Oscars 2016 has come and gone. The stars walked from the Red Carpet in Hollywood. We saw what they were wearing. The winners were announced, and the 88th Annual Academy Awards, which was broadcasted on ABC live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, tonight, is done.
There were a lot of intriguing storylines heading into this year’s show: Would Leonardo DiCaprio finally get his first Oscar? Would Sylvester Stallone win for a character he was nominated for 40 years ago? Would Alejandro Inarritu become the first director since Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1949-50 to win back-to-back Best Director honors? What about the elephant in the room — the lack of diversity amongst the acting nominees for the second straight year — would it be addressed? What on earth would host Chris Rock say?!?!
Now the the ceremony is over, here’s a rundown of the evening’s events…
2015 saw box office records break. However, Hollywood seems stagnant in its dependency of superheroes, sequels, and series. Of the top 10 highest grossing films, 8 were sequels, spinoffs, or re-imaginings. Despite this, plenty of truly great films came out last year; so many, that I wrote a Top 10 of those NOT nominated for Best Picture. From 1944-2009, the Academy was only nominating 5 films each year for Best Picture. This year, 8 movies are nominated for the top honor. Some were all too obvious, while others came far out of left field.
Let’s countdown and rank from 8 – 1 this year’s Best Picture nominees”¦
Top ten movie lists are purely subjective, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. There really isn’t a definitive list as to the best movies of the year are, because it’s all a matter of personal taste. It’s difficult to argue how Inside Out might be better than The Big Short. Try to compare why Spotlight is better than Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It doesn’t do any of us any good trying to rank Room over or below Mad Max Fury Road.
Anyone can put up a ranking, and no one list is the same as any other. But I guess that is what makes the practice of making these lists so appealing. Reading and arguing which films deserve to be in a yearly top ten, or even take the title of the year’s best.
More than any other year this decade, 2015 had a sufficient amount of prestigious films that had distinct narratives about women being considerably perplexed and troubled with their particular situations. Perusing the films on my list, I started to realize that a vast number of them contained women longing to attain an ideal, a passion, or a faint semblance of hope that the future can and will be brighter. From all over the globe these individuals sought love and respect only to encounter threatening obstacles, some that could be overcome and others that could barely be comprehended, let alone endured.
The atmosphere that Harley found herself in in Heaven Knows What was beyond volatile and dangerous, but it didn’t prohibit her from dreaming of a better existence for herself and her lover. A lethal assassin is summoned back to her homeland to carry out a murder but is unable to do so due to her growing consciousness in The Assassin. Two women who fall spellbindingly in love in Carol each possess desires to create a lasting bond with each other despite society’s unbending morality. Looking to move up in the ranks of the FBI and make a name for herself, Kate unquestionably steps too far out of her comfort zone where she quickly meets the most ruthless of men in Sicario. And the women of Mad Max: Fury Road are acquainted with an impossible to comprehend evil but are willing to go through an unrelenting gauntlet to attain their ideal.
The annual ritual of narrowing down hundreds of titles to just 10 is a cruel but necessary discipline as a film critic. Over the past 12 months, I’ve seen 100 new releases. I spent a combined eight days watching movies this year, and I’m happy to report that 2015 has been a pretty great year for cinema.
We saw new work by visionary filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott, Todd Haynes, George Miller, and Denis Villeneuve. We witnessed noteworthy performances by Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Oscar Isaac, Michael B. Jordan, Saoirse Ronan, and Brie Larson. And we were entertained and awe-struck by blockbusters like Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
I saw some truly great movies that renewed my love for cinema and kept my cynicism and negativity buried beneath joy and optimism this year. Here are the ones that did just that: 10 films that moved, inspired, and reinvigorated me.