I watched all of the Oscars. I live streamed it on my computer just seconds before Chris Rock entered the Dolby Theater and I patiently sat through the next three hours and thirty-seven minutes of generally predictable, sometimes cringe-worthy, celebrity-infused entertainment.
While I admit I didn't see every nominated film this year, I was lucky enough to see quite a few. Without hesitation, my favorite film of the year was Room, a harrowing portrayal of the bond between mother and son, trapped in a ten-square-foot room, an adaptation of Emma Donahue's novel, Room. The film, so beautifully carried by its two main actors Brie Larson (best actress winner) and her minion counterpart, Jacob Tremblay, does justice to the novel in a way I didn't think would be possible. Brie's performance is breath-taking as we see her mother her captor's child both inside and outside of the room. While I believe Brie very much deserved the statue, I don't believe her competitors were all that threatening. Don't get me started on nominee, Jennifer Lawrence for Joy.
Room, however moving, was never going to win best picture due to its low budget and indie reputation when it was up against star-studded, big-budgeted films like The Big Short, The Revenant and Mad Max. Which brings me to Best Picture. I was rooting for The Revenant, not just because Leo D gives us one of his most thrilling performances yet, but because it is one of the most visually stunning pictures I've ever squirmed and covered my eyes and shrieked through. If you haven't seen it yet, go see it. In theaters. It is an epic adventure movie that must be seen on the big screen, which can be backed by the fact that it won best director, best actor and best cinematography. Other deserving winners include Amy for best documentary, Inside Out for best animated film and Ex Machina for best visual effects. I did not see Mad Max: Fury Road, which is why I cannot speak to its outrageous six wins.
To many people's surprise, Spotlight took home the gold for Best Picture. Why, you ask? I'm still sorting through the answer myself. Spotlight tells the story of The Boston Globe uncovering a series of buried cases of child molestation amongst members of the local Catholic Church. While the plot is suspenseful, poignant and relevant in today's often censored society, I felt the film lacked any character development whatsoever, leading me feeling uninvested and uninterested. While the story is strong, I didn't feel it deserved the academy's highest honor. I simply yawned too often.
Before I conclude my 2016 Oscar's recap, I'd like to say that while I feel strongly that the Oscars is a rigged, political and steaming heap of bullshit, it was able to be the soapbox a lot of powerful people needed to stand on to speak for some important causes. Chris Rock used his time as host to speak about racial inequality and the lack of opportunity black actors and actresses have in Hollywood. Leonardo DiCaprio used his win to raise awareness of climate change and the importance of our earth's indigenous people. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy accepted her Oscar for best documentary short in honor of the women in Pakistan who have to live in fear of honor killings in their communities. Sam Smith, winner of best original soundtrack, dedicated his trophy to the LGBTQ community and Lady Gaga performed her heart-wrenching song "Til It Happens to You" alongside a sea of sexual-assault survivors, raising awareness of sexual assault on college campuses across the country. The Oscars may be a steaming heap of bullshit when it comes to winners and losers, but 34.4 million viewers may have learned a thing or two about the world they live in.