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88th Academy Awards 2016

88th Academy Awards 2016

Warm the popcorn, fill the bowl with snacks, press the tuxedo, chill the champagne (and that’s just me). My favourite day of the year is almost here – Grand Final of the film award season is seen as the summit of movie accolades. The honour of a nomination, even before the win, often comes with controversy and opinion. This year is no different, maybe even more so.

Diversity is an issue, the lack of coloured nominees in a year when films such as Straight Outta Compton was overlooked, or Creed director and star not acknowledged or most noticeable, Will Smith not nominated for an outstanding performance in NFL true story Concussion. A role in which he has been nominated for in just about every other award. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have since addressed the would-be problem but not before high profile non-white celebrities publicly boycotting the ceremony.

Largely made up of older, mostly white males as members, The Academy released statements that membership is getting refreshed. By comparison the level of movies this year are all worthy, it is just a shame statistics against coloured nominees or a lack of female filmmakers is all too obvious and problematic in this era.

Australians are represented with former winner (Blue Jasmine) Cate Blanchett up for Actress in Carol, while Director Dr. George Miller with his mostly homegrown crew up in multiple categories for Mad Max Fury Road.

Host of the Oscars is a big deal with Billy Crystal the one many remember as the best, ironically this year African American Chris Rock is front and centre for the second time. Brace yourself for fireworks and unconventional biting quips to fly. If Denzel Washington is invited on stage to present an award, justification will get real.



The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

– Shane A’s pick – THE BIG SHORT

The fire still burns for local favourite Mad Max Fury Road which is incredible and a guarantee for further installments. Bridge of Spies is Oscar friendly while Spotlight may be the favourite for good reason considering the strong subject matter but The Big Short takes an uninteresting topic for many, the world of high finance housing crisis hedge funding, to edge of your seat thrills.


George Miller – Mad Max Fury Road
Lenny Abrahamson – Room
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Adam McKay – The Big Short
Alejandro G. Inarritu – The Revenant

– Shane A’s pick – Alejandro G. Inarritu

All of Australia will cheer if veteran Dr. George Miller gets the gong for the modern retelling of a national fictional icon, if it does happen it will be an Oscar miracle. McCarthy deserves credit to bring the gestating story to the script with no apologies. The Revenant, excellent filmmaking in extreme circumstances.


Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

– Shane A’s pick – Leonardo DiCaprio

He may froth at the mouth grunting the entire time but it’s Leo’s year, the long vacant Oscar in his trophy cabinet. The only real competition coming from chameleon Redmayne transforming transgender so perfectly. Damon solo on the red planet is a sentimental favourite. Although a standout, Cranston himself admitted he has no chance. Talented Fassbender will win soon.


Cate Blanchett – Carol
Brie Larson – Room
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

– Shane A’s pick – Brie Larson

Has won and will win every award she is nominated for, Larson is beyond brilliant in Room. Any other year, Australia’s own Blanchett wins in a pure performance. Ronan brings everything together in Brooklyn. Lawrence is amazing, enough said. Veteran Rampling enjoy the moment.


Christian Bale – The Big Short
Tom Hardy – The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone – Creed

– Shane A’s pick – Sylvester Stallone

As unlikely as it seemed before Creed was released, Sly has this. Rylance his only rival here.


Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara – Carol
Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

– Shane A’s pick – Rooney Mara

Surprise Golden Globe winner Winslet again could be a surprise victor. McAdams never lets a movie down, her female strong arm around the Spotlight boys is fantastic. Vikander so good, as is a blood spattered Leigh, however Mara takes the attention off Blanchett in Carol, hard to do.


Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Straight Outta Compton

– Shane A’s pick – Straight Outta Compton

Spotlight will probably blitz all others but Compton brings out relevance in a modern world looking at racial circumstance in the hip hop music world, powerful on all levels. Ex Machina unique also. Inside Out masterfully beautiful. It’s a cinema crime Tarantino was not nominated.


The Big Short
The Martian

– Shane A’s pick – The Big Short

Two possible winners only. Room could win due to the absolute building of uncontrollable suspense within the simplistic writing. The Big Short keeps finance jargon more than interesting just as predecessor Wall Street achieved.


Boy and the World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep
When Marnie was There

– Shane A’s pick – Inside Out

As much as I love the claymation of Shaun the Sheep, Flawless Pixar strikes again. Inside Out should have been up for Best Picture. Possible upset, Anomalisa is made like a live action film.


Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

– Shane A’s pick – The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino coaxed legendary Italian maestro Ennio Morricone to score his snow western bringing out a masterful score in the process. Nice to see accomplished film Sicario here, its music is a character in the brilliant drama. Familiar Star Wars still works while extended.


The Danish Girl
Mad Max Fury Road
The Revenant

– Shane A’s pick – Cinderella

All different, all quite beautiful hand stitched amazing costume work involved (even the confederate rags of The Revenant) but when Cindy arrives in the ball gown, she wins for that exquisite pure visual Disney moment alone.


ORIGINAL SONG – The Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith
EDITING – Mad Max Fury Road
FOREIGN LANGUAGE – Mustang (of France)
VISUAL EFFECTS – Star Wars Force Awakens

88th Academy Awards Monday 29th February 2016
Red Carpet live E Network Foxtel 9am
Ceremony live Channel 9 Midday.

Shane A. Bassett

Sydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.