The 88th Academy Awards

By Joselle Dizon

This year’s Oscars, despite its significantly lower view-count, was history in the making. It began with a very controversial monologue by comedian Chris Rock, who hosted the show for the first time on February 28, 2016. He discussed the issue of racism in the filmmaking industry, using humor to communicate his regret for the lack of black nominees. Almost every time Rock spoke, it was to say something sarcastic about the topic. Some celebrities joined in the host’s laughter, but others thought it was more uncomfortable than it was funny.

Lady Gaga performed her Oscar nominated song, Til It Happens to You (though the award for Best Original Song was given to Writings on the Wall by Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes). She shared messages of her traumatizing past with sexual harassment while also giving her support to those who are still in fear of abuse. Her performance did gain a roar of applause from the crowd at the Dolby Theatre, but it did something more than that to the people watching at home. She, along with dozens of men and women who joined her on stage, brought awareness to the problem; she showed the viewer that they are never alone in facing this battle.

But let’s get down to business – who won what?

Best Picture:

This was an unexpected win for Spotlight, with many people rooting for The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road, but nonetheless special. It is a film that brought awareness to the, unfortunately, common practice of molestation and harassment in religious facilities. With nothing short of exceptional acting, writing, and editing, the film earned its place as the best picture of the year.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

The six-time nominated Leonardo DiCaprio took home the trophy for this category – his first ever Oscar. His role in The Revenant, a film about living to fulfill one’s purpose, was a very difficult one to play. DiCaprio has been put through extreme situations (including sleeping inside of an actual animal carcass), but has delivered each scene with such passion and character.

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

Brie Larson, or Ma from Room, also won her first Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards. She and her young son were held captive for seven years; she was forced to explore the unlimited strengths a mother has for her child. On Sunday night, she was awarded for her efforts and emotion throughout the film.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Mark Rylance, who played an undercover KGB spy stationed in America in Bridge of Spies, held his very own Oscar for the first time on Sunday. Through his acting, he accurately captured the tensions between the Soviet Union and the US, all the while illustrating the effect those tensions had on individual people.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Alicia Vikander played the wife to a transgender woman in the early 1900s in the film The Danish Girl. With incredible acting, she was able to portray the struggle of having to choose between the happiness of someone you love and your own desires.

Animated Feature Film:

Disney Pixar’s Inside Out, a film that personifies each of the five main emotions, tells a story of how a young girl has to adjust to a lifestyle in a new city. With its child-friendly approach to emotions and mental health, the film has been known to help kids across the world understand their feelings.

Best Cinematography:

The Revenant, recognized for its incredible nature shots, was given credit for its truly stunning camera work. Emmanuel Lubezki was incredibly grateful in his acceptance speech, thanking those who helped him reach the point where he is now.

Mad Max: Fury Road was the night’s biggest winner, with six awards in total. The talented hair-and-makeup crew and costume designers were among the people who were rewarded for their contributions to such a great film.

A historic Academy Awards, for sure, it will forever be remembered as the night Girl Scouts sold their cookies to A-List celebrities, the night the racism in Hollywood was finally confronted, and the night that Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar.

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