#OscarsSoWhite, the hashtag heard around the world, has officially upstaged the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio may win his first Oscar this year. Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio is on the verge of being an afterthought.
The hashtag has been around since last years’ Oscars, and it’s being used to talk about the lack of diversity in the Oscars. People on twitter are using it to vie for movies like Straight Outta Compton, which only received one nomination for Best Original Screenplay, or for performances by Will Smith and Idris Elba.
Despite the fact that my top 10 list, along with many other bloggers, is diverse in representation, Spike Lee is pissy at what the Academy thinks and about the “lily-white Oscar nominations” this year. And he’s not the only one.
Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was so aghast with the lack if diversity in this year’s nominee list (read: her husband wasn’t nominated) that she staged a boycott against the Oscars blaming the Academy for the lack of diversity in the industry. The lack of diversity is a disappointment, but the finger-blaming needs to be at the industry where this whole process begins, not the Academy.
And to make matters worse, the Academy is actually taking the bullet for the backlash against the white-washed Oscars. WHY?
From a different perspective on the matter, Ice Cube said he “can’t be mad” because Academy members can’t see the value in Straight Outta Compton. The film scored over $200 million worldwide, and Cube’s “not surprised” because an Oscars snub is “what they do.” While visiting with The Graham Norton Show, Cube elaborates more. He’s not planning to boycott the ceremony because he “never used to go anyway.” He threw out some more knowledge regarding the issue:
“We don’t do movies for the industry. We do movies for the fans, for the people. And the industry, you know, if they give you a trophy or not or pat you on the back or not, it’s nice but its not something that you should dwell on. We got accolades from all levels, from our core fans to our curious fans, from people who didn’t even think they wanted to see that movie. I think an older generation got an understanding on why we did that kind of music and the younger generation got a history lesson, and we got so much praise for the movie.”
Here’s my list of top 10 personal favorites of 2015.
Plot: “A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking humanoid A.I.”
Bottom Line: One of the more profound explorations into the not soon distant future of AI technology. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
“As long as you can still grab a breath, you fight. You breathe. Keep breathing. When there is a storm. And you stand in front of a tree. If you look at its branches, you swear it will fall. But if you watch the trunk, you will see its stability.”
Plot: “A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.”
Bottom Line: Visually as powerful as it is painful to watch at times. Nature overload. Dicaprio will win his first Oscar for his endurance.
Rocky Balboa: [pointing toward Adonis’ reflection in the mirror] “That’s the toughest opponent you’re ever going to have to face.”
Plot: “The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.”
Bottom Line: Reinvigorates an old franchise and does it the right way with standout performances by all involved. Stallone is an Oscar front-runner.
“You don’t believe me do you?”
Plot: “A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after getting involved in a sexual encounter.”
Bottom Line: One of the more clever and horrifying movies I’ve seen in a long time…not to mention brilliantly shot!
“Let me tell you what I see here: a lot of raw talent. Swagger. Bravado. People are scared of you guys. They think you’re dangerous, but the world needs to hear it.”
Plot: “The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.”
Bottom Line: Although the story may be watered down, it’s a powerful story to be told regarding success and the complications that accompany it. Significant Oscar snubs here regarding performances and movie.
“Sun, why are you shining on this world? I am wanting to catch you in my hands, to squeeze you until you cannot shine no more. That way, everything is always dark and nobodys ever having to see all the terrible things that are happening here.”
Plot: “A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.”
Bottom Line: The most harrowing story told on screen in 2016 with some of the year’s best performances. Another example of Oscar snubbing.
“When you get to hell, John, tell them Daisy sent you…”
Plot: “In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters.”
Bottom Line: Another gem from Tarantino; albeit it’s not his best work, but it’s damn good work with tremendous acting and great dialogue.
“You should move to a small town, somewhere the rule of law still exists. You will not survive here. You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now.”
Plot: “An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.”
Bottom Line: This is definitely one of my favorites of the year with some great performances by Benicio del Toro and Emily Blunt and a lot of nail-biting scenes. Oscar snubs again.
“My name is Max. My world is fire. And blood.”
Plot: “A woman rebels against a tyrannical ruler in postapocalyptic Australia in search for her home-land with the help of a group of female prisoners, a psychotic worshipper, and a drifter named Max.”
Bottom Line: Anyone familiar with the Mad Max franchise knows certain components of this post-apocalypic world are guaranteed: over-the-top car chases, daring stunts, macho cars and the patriarch behind it all–Max Rockatansky. As someone unfamiliar with the Mad Max movies, I’m VERY impressed with this reboot.
“THAT’S NOT HOW THE FORCE WORKS.”
Plot: “Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a ragtag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.”
Bottom Line: J. J. Abrams successfully tackled the vast universe of Star Wars and made it his own. This is a blockbuster that I think is safe to say can be considered a classic of the year.