Oscar Watch 2016: Spotlight and Joy

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Spotlight & Joy

Hello and welcome to the third entry in my ramp up to Oscars 2016! I had previously listed the Nominees, and recappped what 1, 2.

Now lets review the new films I’ve seen this week (not in a theater, so they are not in the official list)

Spotlight

This was a good movie, a powerful story ripped from the headlines in my home state. I recall these events vividly being raised Catholic in Massachusetts. It is the story of “Spotlight”, the investigative wing of the Boston Globe. In 2001 they began an investigation into allegations of a cover-up concerning abusive Priests. This led to the “outing” of hundreds of Clergy and the banishment of Cardinal Bernard Law from the United States. Featuring great performances, this one hits all the right notes to win Oscar gold. It had 6 nominations.

  • Best Picture: This might be the favorite this year. It has controversy, is based on true events, and shows the power of the 4th estate. Classic Oscar bait, but not too obvious.
  • Supporting Actor: Mark Ruffalo plays Michael Rezendes, reporter of Spotlight and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He’s got a great shot if they don’t go with Stallone.
  • Supporting Actress: Rachael MacAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer was a decent performance, but I did not think it was all that powerful, nor particularly worthy of nomination. I feel it was a solid performance, but hardly in the Jennifer Jason Leigh territory. Maybe it’s just a sign of the roles of women in Hollywood.
  • Director: Tom McCarthy was a good actor. I particularly liked his work on Boston Public (a show I still miss). He’s branched out as a Director and scored big here. He has some serious competition, particularly from Iñárritu.
  • Original Screenplay: I can’t speak to the competition just yet, but this was a well crafted bit of storytelling. I do wonder how it is called “original” when this story was told in numerous news articles and books.
  • Editing: Okay. It was a tad predictable, particularly on the “montage” scenes. Not an Oscar winner though.

Joy

Definitely a lesser film of David O. Russell, but still an O. Russell film, marked with great performances all around, especially from the returning O. Russell stable. It has 1 nomination.

  • Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence was the best part of the film, and she turned in another solid job as Joy Magnano. This is the first Best Actress performance I have seen, so I can’t comment on her chances.

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