Oscar Watch 2016: Cinderella, Bridge of Spies, The Revenant

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Cinderella, Bridge of Spies, and The Revenant

Hello and welcome to the fourth entry in my ramp up to Oscars 2016! I had previously listed the Nominees, and recapped what 1, 2, 3.

Oscar weekend is upon us and I of course put off watching everything until the last minute. I will have a fifth entry tomorrow before the show, as well as my official picks! Lets see what we have to review!

Cinderella

After Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, I swore off these live action adaptations of animated classics. I am glad I made an exception for this one. A true adaptation of the original, save the songs, this had some great performances, beautiful design, and was truly magical. It is nominated for one award.

  • Costume Design: Beautiful work. They made the elegant dresses an regal uniforms come to life. This is the usual academy bait nominee, but I think it might have still competition from Danish Girl or even Revenant.

Bridge of Spies

Steven Spielberg delivers another dramatic dynamo with this one. A NYC lawyer must defend a Soviet Spy and then travel to Berlin to negotiate the release of a U2 pilot. It has 6 nominations.

  • Best Picture: Deserving to be in this category. I was surprised to see the immigration message of the film. Spielberg is a master. Hanks is a master. They cannot help but produce great films.
  • Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance picks up a nomination for playing Abel the Soviet Spy. A subdued performance, but an important one in the fabric of this film.
  • Screenplay: A well written script to be sure, but I think it has bigger competition from Spotlight or even Ex Machina as a dark horse winner.
  • Original Score: Thomas Newman gives some great music to us. I still think Morricone walks away with it.
  • Production Design: Impeccable work recreating post war Berlin. Too much competition this year though.
  • Sound Mixing: Ok, not on par with Revenant or Mad Max.

The Revenant

Oh boy. Iñárritu has a winner here, 2 years in a row. He is now a must watch filmmaker for me. A stunning film, amazingly shot, beautifully edited, with terrific performances by the leads. Awesome film-making. It has an astounding 12 nominations.

  • Best Picture: This one has a shot. While I am personally pulling for Mad Max, and have tremendous respect for Spotlight, this might be better than Spotlight. So much visual storytelling, and depth, like Mad Max, with a simple story.
  • Best Actor: DiCaprio has got this in the bag. No doubt. The other performances were very good (Redmayne is runner up for me) but DiCaprio not only carried the film, but did so with little dialogue. He truly acted the part, made us feel every wince of pain, and took us on a journey. Well done.
  • Supporting Actor: Man, this is a tough category this year. Hardy earned his spot in it. Where DiCaprio was silent, Hardy was the talker. This was a stand out role for an actor already in the stratosphere. I think Ruffalo or Stallone will win though.
  • Directing: Man. I can see Iñárritu losing only to George Miller here. The Revenant is quite the statement. Iñárritu has let us know that he has staying power.
  • Cinematography: Sheesh. Once again this will come down to Mad Max or Revenant. I can see Hateful Eight in the discussion, but Revenant was friggin beautiful.  Lubezki earned his pay on this one, as well as his nomination.
  • Costume Design: Great work on the furs in this one, but I think Mad Max is the winner. Seriously, it was people in furs. I appreciate the craftsmanship, but Mad Max was insane. Cinderella might be the oscar bait though.
  • Film Editing: Once again down to Mad Max and Revenant. I was going to give the edge to Mad Max as this film was not quite as amazingly cut as Birdman, but it was very effective at conveying the various states of delirium that DiCaprio descends into. The fight with the bear, and the final fight, were some of the most grippingly visceral things committed to film. You know what, this might be even stevens.
  • Make-up and Hairstyling: Again. this and Max. Max was creative, Revenant was realistic and brutal. The work on DiCaprio’s wounds was incredible.
  • Production Design: Another stacked category. This film used mostly nature as set design. It was beautifully done, but I am not sure if it will trump spectacle (Max), or scientific realism (Martian)
  • Sound Editing: Every snap of a twig in the movie put you on edge. Miller created a symphony of sound for Max, but this was like a trumpet solo. So well done.
  • Sound Mixing: Same as above
  • Visual Effects: I don’t know if it will match Mad Max or Star Wars here, but that fuckin bear looked real. The final fight was epic due to the acting and amazing effects.

A couple of last minute movies tomorrow and then we shall see who wins!

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