Thursday, January 28, 2016

Oscar Talk: The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio suffering for his art

There are several sorts of people who really go for "The Revenant," a film that has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards:

      1.  People who really enjoy violent confrontations between men or between men and beasts.
      2.  People who are fond of the true 1820s story on which the movie is based.
      3.  Die-hard fans of the director, Alejandro G. Innaritu.
      4.  People who do not grow impatient with very long films.
      5.  Leonardo DiCaprio fans.

I do not fall into most of these categories, except sometimes No. 3.  Innaritu won last year for directing and best film for "Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Innocence.)"  That was a dark comedy and not really aimed at a broad audience, but it was well done.  It won four Oscars.

This year, Innaritu set out to do something completely different, a survival-revenge narrative based on the true story of Hugh Glass, an American trapper in the 1820s.  To goose up the tension and anger and to make Glass more appealing, a couple characters were added and the ending was changed a bit.

The big thing about this movie is its star, Leonardo DeCaprio.  The poor guy is 40 and has been nominated many times and won many prizes, but never an Oscar.  The general impression is this:  Geez, poor Leo, 10 months tramping around in the snow and ice, badly used by animals and bad guys, now it's Leo's turn.

(The last DiCaprio movie I saw was 2013's "The Wolf of Wall Street."  It was not about NY high finance, but instead a low-life pump-and-dump chump on Long Island.  Martin Scorsese directed, and I'm not sure I've forgiven him yet for it.)

Anyway, this is Leonardo DiCaprio's year.  Get ready for it.

Oscar History

Last year, the "Birdman" movie won these Oscars:

      Best Picture
      Best Directing
      Best Original Screenplay
      Best Cinematography

(It lost in four other categories:  Michael Keaton for Best Actor, Emma Stone for Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.)

There seems to be an Innaritu follow-on effect this year.  Here are "The Revenant's" 10 Oscar nominations:

      Best Picture
      Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio)
      Best Supporting Actor (Tom Hardy)
      Best Cinematography
      Best Costume Design
      Best Directing
      Best Editing
      Best Makeup and Hairstyling -- hmm
      Best Sound Mixing
      Best Visual Effects

I don't think directors or their films win two years in a row, no matter what.  We'll see.

Next:  Some ordinary people's comments on The Revenant.

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