Tag Archives: The Academy Awards

What more does Leo’s character have to endure to finally win him that Oscar? (SPOILER ALERT)


Forrest Gump did everything from fighting in the Vietnam War to running a successful shrimping business to being the inspiration for John Lennon’s Imagine to give Tom Hanks one of his two Best Actor awards in 1994. One year later, Ben Sanderson suffered through extreme alcoholism in Leaving Las Vegas, giving Nicolas Cage the honour. King George VI overcame a stutter in The King’s Speech to nab the Best Actor trophy for Colin Firth in 2010. Ron Woodroof was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at a time when the disease was highly stigmatized in Dallas Buyers Club to give Matthew McConaughey the trophy in 2013.

As for Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant? Yeah, he had to go through just a tad more.

The cries of Give Leo that damn trophy already! have peaked with the release of The Revenant. Award shows, in the grand scheme of things, don’t have a lot of true meaning. Sure, it makes for fun water cooler talk and provides content for trivia nights. But if Leo never wins an Oscar, he’ll still continue to be Leonardo frickin’ DiCaprio. The money, the fame, the women. Yeah, he’ll be alright. So let’s not feel too bad for him if he misses out again.

That being said, can we just give him the damn trophy?! I mean, what more does he have to do? Let’s take a quick look at what Hugh Glass, played by Leo, had to go through. (SPOILER ALERT)

  • In one of the most I want to look away but can’t scenes I’ve ever seen, Leo is viciously attacked by a grizzly bear. He miraculously survives but not by much. He has to be carried around on a stretcher for the next hour of the movie and he’s essentially rendered mute and immobile.
  • He is then abandoned by the majority of his fellow fur trappers, leaving two in charge of getting him home. And to make things worse, before they abandon him, he’s forced to helplessly watch his son get stabbed to death prior to getting half-buried in a makeshift grave. Ugh.
  • He is then forced to escape a group of Arikara by being whisked away by some heavy rapids. He floats down the violent rapids while doing his best to avoid sharp, jutting rocks before being flung down a waterfall. He, once again, miraculously survives.
  • After bravely rescuing a young girl from being raped (allowing her to exact her revenge), Glass steals a horse and races off. After a peaceful night’s sleep, things get difficult again. He’s awakened by another group of Arikara, forced to flee on his horse and (in a scene not unlike Wile E. Coyote), he rides his horse right off a cliff, injuring himself further and killing the horse. The only thing missing was him pausing in the air before plummeting down. This guy just can’t catch a break.
  • After regaining consciousness, in order to make it through the night, he cuts open the horse, pulls out its remains and gets all nice and cozy inside the carcass.
  • When Glass is finally found by his men, the hunting party leader says “Jesus Christ, what happened?” Leo’s line back should have been “You don’t want to know.”

As the movie went on, I found myself watching it through the lens of This is Leo doing whatever he needs to do to finally win that Oscar. He’s leaving it all on the floor. He’s pulling out all the stops. He’s going through all this shit and just daring the Academy to not give him the statue.

Apart from Leo’s performance, which I hope wins him Best Actor, this was a remarkable movie. It was unlike any other movie I’ve seen. And in a world where it’s hard to produce truly original and unique content, this is a difficult task to achieve. Like the first time I heard Smells Like Teen Spirit or Yeezus, this movie felt groundbreaking. Everything from the score to the sound effects to the spit and blood on the camera lens. I was sucked in from the first frame to the last.

One more thing. From 2007 to 2014, Jon Hamm was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the Emmys for his portrayal of Don Draper on Mad Men. That’s eight straight nominations. Last year, he won his first and only. One for eight. When he won that award, there was a sense that an incredible actor had finally got his due for an amazing character.

So come on, Oscars. Let’s let the world breathe a collective sigh of relief and hand the trophy to Leo this time around. This will be his fifth acting nomination at the Oscars. It’s not quite eight but still, let’s give him this one.


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I entered the mind of an old, white guy and made Oscar picks

The Oscars matter to a lot of people for a lot of different reasons, and this isn’t limited to those in “the biz.”

These shiny, little guys help determine an actor's legacy

These shiny, little guys help determine an actor’s legacy

But for those in the filmmaking world, the effects, both positive and negative, are obvious. Whether you directed it, starred in it or make-up’d it (that’s right, I just turned make-up into a verb), the number of Oscar nods and wins your film gets will ultimately play a huge role in determining how much cash your project will pull in, what your next job will look like/whether you get a next job at all, not to mention how your work will hold up historically (i.e., what kind of legacy it will leave behind).

Think about this: When you and your friends are having the inevitable silly debate (one with no clear answer) on whether Denzel Washington had a better career than Leonardo Dicaprio, for example, wouldn’t somebody look up their Oscar records? Isn’t this the closest thing we have to hard evidence? It’s like queuing up Kobe and Jordan’s career numbers to determine who’s better (Spoiler alert: It’s probably Jordan).

For the actors themselves, Oscar nods and wins represent their livelihood. Actually, livelihood might not be the best word: A lot of the time, it’ll help determine whether they’ll be a millionaire movie star or a multi-millionaire movie star. I don’t think their livelihoods are at stake unless someone can find me the Latrell Sprewell of Hollywood. For these guys and gals, more nods and statues means more lucrative offers from movie studios, more freedom to pick and choose passion projects over boring can’t-miss blockbusters, not to mention bragging rights for the rest of their lives.

It’s like winning the NBA championship. You don’t think Kobe invites Shaq to his house to show off his five rings? Or at least tweets at him? You don’t think Jack Nicholson lunches with Tom Hanks to show him his three statues compared to Hanks’ mere two? OK, maybe these things don’t happen but at the very least, there’s a strong sense of self-satisfaction to know you’ve beaten out your rivals. As with any job, career success in the movies has to have some sort of barometer and, for better or worse, that measuring stick is the Academy Awards.

In short, those involved in filmmaking wear nominations and victories like badges of honour, the same way scouts sew those crest things onto their uniforms. It’s the ultimate validation of all the hard work they’ve done. And moviegoers aren’t much different. A hypothetical yet entirely conceivable conversation:

“Let’s go see Movie A. It had six nominations and two wins,” Moviegoer #1

“But this one had 12 nods and three wins!” Moviegoer #2

“OK, sold,” Moviegoer #1

The effects of exchanges such as these should be obvious. Higher success at the Oscars equals a higher level of curiosity in seeing your particular piece of work equals more money earned and so on and so forth. So with all the fame, all the money and all the “livelihoods” at stake, who’s making the decisions here? Who’s helping to seal the fate of a particular actor, director, editor or make-up artist? Well, it turns out, like many who pull the strings in our world, it’s a bunch of old, white guys. According to CBS, the Academy (the 5,000 plus team that decides Oscar nominations and winners) looks something like this:

  • 54% are older than 60 and 2% are younger than 40
  • 94% are white and 6% are something other than white
  • 77% are male and 23% are female

I’m not one to judge but given these stats, is it really that surprising that films such as Brokeback Mountain or The Social Network didn’t pull off the Best Picture category? Gay cowboys and some Internet thingy called Facebook didn’t speak to a bunch of senior citizens? Quelle surprise.

This is all to say that people should take into account the way in which Oscars are decided when making their own picks. One would assume in order to make the most accurate picks, one should  pretend, to the best of one’s ability, that one was born in the 1930s. But because I wasn’t born that long ago, I’ll just divide my Oscar picks into two categories: “What will win” and “What should win.” And I’ll throw in a random thought for fun. Disclaimer: I’ve seen all the Best Picture nominees except for Amour and Les Misérables. I swear I have nothing against the French. Here we go.

Best Picture

What will win: Lincoln

You can’t get much more Oscar-friendly than a biopic about an American hero who freed the slaves and one that shows democracy at work.

What should win: Argo

In my opinion, this is the movie of the year. It’s well-paced and suspenseful, with a nice dash of humour thanks to John Goodman and Alan Arkin.

Random thought: Flight should have been nominated at the expense of one of the French ones. Actually, I’d replace both with Flight and Looper. Again: nothing against the French here.

Best Director

Who will win: Steven Spielberg for Lincoln

I believe this will happen for the same reasons it will win Best Picture. Probably not as deserved as his other two Best Director award-winning films (Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan), both of which were vastly superior to Lincoln in my opinion.

Who should win: Ang Lee for Life of Pi

Lee should win for the simple reason that he took a book about a kid and a tiger lost at sea and made it into something highly watchable for, at the very least, aesthetic reasons.

Random thought: David O. Russell will win this category at least once in his career. Just not this year.

Best Actor

Who will win: Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

Probably well-deserved although it’s hard for me to pick him given that I wasn’t crazy about the movie.

Who should win: I’ll say Bradley Cooper in a squeaker over Denzel Washington.

Both were amazing in their roles but Denzel’s already won two of these things so let’s give the young’un some love.

Random (Denzel) thoughts: Number one: How did he not win for Philadelphia? Number two: It’s a testament to his career that it’s extremely difficult to think of a bad Denzel movie. I even have a soft spot for Unstoppable, which basically involved Denzel trying to stop a train that wouldn’t stop.

Best Actress

Who will win: Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild

The Academy has a tendency to choose winners that will make for the best story. Not only is she nine friggin’ years old but she also put in a great performance in a great movie. Bonus points for the idea of journalists trying to spell her name as they prep their stories for the next day.

Who should win: Probably Quvenzhané actually!

Yes, I just copied and pasted her name. Although Jennifer Lawrence (aka J-Law) may pull off the upset.

Random thought: Although many have pegged Jessica Chastain as the favourite here, there was nothing about her performance that was incredibly Oscar-worthy in my mind.

Best Supporting Actor

Who will win: Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook

One of the best actors of our generation deserves to have a third Best Actor win and I think he gets it here. The fact that he’d win it for playing a fragile father figure after winning his other two playing cold-hearted gangsters speaks to his impressive acting range.

Who should win: Probably De Niro.

I’d say Christoph Waltz but his character felt too much like his role in Inglourious Basterds, just less multilingual.

Random thought: Waltz should send Quentin Tarantino a bouquet of flowers (or whatever guys send guys) for rejuvenating his career. Or should I have said ‘juvenating? Wait, that’s not a word. Moving along…

Best Supporting Actress

Who will win: Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables

I haven’t seen this movie but this is the part of the show where the 2013 Oscars celebrates the musical. And then ceases to for the rest of the night.

Who should win: I’m not really sure I know or care so I’ll go with Sally Field, only because that would make it 29 years since her last Oscar. Almost as long as I’ve been alive.

Random thought: Helen Hunt is still acting? I wonder what Paul Reiser’s up to these days.

That’s it, that’s all. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I like Curfew for Best Live Action Short Film and Fresh Guacamole for Best Animated Short Film. Just kidding. I didn’t even know those categories existed. Mmm guacamole…

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