Sunday, February 14, 2016

'The Revenant' and other BAFTA winners; How closely will Oscar follow?

Last year, the winners of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts were particularly noteworthy because they foretold a number eventual Oscar outcomes in categories that had pundits scratching their heads. This year, I may end up taking their cues in a few such races, especially the design and sound categories.

So what's the big takeaway from this year: The Revenant is the real deal. The Big Short may have the PGA's recent track record in its favour, but it looks like Inarritu's epic is a done deal in Best Actor, Director, Cinematography, and could possibly win both Sound prizes (or more) on top of that. Do we really think a movie with that kind of haul is going to lose to a film that may only win a single other category?

I'm going to be tossing and turning on this one folks, and in no small part because I happen to think either movie would we the worst Best Picture winner in decades.

But some of BAFTAs decisions have given me real hope -- albeit very cautious hope -- for Oscar night in their embrace of Mad Max's craft elements. Sweeping all three design categories plus Best Editing is a fine showing for George Miller's astonishing actioner, and should the Academy follow suit two weeks from now, well that'd be just fine by me.

Check out the list of winners after the jump, with a few remarks on what they may (or may not) mean in terms of the tightly contested Oscar race:

Best British Film: Brooklyn This was probably a no-brainer, but I'm glad to see this lovely movie walk away with at least something this year.
Best Makeup & Hair: Mad Max: Fury Road Possibly a significant foreshadowing. The Oscar truly feels like a toss up between this and The Revenant, especially with so many lengthy close-ups of Leo's battered face.
Best Cinematography: The Revenant This seems to all but clinch Chivo's historic three-peat.
Best Documentary: Amy Sweeper.
Best Original Music: The Hateful Eight Looks like we'll have our first non-Best-Picture-nominee winning this at the Oscars since Frida did it thirteen years ago. Thrilled for Morricone, thankfully a still-living legend, but what project is it gonna take for Thomas Newman to receive his due?
Best British Short Film: Operator
Best British Animated Short: Edmond
Best Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road Hmmm... Beat out Best Picture favourite The Big Short. Both films have ACE Eddies under their belts this season. Gonna be close (even though it really shouldn't be).
Best Sound: The Revenant This may be telling. The BAFTA winner usually goes on to Oscar glory as well. As much as I'd personally love to see Mad Max claim these, I can hardly argue with Randy Thom and company's achievement.
Best Visual Effects: Star Wars: The Force Awakens I had a feeling that its VES dominance was no fluke. It's a popular blockbuster and the most obvious place to throw it a bone is here. No complaints. I happen to think it's the most deserving of the Oscar finalists.
EE Rising Star: Johnny Boyega
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies Theatre legend and Brit Rylance was probably going to win this, even if Stallone had been nominated.
Not sure if he can overcome Sly's sentimental appeal for the Oscar, but if there's a shocker lurking anywhere, this could be it.
Best Animated Film: Inside Out How could it be anything else?
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs Another gong for Kate!
Of course, Vikander's Danish Girl performance was rightfully placed in the lead category by BAFTA, but still a tad surprised that it didn't make Mara the one to beat. I suppose I shouldn't be. The industry just hasn't taken to Carol. If there's a challenger to Vikander at all, I guess it's actually Winslet.
Best Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road No. Way. I was absolutely counting on anything else to win. Much as I love what Sandy did this year in Cinderella and Carol, this would make one of the most inspired -- and atypical -- Oscar wins of the night if it came to be.
Best Debut by British Writer/Director/Producer: Naji Abu Nowar, Rupert Lloyd, Theeb Nominated for the Foreign Film Oscar, but with little chance of upsetting Son of Saul.
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short Sadly, a stone cold lock.
Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight Happily, a stone cold lock.
Best Film not in the English Language: Wild Tales Last year's riotous Oscar nominee finally takes home some hardware.
Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road Another inspired choice that I'm not confident will repeat on Oscar night. But soooooo deserved.
Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant Looks like AGI's going back-to-back. I'll try not to kvetch to often about this. Clearly this movie was a bitch to pull together.
Best Actress: Brie Larson, Room Disappointed that Ronan couldn't cop even a single consolation win on the season, but how can you compete with what Larson did with this role?
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant Sigh. This really is going to be Leo's Scent of a Woman, isn't it? Oh well, I guess better now than never. And who knows... Maybe he'll get a decent role one day that puts him in the conversation to win another one.
Best Picture: The Revenant Well, it looks like The Big Short is relying entirely on the mechanics of the preferential ballot. Otherwise, it seems the sheer scale and LOOK-HOW-HARD-THIS-WAS-TO-MAKE-ness of The Revenant will rule the day over any of the more refined option on the Best Picture list. Will the PGA litmus test fail for the first time in the expanded Best Picture era? This year presents the best opportunity yet for such an upset.

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