Besides best picture—where everything is understandably and necessary bigger and more dramatic—has there ever been a more gigantic upset than what transpired in the best supporting actor category at the 88th Academy Awards?
Featuring four actors who have played characters with such legendary names as Bane, Batman, Hulk, Mad Max, Rambo and Rocky, the winner came from someone that has made a mere four feature films. His four competitors have taken in a combined $7.325 billion in gross revenues—figures, as always, courtesy of Box Office Mojo—from their 126 films (a tidy average of $58,134,920.63 per movie) while Mark Rylance’s celluloid quartet has averaged $453,700, 63 percent of which was from his Oscar-winning vehicle, Bridge of Spies.
Not that money is everything. When it comes to the Academy Awards, it’s certainly not. But money and popularity and Tom Hardy’s epic performance in The Revenant and, most importantly, the made-for-Oscar comeback story of Sylvester Stallone and his alter-ego Rocky Balboa—all of that combined and most as definitive reasons on their own—makes this easily one of the greatest upsets in the history of the Academy Awards.
That said, Rylance—who has been called both the greatest stage actor of his generation and, from no less an acting eminence than Al Pacino himself, “Mark Rylance speaks Shakespeare as if it was written for him the night before”—is very well-deserving of this accolade as he was phenomenal opposite Hanks in the riveting Cold War thriller.
Besides supporting actor, I also missed five other picks of the 24 categories, much better than last year. Nothing major though as I steamrolled through the rest of the big six (picture, director, actor, actress and supporting actress), missing nary a one. Before we delve any further here is a breakdown of my selections in the order they were announced on the big night:
|Category||Predicted Winner||Actual Winner|
|Best Original Screenplay||Spotlight||Spotlight|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||The Big Short||The Big Short|
|Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role||Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl||Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl|
|Achievement in Costume Design||Cinderella||Mad Max: Fury Road|
|Achievement in Production Design||Mad Max: Fury Road||Mad Max: Fury Road|
|Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling||Mad Max: Fury Road||Mad Max: Fury Road|
|Achievement in Cinematography||The Revenant||The Revenant|
|Achievement in Film Editing||Mad Max: Fury Road||Mad Max: Fury Road|
|Achievement in Sound Editing||Mad Max: Fury Road||Mad Max: Fury Road|
|Achievement in Sound Mixing||Mad Max: Fury Road||Mad Max: Fury Road|
|Achievement in Visual Effects||Mad Max: Fury Road||Ex Machina|
|Best Animated Short Film||Bear Story||Bear Story|
|Best Animated Feature Film||Inside Out||Inside Out|
|Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role||Sylvester Stallone, Creed||Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies|
|Best Documentary Short Subject||Body Team 12||A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness|
|Best Documentary Feature||Amy||Amy|
|Best Live-Action Short Film||Ave Maria||Stutterer|
|Best Foreign-Language Film||Son of Saul (Hungary)||Son of Saul (Hungary)|
|Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)||‘Til It Happens to You’, The Hunting Ground||‘Writing’s on the Wall’, Spectre|
|Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)||The Hateful Eight||The Hateful Eight|
|Achievement in Directing||Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant||Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant|
|Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role||Brie Larson, Room||Brie Larson, Room|
|Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role||Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant||Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant|
|Best Motion Picture of the Year||Spotlight||Spotlight|
Once again costume design was my big bugaboo. I thought the gorgeous dresses of Cinderella would be much more appealing than the dystopian grunge of Mad Max. Visual effects going to Ex Machina was another surprise as it abruptly ended Mad Max’s gilded road with six Oscars and it also beat Star Wars too.
The shorts—documentary and live-action—are notoriously unpredictable but I was still disappointed I missed both of them when Body Team 12 lost to A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness and Stutterer stymied Ave Maria.
As for my only other faux pas, original song, I thought it could go either way and am not displeased Sam Smith won. Lady Gaga’s song and her memorable performance—flanked by survivors of on-campus sexual abuse, both women and men—was moving.
Oh and lest we forget the biggest triumph of the night: my predicting that Bear Story would upset the heavily favored Sanjay’s Super Team! One of those gut calls that proved brilliant in the end.
Some other highlights from an evening that really got going after Bear’s epic win:
Best Speech: Leonardo DiCaprio. Elegant, thoughtful and extremely relevant to our perilous environmental times. Very impressed.
Worst Speech: Nothing horrible here but I wish Brie Larson would have talked for longer after her win for best actress. I bet she has some pretty great things to say.
Best (electric) Moment: Spotlight—my pick for the premier film of the year—winning best picture and the exuberant and knowing shout outs for the absolute necessity of investigative journalism in our modern-day society.
Best (awkward) Moment: Chris Rock’s opening monologue. I loved it. Thought it brilliant. And I’m sure the producers knew exactly what they were doing when they asked him to host.
Biggest Upset: Supporting Actor
Biggest Disappointment: No I’m still not over Ridley Scott, auteur of The Martian, not even being nominated.
Worst Dressed: Heidi Klum
Best Dressed: Alicia Vikander