The 9th Annual EMOs

It’s time for Ethan’s Makeshift Oscars – the ninth (ninth!) annual edition. The rules are the same as always: to qualify for nomination, a film had to be both released and seen (by me) in 2015. This year, 36 movies met those conditions, so there’s a lot to get through – let’s get right to it!

Best Action Film:

  • Spectre
  • Furious 7
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Funniest Film:

  • Inside Out
  • Grandma
  • Tangerine
  • Results
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • What We Do in the Shadows
  • Mistress America

Most Fucked-Up Protagonist:

  • Trevor and Kat, “Results”
  • Max, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • Marlon Brando, “Listen to Me Marlon”
  • Caleb, “Ex Machina”
  • Steve Jobs, “Steve Jobs”

Most Unethical Science:

  • The Martian
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment
  • Ex Machina

Most Appealing Depiction of 1950s-era New York:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • Brooklyn

Best Entry in a Franchise Originating From the 1970s or Earlier:

  • Spectre
  • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Creed
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sixth Sequel:

  • Furious 7
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Creed

Most Deserving to Have Everyone Involved in Production Die a Horribly Painful Death Just for Making Me Watch the Trailer:

  • No Escape
  • Hitman: Agent 47
  • Hot Pursuit
  • Entourage
  • Mortdecai

Scene-Stealer Award:

  • Julie Delpy, “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
  • Snoop Dogg, “Pitch Perfect 2”
  • Meryl Streep, “Suffragette”
  • Paula Poundstone and Bobby Moynihan, “Inside Out”

Breakthrough Actor/Actress of the Year:

  • Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, “Tangerine”
  • Michael Angarano, “The Stanford Prison Experiment”
  • Rebecca Ferguson, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”
  • Daisy Ridley, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
  • Julia Garner, “Grandma”
  • Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”
  • Mya Taylor, “Tangerine”
  • Lola Kirke, “Mistress America”

Best Poster:

  • Red Army

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

  • Ant-Man

  • The Hateful Eight

  • Brooklyn

  • The End of the Tour

  • Sicario

  • It Follows

  • Carol

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  • Tangerine

Best Trailer:

  • Macbeth
  • Chi-Raq
  • Spectre
  • Creed
  • Steve Jobs
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Spotlight
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Revenant
  • Hail, Caesar!

Best Scene:

  • counting potatoes, “The Martian”
  • the Berlin Wall goes up, “Bridge of Spies”
  • opera operation, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”
  • Mexico City, “Spectre”
  • infrared raid, “Sicario”
  • “We’re not ugly people,” “Carol”
  • dancing, “Ex Machina”
  • one-shot fight, “Creed”

Best Use of an Existing Song:

  • “Uprising,” Muse, from “Pitch Perfect 2”
  • “Shaun the Sheep Theme,” from “Shaun the Sheep Movie”
  • “We Belong,” Pat Benatar, from “Pitch Perfect 2”
  • “This Will Destroy You,” The Mighty Rio Grande, from “Room”
  • “Casadh an Tsúgáin (Frankie’s Song)”, from “Brooklyn”
  • “Get Down Saturday Night,” Oliver Cheatham, from “Ex Machina”

Best Original Song:

  • “Lucky Stiff,” performed by Eric Idle, from “Lucky Stiff”
  • “Fine on the Outside,” performed by Priscilla Ahn, from “When Marnie Was There”
  • “Feels Like Summer,” performed by Tim Wheeler, from “Shaun the Sheep Movie”
  • “See You Again,” performed by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, from “Furious 7”

Best Original Score:

  • Fernando Velázquez, “Crimson Peak”
  • Thomas Newman, “Spectre”
  • Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury, “Ex Machina”
  • John Williams, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
  • Howard Shore, “Spotlight”
  • Dan Romer, “Beasts of No Nation”
  • Junkie XL (Tom Holkenberg), “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • Carter Burwell, “Carol”
  • Jóhann Jóhannson, “Sicario”
  • Michael Brook, “Brooklyn”

Prettiest Pictures:

  • Hoyte van Hoytema, “Spectre”
  • Danny Cohen, “Room”
  • Alwin Kuchler, “Steve Jobs”
  • Cary Fukunaga, “Beasts of No Nation”
  • Charlotte Bruus Christensen, “Far From the Madding Crowd”
  • Yves Bélanger, “Brooklyn”
  • Maryse Alberti, “Creed”
  • Sean Baker, Radium Cheung, “Tangerine”
  • John Seale, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • Roger Deakins, “Sicario”
  • Edward Lachman, “Carol”
  • Vladimir Ilin, Yuri Klimenko, “Hard to Be a God”

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Tim Talbott, “The Stanford Prison Experiment”
  • Drew Goddard, “The Martian”
  • Aaron Sorkin, “Steve Jobs”
  • Emma Donoghue, “Room”
  • Aleksei German, Svetlana Karmalita, “Hard to Be a God”
  • Nick Hornby, “Brooklyn”
  • Phyllis Nagy, “Carol”

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Paul Weitz, “Grandma”
  • Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, “Inside Out”
  • Alex Garland, “Ex Machina”
  • George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • Andrew Bujalski, “Results”
  • Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, “Tangerine”
  • Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington, “Creed”
  • Noah Baumbach, “Mistress America”
  • Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, “Spotlight”

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Rebecca Ferguson, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”
  • Jessica Chastain, “Crimson Peak”
  • Julie Walters, “Brooklyn”
  • Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”
  • Marcia Gay Harden, “Grandma”
  • Tessa Thompson, “Creed”
  • Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
  • Joan Allen, “Room”
  • Phyllis Smith, “Inside Out”
  • Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina”

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Ezra Miller, “The Stanford Prison Experiment”
  • Benicio Del Toro, “Sicario”
  • Emory Cohen, “Brooklyn”
  • Kyle Chandler, “Carol”
  • Michael Sheen, “Far From the Madding Crowd”
  • Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
  • Kevin Corrigan, “Results”
  • Sam Elliott, “Grandma”
  • Michael Keaton, “Spotlight”
  • Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight”
  • Oscar Isaac, “Ex Machina”
  • Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

Best Actress:

  • Amy Poehler, “Inside Out”
  • Carey Mulligan, “Far From the Madding Crowd”
  • Lola Kirke, “Mistress America”
  • Cobie Smulders, “Results”
  • Carey Mulligan, “Suffragette”
  • Emily Blunt, “Sicario”
  • Mya Taylor, “Tangerine”
  • Lily Tomlin, “Grandma”
  • Charlize Theron, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America”
  • Brie Larson, “Room”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
  • Rooney Mara, “Carol”
  • Cate Blanchett, “Carol”

Best Actor:

  • Billy Crudup, “The Stanford Prison Experiment”
  • John Boyega, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
  • Matt Damon, “The Martian”
  • Jacob Tremblay, “Room”
  • Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
  • Guy Pearce, “Results”
  • Michael B. Jordan, “Creed”
  • Leonid Yarmolnik, “Hard to Be a God”

Best Acting Ensemble:

  • Suffragette
  • The Martian
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment
  • Grandma
  • Steve Jobs
  • Mistress America
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • Spotlight

Best Director:

  • Sean Baker, “Tangerine”
  • Ryan Coogler, “Creed”
  • John Crowley, “Brooklyn”
  • Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
  • Noah Baumbach, “Mistress America”
  • George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
  • Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
  • Todd Haynes, “Carol”
  • Aleksei German, “Hard to Be a God”
  • Jafar Panahi, “Taxi”

Best Film:

  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Tangerine
  • Creed
  • Brooklyn
  • Mistress America
  • Room
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Spotlight
  • Carol
  • Hard to Be a God
  • Taxi

 

Most Overblown Title: “Avengers: Age of Ultron”

I mean I know “Avengers: Four Days and a Little Bit of Ultron” isn’t very catchy, but there’s got to be a middle ground somewhere we can agree on.

The Knucklepuck Award for Best Imitation of “D2: The Mighty Ducks”: “Pitch Perfect 2”

An accolade that far more movies should strive to achieve.

Most Unexpected Screed on Ethics in Documentary Filmmaking: “While We’re Young”

I think Adam Driver: Manipulative Documentarian is actually still a more frightening villain than Kylo Ren.

A Thing That Exists: “Lucky Stiff”

You can look it up on the IMDB and everything!

Biggest Boost to Sweden in the Most Attractive Accent Competition: “Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words”

I mean Bergman and Alicia Vikander might be enough, but can we count Isabella Rossellini towards this as well? Because then it’s just a no-brainer.

Best James Bond Movie: “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”

For god’s sake, Martin Campbell, where are you? When Tom Cruise is doing a better job at this than Sam Mendes the empire really has fallen.

The J.J. Abrams Award for Most Pointless Fan Service Plot Twist: Christoph Waltz revealed as Blofeld, “Spectre”

WE KNOWWWWWWWWW

Most Confusing Cultural Mashup of Adolescent Sexuality: “When Marnie Was There”

A Japanese anime based on a British novel…so…how much repression are we talking about here?

The Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Award for a Movie Starring Vin Diesel’s Face That Also Made Me Cry: “Furious 7”

Shut up I’m not crying you’re crying IT’S BEEN A LOOOOOOOOOOOONG DAYYYYYYYY

 

Sexiest Sheep Surgery: “Far From the Madding Crowd”

They should resurrect “ER” but set it at a veterinary hospital. Matthias Schoenaerts would be the next George Clooney in less than two episodes.

 

Most Difficult to Criticize Without Sounding Like an Awful Human Being: “Beasts of No Nation”

Look the use of child soldiers is awful and horrific and violence in West Africa is a blight on our collective humanity but…..usually my movies are better when they have a narrative? NO I KNOW I’M SORRY I’ll go sit in the corner now.

 

Science Science Science Science Science. Science? Science!
“The Martian”

I’m so excited to read the book so that I can get EVEN MORE SCIENCE ISN’T SCIENCE THE BEST

Best/Worst Audience Member: the woman in front of me who clapped and cheered every time anything vaguely inspirational happened in “Suffragette”

I was so very very torn between “fuck the patriarchy” empathy and movie snob etiquette.

Best Reason to Delete All Your Voice Memos from the Cloud, Right Now: “Listen to Me Marlon”

I know I shouldn’t be encouraging this as an archivist but I also don’t need anyone from the future hearing my personal renditions of “1989” and turning it into a documentary.

Most Distracting Facial Hair: “The Stanford Prison Experiment”

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LOOK AT IT!!!!!! LOOK AT IT!!!!!!

The Connie Britton in Season 1 of “American Horror Story” Award for Stubborn Loyalty to a Miserable Piece of Real Estate: Mia Wasikowska in “Crimson Peak”

Oh my god JUST LEAVE THE HOUSE you can literally go stay in ANY OTHER HOUSE

Most Polite Werewolves: “What We Do in the Shadows”

They would never dare imprint on to your newborn baby daughter, I’m sure.

Best Jimmy Stewart Impression: Tom Hanks in “Bridge of Spies”

“Merry Christmas you wonderful old Eastern Bloc!”

Worst At His Job:  Kylo Ren, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

A close runner-up to Luke Skywalker, who decided to be alone and sulk but still found the time to LEAVE A MAP. Geez, Luke, that’s like when a mopey eight-year-old runs away from home and wobbles back through the door two hours later because he forgot to pack some snacks.

Wildest Tonal Swings Between Witty Entertainment, Complex Character Study, Tone-Deaf Hero Worship and Outright Misogyny: “Steve Jobs”

In other words, an Aaron Sorkin joint.

Delightfulest: “Shaun the Sheep Movie”

Shaun-The-Sheep-Movie

I mean just look at this picture. What more do you want in your life?

Best Reminder That Lily Tomlin Deserves to Be Put on Mount Rushmore: “Grandma”

We could just take off Thomas Jefferson. They’re basically the same person, right?

Proudest of Itself For Suggesting That the War on Drugs Might Be a Morally Complex Situation, You Guys: “Sicario”

I spent the afternoon in Tijuana once and it was just sooooo enlightening you guys I kept asking for drugs and they ACTUALLY GAVE ME DRUGS BECAUSE I PAID FOR THEM let’s write a movie about that

Largest Pile of Collective Neuroses: “Results”

Did I mention this debuted at Sundance?

Best Argument That Yeah, Steve Jobs Probably Always Wanted to Fuck an iPod: “Ex Machina”

I’m just saying he had a thing for curves you know.

The Rocky Balboa Award for a Franchise That Managed to Win an Improbable Moral Victory By Simply Outlasting the Competition Until It Looked Great By Comparison: “Creed”

How is it that I still care about Rocky movies? What sorcery is this?

Too On Point: “Inside Out”

I did one of those stupid online quizzes about what “Inside Out” character is in charge of your brain and I got Fear and I can’t even really argue with that so I’m going to just prove the point and lie in bed and fret for the rest of the day.

Best New Christmas Movie to Break Up Those Awkward Family Visits With Your Conservative Cousins: “Tangerine”

Merry Christmas Eve, bitch!

Most Meta Movie to Watch in Brooklyn: “Brooklyn”

I would absolutely take a job as a shopgirl and live with Julie Walters if it meant getting a bedroom in Brooklyn Heights.

Most I Laughed At a Movie to Stave Off the Haunting Recognition of the Farce That Is My Life in New York: “Mistress America”

The other day I had to sit next to a guy with a foul-mouthed ventriloquist dummy on the subway and all I could think was WWGGD (What Would Greta Gerwig Do)?

Most Akin to Injecting Meth Into Your Eyeballs (I’m Guessing): “Mad Max: Fury Road”

AUGH WHY DOES IT BURN THIS WAS THE WORST IDEA

Most Tolerable Attempts at Boston Accents: “Spotlight”

This stands in stark contrast to the “Black Mass” trailer, which is a wicked, gawdawful mess.

Gonna Stay Away From the Jokes With This One: “Room”

Soooooo….how’s everybody’s day going…..

Most Superfluous Men in a Year of Superfluous Men: “Carol”

On the other hand, cutting out the male characters would have denied us the great joy of Cate Blanchett saying “Harge” multiple times.

Nobel Physiology and Medicine Prize for Documentation of Heretofore Unknown Bodily Fluids: “Hard to Be a God”

I think a liquid that is equal parts piss, shit, vomit, snot, spit and bile should be called “splorge.” Like, “hey, you’ve got some splorge on you.” Any other suggestions?

Moviest Movie About Moviemakers Making Movies: “Taxi”

I kind of like movies.

Cannes Looks a Lot Like Hollywood

Our very own Apprentice Critic and frequent contributor Elaine Teng had a Q&A with Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, published today for The American Prospect!

Check it out here. Do it. Best Films of Our Lives-approved.

One Last Pat on the Back

First off, congrats to Best Films of Our Lives contributor Elaine Teng, who claimed victory in the Outguess Ethan 2014 contest! This was an exceptionally close year, as what seemed like an unpredictable year actually solidified into an incredibly predictable one (more on that later). So, despite nailing a personal record of 21 out of 24 categories, I couldn’t fend you all off in total points – in addition to Elaine edging me by one measly point, shout-out to Dana Kaufman (last year’s victor) for tying with me as well. Next year, I figure, I will finally predict Original Screenplay correctly – and then promptly lose every single other category.

As regards last night’s ceremony, there’s actually not much left to say regarding the winners. The logic that I used back in my predictions for the most part seemed to carry itself out – while the extraordinary technical elements of “Gravity” swept through the craft categories, the staggering weight and artistic achievement of “12 Years a Slave” was just too much to ignore when it came down to the big prize. And so “Gravity” walked away with the second-most wins ever for a film that did NOT win Best Picture (that somewhat dubious record still belonging to the eight trophies on the shelf of “Cabaret”), while “12 Years a Slave” became the first movie directed by a black man to take the top prize. Honestly, I consider that a relatively fair split between two incredible films with entirely different objectives. And after a few years of lighter, more crowd-pleasing films taking Best Picture, I believe the Academy’s affirmation of “12 Years a Slave” will go down as one of their most tasteful, foresightful picks – for all the cracks about “pandering” or “obvious” subject matter for an Oscar film, McQueen’s film is bold, challenging filmmaking, and I’m not just talking about the blunt depiction of horrific violence and cruelty. “12 Years a Slave” is a silent scream of a movie, a furious, painful open welt conveyed (rather than contained) by impeccable craft. On rare occasions, the combination of message and directorial achievement is sharp enough that not even the Academy can ignore it.

And again, say what you will about the Academy, but this year’s winners did indicate a major industry organization stumbling its way toward diversity. Alfonso Cuarón became the first Hispanic to win Best Director. Lupita Nyong’o, in far and away the best speech of the night, earned an instant standing ovation, and not because of the tokenism that seemed to hover over the wins of some past black actors – the force of her performance simply couldn’t be denied, no matter how you sliced it. 2 actors (straight, yes) won for a film about the early days of the AIDS crisis – perhaps not that revelatory to the world at large, but this is a group that couldn’t quite get with “Brokeback Mountain” less than ten years ago. John Ridley quietly became the second African-American to win one of the screenplay categories. Robert Lopez, for co-writing Original Song winner “Let It Go” with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, became the 12th person to accomplish Tracy Jordan’s legendary EGOT perfecta. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy’s first black and female president, came out to declaim the organization’s bold plans for the Academy Museum, due to open in 2017.

I’m not trying to say that the game is over and there isn’t plenty of social injustice left to fight in Hollywood – Cate Blanchett, in another of the night’s frequently terrific speeches, made an impassioned call to arms for women in Hollywood, and we can only hope more producers pay attention. But in crowning, “12 Years a Slave,” Nyong’o, Ridley and Cuarón, as well as films like “Gravity” and “Her,” the Oscars, at least temporarily, seemed to be looking forward as well as backward. The selections played like a nice cross-section of what Hollywood film has been and could be.

Now, strictly in terms of the telecast, the Oscars are often in trouble when they have to rely on the awards themselves to provide the emotion and entertainment. They lucked out this year with winners both eloquent (Nyong’o, Blanchett, McQueen’s Best Picture acceptance, Spike Jonze) and humorously baffling (all right all right all right, Matthew McConaughey), but really the watchability of this year’s ceremony was no thanks whatsoever to producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. The pair seemed to think that high-energy and touching performances of all four Original Song nominees (Pharrell in particular got the night off to a great start with the infectious “Happy,” almost stealing my personal vote for a minute there) gave them permission to completely check out on the rest of the ceremony. The “tribute” to “The Wizard of Oz” turned out to be nothing but a capable and trying-her-best Pink belting “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” – a nice display of the pop singer’s not-inconsiderable vocal talents, but it hardly illuminated the film’s legacy or justified the wasted time. Likewise Bette Midler’s rendition of “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” which was bafflingly placed after the In Memoriam montage rather than concurrent with it, stretching that section out to interminable length and stomping on whatever energy was left in the already-dragging show. And I will defend clip packages and montages to the death (I was enthused that performance clips returned to the supporting categories this year), but they require a MUCH better theme than “Heroes,” an incredibly vague and lazy idea that resulted in the editors basically slapping together every movie from the past twenty years that had a protagonist in it.

Ellen DeGeneres wasn’t a lot of help either, unfortunately. I love Ellen to pieces, and I generally think her low-key, relaxed approach to hosting works. It makes the stars in the audience comfortable, and it’s always a good idea to get them as involved as possible – it gives us great unscripted moments like Leonardo DiCaprio’s face when offered a slice of pizza, or Lupita Nyong’o’s brother half-blocking Angelina Jolie out of a star-studded selfie. But it felt like she was short at least three bits for the night – both the pizza and Twitter running gags were mildly clever to begin with, and way overstayed their welcome. I know she’s not really the song-and-dance type, but a peppy lip-synch routine (a la the great trailer for this year’s ceremony) or something similar could’ve gone a long way to keeping the show’s pace up.

In the end, it was basically business as usual for the Oscars – an up and down ceremony, an industry dancing the line between laudatory and smug, and enough great moments to make us think, let’s do that again next year. Until then!