The 88th Academy Awards held its opening ceremony on 29 February. Film fans have eagerly awaited the Oscars night owing to the fierce competition between the nominated movies and actors. The ceremony, themed “We All Dream in Gold”, did not disappoint.
As the ceremony was not broadcast by any Egyptian or Arabic satellite channels, millions of Egyptian viewers painstakingly searched the web all night to find a working link for a live stream of the ceremony. Although many links were posted on social media before the ceremony started, most of them stopped suddenly during the show due to copyright violations.
Host Chris Rock started the show and rocked the stage during his opening monologue, in which he responded to the boycott campaign raised by a large number of black actors and actresses since the nominations were revealed. Rock asked whether Hollywood is, in fact, racism: “You’re damn right. Hollywood is racist. It’s sorority racist. It’s like: We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa,” he said.
He made fun of the attacks against the academy nominations received by calling the Oscars “The White People’s Choice Awards”. “It’s not about boycotting anything. We want black actors to get the same opportunities,” he said, a statement to which most of the attendees reacted immediately. Rock also mocked Jada Pinkett Smith, who broadcast her boycott few weeks ago.
Rock invited his daughters to the stage and asked them to sell their Girl Scout Cookies to the attendees. “Get that money girls, make that money,” he said while they were distributing the biscuits to the stars in the Dolby theatre. The girls managed to raise $65,243. The show also included a short video of Rock mocking the nominees in their roles by inserting himself in some scenes from the nominated films.
“The Revenant” won three awards. After six nominations, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won the Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role. His outstanding acceptance speech not only thanked those close to him but also spoke of pressing environmental and political issues. He later said the reason why his speech was so remarkable was because he had been practicing it for the past 12 years. Trying to raise awareness about climate change, DiCaprio ended his speech saying, “Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take this night for granted”.
In addition to the award for Best Cinematography, controversial director Alejandro Inarritu of the Revenant also won the Oscar for Best Director for the second year running.
Alicia Vikander won Best Actress in a supporting role for “The Danish Girl”. Although many expected Kate Winslet to win the award for her outstanding role in “Steve Jobs”, Vikander provided a unique artistic case, which portrayed pain, controversy, and love of “Gerda Gottlieb” whose husband was transgender.
Brie Larson won the award for Best Actress in a leading role for “Room”. To prepare for this movie, Larson kept herself in a room that was completely isolated from the outside world to be able to get closer to the suffering of her character in the movie. During shooting, she did not wear any makeup or use the services of a hairdresser. She wanted the character to look as realistic as possible.
Although Tom Hardy was one of the strongest nominees for Best Actor in a supporting role, Mark Rylance won it for his role in “Bridge of Spies”, the only award the movie won. “Mad Max: Fury Road” won five golden awards for Best Costume Design, Film Editing, Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. “Spotlight” won Best Picture as well as the award for Original Script Writing. “The Big Short” won Best Adapted Script Writing award.
Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera won Best Animated Feature Film for “Inside Out” while Hungarian “Son of Saul” was awarded Best Foreign Language. Jordanian movie “Theeb” narrowly missed out on being the first Arabic movie to win the award. Although many anticipated that “Carol” would win an award, it did not receive any.
One of the outstanding shows during the ceremony was Lady Gaga’s performance along with survivors of sexual assault. Dressed in white, Lady Gaga sang “Till it happens to you” which tackled the issues of rape and sexual assault on US university campuses, bringing attention to this important issue.
Later on, Lady Gaga posted on her Facebook page that the love and support she received from her partner, Taylor Kinney, were the reasons she could overcome her struggles. “I never thought anyone would ever love me because I felt like my body was ruined by my abuser. But he loves the survivor in me. He stood by me all night proudly and unashamedly. THAT’S a real man,” she said.
Although the ceremony left people surprised and amused, the next round of the academy awards is expected to be even more thrilling as a number of huge production movies are expected to come out in 2016 such as “Hi Ceasar”, “Batman vs. Spiderman”, and “Gods of Egypt”. Let’s wait and see.