinema Cities – 34 points
Early in the game it looked like P. J. had it in the bag. The only competitor to vote a straight-ticket three-pointer in every category, it was win big or lose big for this participant. After several awards had been announced, all but one of P. J.’s predictions had been correct, putting them in first place by a mile. But things changed as the show went on, making for a close race between P. J. and Pete B.!
If I were to insert myself into the rankings I’d beat out Keisha for third by a single point. My own score was 35, meaning that I won the family pool. Mom racked up a total of 22 points with a few lucky 3-point guesses in the smaller categories, and poor ol’ Dad scored a mere 16 points. Strangely, he had also seen most of the nominees, but has scored better in previous years, seeing fewer of the films and guessing blindly! (My sister, as usual, refused to participate! Haha.)
Congratulations to Pete B. for winning the ballot competition! And readers, let me know if this competition is something you’d like to see me continue in the future. Participation was lower than I expected it to be, but it was still a lot of fun to put on, so I’d be glad to do it again.
Now, some talk about the show itself. There were several highlights for me. I was very happy to see Brie Larson win! She gave a stunning performance in Room and has a bright career ahead of her. From “Six Chick” to Oscar winner. What a trajectory! I was also very happy to see Mark Rylance win. I know my opinion here is unpopular, but he was my favorite in the category — a tough category, as all of the nominated performances were very good, in my opinion. I made Rylance my “wish” pick on the ballot and as such, was the only participant to get any points in the Supporting Actor category. I know most people were pulling for Stallone, but Rylance gave a subtle, wonderful performance in Bridge of Spies and is well-deserving of the honor.
The biggest highlight of the evening for me was seeing Ex Machina take home an award. I don’t usually make an ordered “best of the year” list, but if I was to make one for 2015, Ex Machina would be at the top. It deserved a greater number of nominations, I think, but I was glad to see it take home at least one golden man. Spotlight would also likely take a spot in my top five of the year, so congrats to that film on the Best Picture upset, one of the night’s genuinely surprising moments.
On the whole, I found the ceremony much less frustrating than it has been in the past several years, thanks in part to the shut-out of David O. Russell. His smug mug was still in the audience, but Joy got a big ol’ goose egg, its only nomination being for Jennifer Lawrence. Cue the evil laughter from my neck of the woods!
Now that the ceremony is behind us, we can all begin prematurely predicting next year’s nominees and trophy-takers. Here’s hoping 2016 brings plenty of great films to the screen.