88th Academy Awards – Live Trivia Updates!

20:32 – The ceremony is streaming, my bourbon glass is full, and I am ready for the 88th Academy Awards. Just like last year, I’ll be watching the ceremony and updating this entry as it progresses, with trivia that pops into my head (or which is created by the winners) and just thoughts that arise from the proceedings. My feeling is that Alejandro G. Iñárritu will repeat as Best Director for The Revenant, which will also win Best Picture…and it should win Best Picture, but I’d rather see Best Director go to George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road.

the-revenant-film-still-large.jpgFor those who haven’t seen it, The Revenant tells the harrowing story of one man’s desperate search for the Oscar for Best Actor.

20:52 – Okay, so since I don’t have cable I can’t use the official ABC website to watch the awards. At the moment I’m streaming it via Colombia with rather distracting Spanish overdubbing, but can’t have everything. Spotlight‘s win for Best Original Screenplay certainly gives it a fighting chance for the top prize.

21:09 – Alright, got the streaming issue sorted. Fortunately this bastard takes so damn long I still only missed the presentation of two awards.

21:11 – Best Supporting Actress. First impressions, I am digging J.K. Simmons’ beard.

21:14 – First time winner, and thus useless for trivia. Ah well. This will not be a year in which a performer joins the elite who have won in both lead and supporting categories (indeed, it seems likely that it will be entirely first-time winners).

21:24 – Not that it means anything, but Costume Design has predicted the Best Picture winner on 20 previous occasions. Production Design (and it’s predecessor, Art Design), 27 times. Mad Max gains momentum.

21:28 – I suppose I should mention that the record for most Oscars won by a film that did not win Best Picture is eight, by Cabaret in 1972. Of course, Mad Max hasn’t come up against Star Wars yet.

21:40 – Three consecutive Oscars for Emmanuel Lubezki, nearly unprecedented (the Visual Effects team of the Lord of the Rings trilogy previously won for all three of those films, and Walt Disney won a whole bunch in a row for films he didn’t actually make).

21:42 – Film Editing…that is a good prognosticator of Best Picture success. It’s predicted the winner on 34 previous occasions, and only 10 films have won without a nomination in that category (to  be fair, that includes the last two Best Pictures).

And with that, The Bad and the Beautiful‘s record is secure against Star Wars and Carol, and after its loss for Cinematography, it is unlikely that Mad Max will match Cabaret.

22:10 – Haven’t seen Bear Story, but I was pulling for Don Hertzfeldt. World of Tomorrow is amazing. Also, I just realized my stream is about three minutes behind the broadcast, so apologies if I seem a bit slow in my updates.

22:40 – Because I’m a bit of a nerd, I figured out that of the acting categories, Best Actor is the one that has the most overlap with Best Picture–27 of 87 previous Best Pictures also produced the year’s Best Actor, and 56 had at least one nominee. The least is Best Actress…only 11 of 87, and of those 87, just 26 have a Best Actress nominated performance. After Greer Garson won Actress for Mrs. Miniver in 1942, Best Picture and Best Actress did not correlate until Louise Fletcher won for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nestin 1975.

23:10 – Very, very pleased to see Son of Saul take Best Foreign Language Film. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so as soon as possible (New Yorkers, it’s playing at Film Forum!).

This is Hungary’s first win for Best Foreign Language Film since 1981’s Mephisto.

23:41 – Alejandro G. Iñárritu becomes the third director to win Best Director twice in a row (after John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz).

23:57 – No surprise, but…FINALLY. As usual, the winner that has waited the longest for the Oscar is given as much time as required for the speech.

0:01 – For the first time in Academy history, two Best Pictures in a row were directed by the same person. The Revenant becomes the…wait, what? …Wow.

Okay. For the first time since 1952’s The Greatest Show on Earth, the winner for Best Picture wins just two Oscars.

The Revenant is the ninth film to win Best Director and an acting Oscar, but not Best Picture. It is also the sixth to win Director without a writing nomination (seventh, if one counts Two Arabian Knights [Best Director – Comedy] at the 1st Academy Awards).

Spotlight is the 38th Best Picture with no acting awards.

8:47 – 2009’s Best Picture, The Hurt Locker, won six Academy Awards, and ever since then we’ve seen a succession of Best Pictures that win only a few Oscars. The King’s Speech won four, The Artist five, Argo three, 12 Years a Slave three, Birdman four, and now Spotlight with only two. This is probably a consequence of the expansion of the field of nominees, and it could mean that the time when the year’s Best Picture is expected to win the most awards is over.

When the Awards first started, this was not uncommon, and given that three of the previous four years have seen a split between Director and Picture, it seems to me that we’re swinging back to that philosophy of spreading the awards around and considering Best Picture as a separate category rather than an amalgamation of all the others.