Oscar Diversity

The 2015 Oscars have come and gone. Congratulations to all the winners. DiCaprio finally got his Oscar. We had a back-to-back Best Director winner for the first time since 1950. And Spotlight became the first Best Picture winner to take home fewer than 3 total Oscars since 1952’s The Greatest Show on Earth.

I went 4-4 on my predictions but 3 of the 4 I missed on came down to an “either/or” and I went with the wrong one. C’est la vie. I liked being surprised. Mark Rylance was the big surprise of the night for me. Didn’t see that coming. I was hoping for Mark Ruffalo and when Patricia Arquette (sleepily) started to say Mark R… I thought he was going to get it. Alas, not to be. But Rylance is a worthy Oscar winner.

The real losers of the night were the viewers of the television broadcast on ABC. Besides going WAAAAAY over on time (too much Sarah Silverman, Joe Biden, prerecorded comedy bits and Star Wars droids) the show was horribly produced. I’m not a TV expert. But I have worked as a line producer on several live broadcasts. I wasn’t the director or calling camera shots but I was in the room as part of the team for multiple 3+ hour shows. Last night’s broadcast was absolutely terrible. Bad directing was just the start. The sound quality was terrible as well. But the most puzzling aspect for me was the music choices throughout the night. It’s like they only licensed 3 different songs to play when presenters came on stage. And why in the world was Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” the playoff music almost EVERY SINGLE TIME?!?

But enough of that complaining. There was, for the 2nd year in a row, a great display of diversity in the Oscar winners. I’m not referring to race, although the winners did include whites, Latinos and Pakistani. I’m referring to the way the Academy recognized so many different films.

I wrote last year how we might be in the last days of the Best Picture winner bringing home 8 Oscars because the Academy falls in love with one movie and gives it every award they can. Last year all of the Best Picture nominees won at least 1 Oscar. Two movies won 4 Oscars, one won 3, and the others each took home 1 award. This year 6 of the 8 Best Picture nominees all won at least 1 Oscar. Mad Max was the big winner with 6, all technical awards. It could have won 7. Kudos to Ex Machina for the “combo breaker.”

But Mad Max aside they really did spread the love around. Best Picture winner Spotlight only won one other award for its screenplay. The Revenant took home 3 and the rest each won 1 Oscar. Only Brooklyn and The Martian were shut out. But they were just in the wrong categories to have a chance. The Martian (like everybody) kept losing to Mad Max and Brooklyn had only 2 nominations to work with.

Again, this is a good thing for film buffs. More movies getting Oscar love means it isn’t an all or nothing approach and studios are potentially more likely to invest in a smaller film with Oscar possibilities. But time will tell if this is a trend or an aberration.

All in all it was a very satisfying Oscars. The broadcast was lousy but the awards were great. And now to start looking ahead to next year’s nominees!

Alejandro Iñárritu doesn’t have a movie coming out this year so that will give someone else a shot at Best Director. But a number of other Oscar favorites have some buzz-worthy pictures coming out this year. The Coens have already released the quirky and clever Hail, Caesar! Scorsese is teaming with Liam Neeson for Silence. Clint Eastwood is directing Tom Hanks in Sully based on the pilot who successfully crash landed in the Hudson River. But most importantly, the question is… what movie will Michael Keaton be in? After starring in back-to-back Best Picture winners it adds quite a bit of interest to his portrayal of Ray Kroc, the man behind the McDonald’s empire in the upcoming film The Founder.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now I’m going to breathe and be happy for Spotlight. Never have I been more delighted to be wrong about my Best Picture prediction.

What did you think? Comment below. Twitter and Facebook too.

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