It’s Oscar time! In 2015, we saw notable investigative reporting, such as “Spotlight,” “Concussion” and “Going Clear: Scientology.” There were fascinating historical insights, with “Bridge of Spies,” “The Big Short,” “Steve Jobs” and “The Wrecking Crew.”
Leigh’s 2015 favorites were “Furious 7,” “Hunger Games Finale,” “Jurassic World,” “Inside Out,” “The Martian,” “Star Wars VII,” “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” “Spectre,” “Bridge of Spies” and “Spotlight.”
Ron’s faves were “The Revenant,” “Mad Max,” “The Big Short,” “Spotlight,” “The Martian,” “Jurassic World,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Inside Out,” “Star Wars VII” and “Creed.”
Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne, who won last year’s Oscar as Stephen Hawking, follows with “The Danish Girl,” a transgender woman struggling with her identity. Matt Damon is “The Martian,” a guy with the right stuff surviving with brain over brawn.
And, the winner will be . . . Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant.” In the most physically challenging role of his career, DiCaprio delivers a viscerally raw performance in this brutal tale of man vs. nature, revenge and the ultimate test of human endurance.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett is “Carol,” a married woman in love with another woman in 1950s New York; where people were even less tolerant than today. Saoirse (Ser-sha) Ronan is an Irish immigrant in “Brooklyn,” torn between two lives and two loves.
And, the winner will be . . . Brie Larson, “Room.” In the breakout role of her career she is cast as a strong but traumatized kidnapping survivor, who spent seven years in a crude shed. Upon release, she courageously faces a complex world that has passed her by.
Supporting Actor: Mark Ruffalo is a relentless investigative reporter on the “Spotlight” team that uncovered the pedophile priest scandal in 2002 Boston. Mark Rylance offers a most understated performance as the stoic Soviet sleeper agent in “Bridge of Spies.”
And the winner will be . . . Sylvester Stallone “Creed.” Sporting a frumpy fedora and horn-rimmed glasses, Rocky faces internal struggles but packs a punch with a warm, witty and sympathetic rendering in the tone of Morgan Freeman’s “Million Dollar Baby” (2004).
Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet co-stars as the wife of “Steve Jobs.” She balances and grounds Jobs so he can succeed without imploding. Jennifer Jason Leigh is a conniving fugitive in “The Hateful Eight.” This jabbering hillbilly is amusing and deadly.
And the winner will be . . . Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl.” The rapidly rising Swedish star has turned in yet another bravura performance. As wife of one of the first male-to-female sex change surgery in 1926, her life changed nearly as much as his (hers?).
Director: George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Thoroughly maddening and maxed out, Miller creates critically deranged vehicular mayhem. Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” is the most engrossing account of investigative reporting since “All the President’s Men.” Adam McKay’s “The Big Short” delivers a colossal economic joke on us with gallows humor.
And the winner will be . . . Alejandro G. Iñárritu, “The Revenant.” Iñárritu places the viewer realistically into each scene of this chilling drama (pun intended), filmed with spectacular beauty exemplifying the overwhelming and unforgiving forces of nature.
Best Picture: “The Big Short” follows those who bet against our 2008 economy and made out like bandits. “Mad Max” is a maddening desert assault of organized chaos. “Spotlight” features reporters uncovering criminality in the Catholic Church and beyond.
And the winner will be . . . “The Revenant.” A hunter in 1823 is mauled by a grisly bear and left for dead. His 200-mile trek through arduous terrain and frigid conditions illustrates the power of the human spirit, but leaves the audience physically and emotionally spent.
Reel People rarely agree with the Academy or each other, but that’s what makes it fun!