Although I rarely agree with any choice they make, I’ve been following the Oscars for the last 5 years mostly just to keep up to date with what the general public is into these days and because any chance to discover a new film is a good one. I’ve not seen much from 2015 as it is, and this year’s batch of nominations is pretty bland as usual.
As I complete categories, I’ll make a post summarizing my posts with my ranked order of preference for the categories. I’m not making predictions on what will win because I do not care. As Best Pic and Best Director often go hand in hand, I’m doing both in this post.
My Winner: The Martian
The Martian is a pretty clear winner to me out of this bunch, and is in fact currently my favourite film from 2015. I’ve not read the original novel, but the film interested me enough for me to read it at some point this year. I think it managed to condense everything into a film without it feeling rushed, without leaving you with too many questions. All the characters felt real enough without ever overwhelming the story and without feeling like flat ‘puppet’ characters. It also kept itself purely focused on the science and his survival and rescue, rather than being a sob story or psychological study into isolation.
2. The Revenant
I’ve not liked any of Iñárritu’s previous films and this is his first ‘hit’ for me. I didn’t love it, but it was a good film. The cinematography was beautiful and DiCaprio was a solid lead. Like The Martian, it kept itself mostly focused on the tale of survival, but it did go into more ‘depth’ although it didn’t really benefit it too much. I didn’t like the need to over-dramatize aspects of it, like having Hardy purely as a villain character.
Whilst it’s very cheesy and just an overly happy and ‘perfect’ movie, I did like it and I found many aspects of the homesickness related to my own experiences when I went to London to live but was then forced to return to Australia. Although I never felt homesick over there, I’ve thought about London every day since I’ve been back and desperately want to return. And I think it got that part of it right and it had a fairly strong core.
I found this quite cheesy and desperate, but I did find the story interesting and that was really the only thing that fuelled any interest. Larson and Tremblay were both good, and had good chemistry together. Larson’s character was quite unlikable making it difficult to really care about her though and I had issues with some of the character motivations and seemingly judgmental nature of the film towards certain characters and actions.
5. Bridge of Spies
A totally bland, yet still watchable, generic World War II film. The story is totally uninteresting – it being a true story does not help one bit – and it really lacks the feeling of tension and paranoia needed. Spielberg’s schmaltzy-ness gets really irritating as well, though it’s as bad as it often is. Mark Rylance was quite good though.
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
This really did nothing for me. I really like the first Mad Max but none of the others. I found it just lacking in every area. The characters were boring, the script was boring, the cinematography was boring, the story was boring. I just didn’t care about any of it at all. I do like that it got a nomination because it’s an unusual choice from the safe, bland Academy.
There is nothing of any cinematic value here. The story is relatively interesting but ONLY because it’s based on a true story. The actual story of the film is not interesting whatsoever. The characters are bland, the acting is bland, the script is bland. It feels like it goes for 15 hours and is a waste of time.
8. The Big Short
Awful in every aspect. Not just bland or unmemorable like the others, it’s just BAD. Terrible script. Terribly awkward and unfunny ‘humour’ added in to distract the audience from just how goddamn patrionising and terrible it is. I couldn’t have possibly been less interested in the story. And it was just an ugly film as well, terrible cinematography.
My Winner: Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant)
Out of this pretty dull bunch, I think he’s the clear winner. Beautiful looking film, really great cinematic choices, good performances from the actors.
2. George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Mostly I have him as #2 simply because he was the director of the originals and I think he tried to stay in the spirit of those films whilst also modernizing it. Although it didn’t work for me, he at least tried.
3. Lemmy Abrahamson (Room)
I don’t think anything was particularly notable about his directing either, but I think he managed to keep the film fairly quiet in spirit and feel quite down to earth and focused on the characters rather than a kind of big picture.
4. Adam McKay (The Big Short)
I don’t agree with any of the directing choices made in the film, but I think he tried to liven it up a little and there were some interesting aspects even if the film sucked.
5. Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
Props have to be given for making a film this goddamn bland.by