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The 88th Academy Awards offered up surprise after surprise

2008 "Meet the Oscars: The 50 Golden Statuettes" New York Press Preview
Wow. That’s about as appropriate a one word reaction to what happened last night as anything else. After a full year basically of predictions, guessing, analysis, and precursors, it all came down to waiting for Morgan Freeman to announce the Best Picture winner at the 88th Oscars. Recent events had made us initially think it would be The Big Short, then The Revenant, but go figure, it turned out to be the original frontrunner all along, Spotlight. The Academy saved their biggest shocker for last, but it was hardly the only one. Yes, it was a night filled with unexpected events, which thrills a prognosticator like myself. It’s easy to get bored, but you really couldn’t get bored with this one. It was one for the ages!

It was an Academy Award ceremony filled with surprises, that’s for sure. In addition to Spotlight upsetting The Revenant in Picture, we saw Mark Rylance upset Sylvester Stallone in Best Supporting Actor, Mad Max: Fury Road nearly sweep the technical categories, and Ex Machina pull off an absolute stunner in Best Visual Effects. Of course, there were coronations as well, including Leonardo DiCaprio finally getting his Oscar, winning Best Actor for The Revenant. That film also saw Alejandro G. Iñárritu expectedly take Best Director, while Brie Larson surprised no one with her Best Actress win for Room. Of the Best Picture nominees, only Brooklyn and The Martian went home empty handed, so the love was more or less spread out here as well. I only went 16/24 with my predictions this time around, but considering how it was almost impossible to ace these, along with my prediction of Spectre winning Best Original Song coming true, I can deal with that low total. Overall, it was a solid group of winners, but what will be spoken of for some time is how the show offered up surprises that not all of the pundits saw coming…

spotlight michael keaton mark ruffalo
Here you go. These are the results of the 88th annual Oscars:

Best Picture

“The Big Short”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“The Revenant”
“Spotlight” (WINNER)

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” (WINNER)
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room” (WINNER)
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies” (WINNER)
Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl” (WINNER)
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Best Director

“The Big Short,” Adam McKay
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller
“The Revenant,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu (WINNER)
“Room,” Lenny Abrahamson
“Spotlight,” Tom McCarthy

Best Original Screenplay

“Bridge of Spies,” by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
“Ex Machina,” by Alex Garland
“Inside Out,” by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen
“Spotlight,” by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy (WINNER)
“Straight Outta Compton,” by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Best Adapted Screenplay

“The Big Short,” Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (WINNER)
“Brooklyn,” Nick Hornby
“Carol,” Phyllis Nagy
“The Martian,” Drew Goddard
“Room,” Emma Donoghue

Best Costume Design

“Carol,” Sandy Powell
“Cinderella,” Sandy Powell
“The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan (WINNER)
“The Revenant,” Jacqueline West

Best Production Design

“Bridge of Spies,” production design by Adam Stockhausen; set decoration by Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
“The Danish Girl,” production design by Eve Stewart; set decoration by Michael Standish
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” production design by Colin Gibson; set decoration by Lisa Thompson (WINNER)
“The Martian,” production design by Arthur Max; set decoration by Celia Bobak
“The Revenant,” production design by Jack Fisk; set decoration by Hamish Purdy

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin (WINNER)
“The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared,” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
“The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Best Cinematography

“Carol,” Ed Lachman
“The Hateful Eight,” Robert Richardson
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale
“The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki (WINNER)
“Sicario,” Roger Deakins

Best Film Editing

“The Big Short,” Hank Corwin
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel (WINNER)
“The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione
“Spotlight,” Tom McArdle
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Best Sound Editing

“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White (WINNER)
“The Martian,” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario,” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Best Sound Mixing

“Bridge of Spies,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo (WINNER)
“The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Best Visual Effects

“Ex Machina,” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett (WINNER)
“Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian,” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant,” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Best Animated Short Film

“Bear Story,” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala (WINNER)
“Prologue,” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
“Sanjay’s Super Team,” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos,” Konstantin Bronzit
“World of Tomorrow,” Don Hertzfeldt

Best Animated Feature Film

“Anomalisa,” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
“Boy and the World,” Alê Abreu
“Inside Out,” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera (WINNER)
“Shaun the Sheep Movie,” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
“When Marnie Was There,” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Best Documentary, Short Subject

“Body Team 12,” David Darg and Bryn Mooser
“Chau, Beyond the Lines,” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah,” Adam Benzine
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (WINNER)
“Last Day of Freedom,” Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Best Documentary Feature

“Amy,” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees (WINNER)
“Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
“The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
“Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best Live-Action Short Film

“Ave Maria,” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
“Day One,” Henry Hughes
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut),” Patrick Vollrath
“Shok,” Jamie Donoughue
“Stutterer,” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage (WINNER)

Best Foreign-Language Film

“Embrace of the Serpent,” Colombia
“Mustang,” France
“Son of Saul,” Hungary (WINNER)
“Theeb,” Jordan
“A War,” Denmark

Best Original Song

“Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey” – Music and lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction” – Music by J. Ralph and lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from “Youth” – Music and lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground” – Music and lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre” – Music and lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best Original Score

“Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman
“Carol,” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario,” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

mad max fury road

Congrats again to all of the winners!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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