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Oscar Recap 2016

"Mad Max: Fury Road" takes the most Oscars with six, but "The Revenant" takes Director and Actor while "Spotlight"(!) wins Best Picture.

Diversity was the hot topic of the evening at the 88th Academy Awards, and was mentioned repeatedly -- some would say endlessly -- throughout the night, especially by host Chris Rock, who fearlessly didn't worry about offending. He also kept us laughing throughout the evening, which is extremely difficult. There were four upsets of note: Spotlight won Best Picture, Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) taking supporting actor instead of Sylvester Stallone, Lady Gaga lost Original Song to Sam Smith, and Ex Machina coming out of nowhere to take visual effects. Here are my thoughts as the show went on -- note that it started at 8:30 p.m. ET. A complete list of winners is at the bottom.

8:44 - This is what happens when a comedian does a monologue out of pressured necessity. Host Chris Rock had some good lines -- "The white People's Choice Awards," "If they nominated hosts, I wouldn't even get this job," but overall doesn't nail as many jokes as his fans would like. He does, however, succeed with what is always the best part of his stand up routines -- finding truth through humor: "Hollywood is sorority racist," and it's opportunity that is most desired. So it was pointed and moderately successful for a monologue, but not as funny as it could've been. 

 

8:45 - Charlize Theron is an absolute vision. And let's not forget how immensely talented she is as well.

8:48 - Spotlight wins Original Screenplay. The scrolling "thank you's" on the bottom of the screen are an ingenious idea -- why did it take so long to do this?

8:50 - Love the chemistry between Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as they present Adapted Screenplay. Can't wait to see their film "The Nice Guys" out May 20, 2016.

8:53: - As expected The Big Short wins Adapted Screenplay. Don't forget: Adam McKay also directed "Anchorman!"

9:00 - Funny compilation featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Leslie Jones, Tracey Morgan and Chris Rock -- and then Stacey Dash to top it all off. Wonder how long Rock and co. will continue to knock the Academy with diversity jokes.

9:04 - Sarah Silverman rambling about having sex with James Bond. Not funny. And then Sam Smith screeches for four minutes.

9:14 - Alicia Vikander wins supporting actress for The Danish Girl. Deservedly so -- she was tremendous. Her star was already on the rise before this, and now she's shooting to the stratosphere. And is it possible to have more perfect skin?

9:20 - Very cool to see costumes onstage with Blanchett as she presents Costume Design. Little twists like this keep the show lively and interesting. 

9:22 - Mad Max: Fury Road takes Costume Design. It is expected to win a number of technical awards, and this is well deserved.

9:25 - Tina Fey you are gorgeous, and hilarious! Mad Max: Fury Road wins Production Design. Ditto above.

9:27 - Jared Leto mentions a "merkin." For those unaware, it's, ahem, a pubic wig.

9:28 - Mad Max: Fury Road wins its third technical award in a row. The movie is visually amazing, and creative. And the accents of the winners are cool.

9:38 - Cool to see cinematography examples play behind presenters Rachel McAdams and Michael B. Jordan.

9:39 - Emmanuel Lubezki wins Cinematography for The Revenant. It's his third win in this category in a row -- he previously won for Gravity and Birdman -- which is unprecedented. His work is sublime.

9:42 - Mad Max: Fury Road wins Editing. And it better have. Editor Margaret Sixel -- who is director George Miller's wife -- edited 470 hours of raw footage down to the final two hour film. It's a masterful job. Plus, most importantly, the action is clear and easy to follow, unlike some action movies in which it's hard to follow.

9:50 - Very cool way to intro Sound Editing by showing clips in which sound was an emphasis. Kudos to the producers here. Mad Max: Fury Road wins Sound Editing. One of the winners, David White, looks like a Hobbit. Four minutes later, the film also takes Sound Mixing.

9:57 -So appropriate for Andy Serkis to present Visual Effects. He didn't need to work in a Donald Trump dig. Though he is English. Ex Machina pulls a surprise win over The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road to take the Oscar. Trust me, no one saw this coming. It's the first surprise of the night!

10:01 - Cute but pointless to see C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The nod to John Williams has come many times before. Things like this are why the show lasts longer than three hours.

10:08 - I doubt the Girl Scouts of America paid Chris Rock for the product placement of selling cookies to millionaires. The bit is stolen from Ellen having pizza delivered a few years ago. Amusing though.

10:13 - Clever to have Buzz and Woody from "Toy Story" present Animated Feature, especially following the Minions handling Animated Short. As expected, Inside Out takes it. 

10:16 - Kevin Hart has been open about wanting to host the Oscars. And he had a relevant, poignant message about continuing to do good work as diversity issues are sorted out. The he got muted, probably for swearing. Whatever he was muted for I daresay was totally unnecessary, and that's certainly not how you entrust yourself to the Academy for a future hosting gig. Dude, know better.

10:27 - Enjoying these interviews Chris Rock did with locals at a Compton movie theater. Shows how out of touch Oscar movies are with black moviegoers, or vice versa. His interviewees haven't even heard of a number of Oscar contenders!

10:31 - Down goes Rocky! Poor Sylvester Stallone. Mark Rylance takes supporting actor for Bridge of Spies in an upset over Stallone. Rylance was good, but he would've been my last choice among the five nominees. If it wasn't going to be Stallone, I was pulling for Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight). Apparently Stallone has done too much crap over the years for voters to look his way.

10:39 - Amusing -- but insulting -- introduction of Documentary Short by Louis C.K. It's the epitome of back-handed compliments.

10:43 - Amy wins Documentary feature. I still think it's overrated. Would've preferred a win for Cartel Land, for which the director was literally in the midst of gun fights as he captured footage.

11:03 - It's past 11 p.m., the show is already two and half hours old, and they're giving out Live Action Short. This is where the entire country sets their DVR and goes to bed. Except me, who has to work.

11:07 - Is Sofia Vergara wearing glitter, or sweating? I'm guessing it's glitter. Son of Saul takes Foreign Language Film.

11:10 - Vice President Joe Biden gets a standing ovation as he calls for a change in culture re: rape on college campuses (take the pledge at itsonus.org). Then he introduces Lady Gaga.

11:15 - Powerful moment as Gaga sings "Til It Happens To You" and is surrounded by rape victims on stage with her. Let's hope this proactive action makes a difference.

11:22 - Eighty-eight year-old legend Ennio Morricone, in his sixth nomination, finally wins Original Score for his work on The Hateful Eight. He also worked on "The Untouchables," "The Man With No Name" trilogy, and numerous other memorable films throughout his career. Bravo sir.

11:27 - Sam Smith is an Oscar winner for Original Song for "Writing's on the Wall" from Spectre. Lady Gaga loses, surprisingly. Before Skyfall no James Bond song had ever won an Oscar -- now the last two Bond films have yielded winners (Adele won for Skyfall in 2012). 

11:37 - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu wins Director for the second year in a row (he won last year for Birdman) for The Revenant. He is the third director in history to win the Director Oscar two years in a row -- only John Ford ("The Grapes of Wrath" (1940) and "How Green Was My Valley" (1941)) and Joseph L. Mankiewicz ("A Letter to Three Wives" (1949) and "All About Eve" (1950)) have matched this feat. 

11:44 - There's something goofy/clumsy/weird about Eddie Redmayne. He's incredibly talented, he just has odd mannerisms about him.

11:47 - Brie Larson takes Lead Actress for "Room." She's great, but Saoirse Ronan gave my favorite performance of the year in Brooklyn.

11:55 - Finally! After six total nominations, Leonardo DiCaprio deserves the standing ovation he receives after winning Lead Actor for The Revenant. He was due, and he earned it. Congrats, Leo. Just keep making the types of movies you always do and there are many more to come.

11:59 - Holy shit! Spotlight wins Best Picture! Many were picking either The Big Short or The Revenant. What an awesome surprise! It's the first film since "The Greatest Show On Earth" (1952) to win Best Picture and only one other Oscar (Original Screenplay). Interestingly, it won the first and last awards of the evening.

Find tickets and showtimes on Fandango.

Full list of Oscar winners:

Original Screenplay: Spotlight
Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short
Actress in a Supporting Role: Vikander, The Danish Girl
Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road
Makeup and Hair: Mad Max: Fury Road
Cinematography: The Revenant
Film Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Sound Editing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road
Visual Effects: Ex Machina
Animated Short Film: Bear Story
Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
Actor in a Supporting Role: Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Documentary Short Subject: A Girl in the River
Documentary Feature: Amy
Live Action Short Film: Stutterer
Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Original Song: "Writing's On The Wall" from Spectre -- Sam Smith wins!
Original Score: The Hateful Eight
Directing: Inarritu, The Revenant
Actress in a Leading Role: Larson, Room
Actor in a Leading Role: DiCaprio, The Revenant
Best Picture: Spotlight

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