‘Brutally honest’ Oscar voter: The Martian ‘was basically Cast Away on Mars’


Yesterday, we discussed one of my favorite parts of Oscar season: THR’s Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot series. THR speaks to voting members of the Academy as they fill out their ballots, and the voters (under the condition of anonymity) discuss why they’re voting or not voting for certain people and movies. The second ballot in the series is from a voter in the “members-at-large branch, which is reserved for people who have held ‘a key creative position for which the Academy has no branch.’” I honestly don’t know what to tell you – I didn’t even know there was a “members-at-large” branch. I thought every voter had to belong to a guild. The only hint about this voter is that they say at one point that they “lived through the fifties” and remember that time pretty clearly. As in, the 1950s. So this voter is old as ass. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Thoughts on The Revenant: “I loved Birdman and I couldn’t wait for [Alejandro G. Inarritu’s next film] The Revenant, but I’m not a fan. I liked Leo [DiCaprio] and the cinematography better than I liked the movie, which I just felt was over the top — I don’t believe for one minute that someone in that condition could go over a waterfall in sub-zero conditions and survive. I’m also really bored with the publicity about how hard it was to make it — why the f— didn’t you get a better location manager then?”

Other Best Picture thoughts: “I was not a fan of Brooklyn — I hear the book was quite good, but I was bored to tears by the movie; this immigrant girl comes and everything wonderful happens to her and so what? The Martian was entertaining enough, and I loved Matt Damon, but it was basically Cast Away on Mars, and you knew where it was heading from the very start. I like Spotlight, I respect Spotlight, but I don’t think Spotlight benefits from its frequent comparisons to All the President’s Men; I wish they had spent less time on investigative reporting and more time on the issue of sex abuse, which needs a spotlight much more. I thought The Room [sic] was amazing — it’s just two people in a room for the first half, but you’re riveted, and then you get out of the room and you’re even more riveted, if you can believe it! The performances were that amazing. When I saw it I thought it might be my favorite of the year. But Mad Max: [Fury Road] is one of the most extraordinary films I’ve ever seen — it’s so imaginative that it just takes my breath away. This is not just an action movie, although it has great battle sequences; it makes comments on women and it’s so deep and has so many layers. My vote: (1) Mad Max: Fury Road; (2) Room; (3) The Big Short; (4) The Martian; (5) Spotlight

Best Actor thoughts: “I haven’t seen Trumbo [so I won't be voting for Bryan Cranston]. [Michael] Fassbender wasn’t that memorable to me [in Steve Jobs] — I read that book [Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs] and I didn’t want it to ever end, but I couldn’t say that about the movie. Eddie Redmayne wasn’t nearly what he was in the last one [The Theory of Everything, for which he won last year's best actor Oscar]. Matt Damon [in The Martian] pulled off the person-all-alone thing very well. And, while I didn’t love The Revenant, I will admit that Leo did a hell of a job on that. Those two were my favorite. My vote: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)

Spike Lee, Straight Out of Compton, Adapted Screenplay: “Is it better to give Straight Outta Compton an award for its white writers or for nothing at all? I wonder. Spike Lee will find something to bitch about either way — he’s just pissed off that Chi-Raq didn’t get into theaters for more than 48 hours; I mean, I wanted to go and see that movie, but when I turned around it was already gone. Straight Outta Compton, Bridge of Spies and Spotlight weren’t really original screenplays because those stories may not have come from books, but they didn’t exactly come out of thin air. Ex Machina was interesting but kind of confusing. And Inside Out was very interesting and touched on a lot of important stuff. But I’m voting for Straight Outta Compton — it was the most unique and it deserves it.

[From THR]

I totally understand “The Martian is like Cast Away” comparison because that’s what I thought while I watched the movie too, although… that doesn’t take away from The Martian at all. I still think The Martian is one the top-three best films of the year. And I will never stop enjoying how OVER establishment Hollywood is with The Revenant’s Oscar campaign. The campaign was built around suffering for art, The Struggle, The Impossible Conditions, The Cold, etc. And now all of these anonymous voters are like “well, sh-t, didn’t you guys have heaters?” and “you should have gotten a better location manager.”

This voter also went for Brie Larson, who is honestly the safest bet this year, no one has one bad word to say about her or her performance. He/she also voted for Christian Bale in The Big Short for supporting and Alicia Vikander for supporting, although this voter makes it sound like Alicia was just the last person standing because no one else in that category “wowed” enough.


mad max2

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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123 Responses to “‘Brutally honest’ Oscar voter: The Martian ‘was basically Cast Away on Mars’”

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  1. Locke Lamora says:

    I agree with him about Brooklyn and Room, and partially about the Reverant. The cinematography is amazing, Leo was okay but the movie is boring. I also don’t see the big deal with Alicia. She was a lead in that movie, and she was decent, but nothin special.
    He’s not voting for Cranston because he didn’t see Trumbo. Totally proffesionall. I bet half of them didn’t see most movies.

    • Anna says:

      I think a lot of people are voting for Alicia cause they feel like the other options were even more boring.

      I read the whole article and this voter also mentioned they were an old Jewish voter. So that narrows it down a liiitle bit more and didn’t they say they used to be one of the people who were designated to choose the shortlist for a particular category? (I can’t remember which exact category they said now though).

      So far I can’t rememember these anonymous voting pieces being this funny and honest. I love how they’ve all dissed the constant complaining about the conditions in the revenant. It’s hilarious

    • Bridget says:

      The women’s side in general this year feels a little stale. I wonder if Jennifer Jason Leigh would have picked up more steam if she’s actually campaigned – she was the very early frontrunner.

      Scratch that. Both the men’s and women’s acting award nominees feel a bit stale this year. Aside from a couple of notable standouts (Brie, Stallone, even Ronan) no one seems particularly excited about ANY of the performances. There seems to be a collective “Eh, I guess I’ll vote for this person”

      • mandy says:

        Well, it would certainly help IF THEY WATCHED ALL THE MOVIES!!!!
        Comeon, how is this not a requirement – how can they vote without watching all the nominees- such voters should be automatically disqualified! This makes me so mad!- no wonder the Oscars suck so hard.

      • Bridget says:

        Do you know how many movies are nominated for Oscars? 60. That would literally be 3 solid 40 hour workweeks of back to back screenings. If they made that requirement, the only people that would be able to vote would be the retirees in Palm Springs that have plenty of time on their hands, and then it would be even worse.

      • Farhi says:

        “Do you know how many movies are nominated for Oscars? 60. ”

        Don’t Oscars voters vote by category + best picture? That would make it 15 movies to watch = 10 best picture + 5 from their voting category.

      • Bridget says:

        That’s nominations. The foreign films are actually restricted to who has specifically seen them, but aside from that the general assembly votes on all of those categories we see awarded during the telecast.

      • mandy says:

        Then divide the voters into groups and give them one category to vote on and rotate categories every year- it certainly is not fair that someone who hasn’t seen all the nominees gets to vote.

      • Bridget says:

        “Not fair”? Really? I’m not trying to be rude or unkind, but fairness doesn’t have a ton to do with anything here.

        They get to vote because they’re members of the Academy. And I can’t imagine that trying to make the process more insular will produce particularly good results. This is just the nature of voting. Not everyone is going to see all the movies, in the same way that not everyone is going to research all the candidates, initiatives, and propositions. At least this is just movies.

  2. Emma - The JP Lover says:

    LOL! Yep, everybody knew where the storyline in “The Martian” was going from the start because many of us had read the novel prior to the film’s release. It was a good film nonetheless and the novel translated well to the screen. I am loving these anonymous, ‘brutally honest’ Academy voters! :)

    • C says:

      I hope Matt Damon wins. 😃

      • Emma - The JP Lover says:

        @C, who wrote: “I hope Matt Damon wins.”

        (Le Sigh) I’m sure he won’t, but wouldn’t it be grand if he had a Christina Aguilera moment where everyone is waiting to hear Leo’s name, but instead it’s “And the winner is, Matt Damon!!!” :)

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Emma, what is the Christina Aguilera story?

      • Emma - The JP Lover says:

        @Tiffany :) , who wrote: “Emma, what is the Christina Aguilera story?”

        Christina, Brittney Spears, and Ricky Martins were all up for the Best New Artist Grammy Award the same year. Everyone, including Christina, thought the Best New Artist Grammy would go to either Brittney or Ricky Martins. They were both incredibly popular and both had been invited to perform (Christina wasn’t invited to perform) … ‘that’s’ how sure a bet it was that one of the two–Brittney or Ricky–would win the award.

        So the tension built as the Presenter walked out to the microphone and said “And the Best New Artist Grammy goes to” … the camera panned back stage, first to Brittney’s face and then to Ricky’s … “Christina Aguilera!” The camera panned to the audience where a stunned Christina and her pleasantly surprised Manager sat. The balcony audience went wild with joy. It was a wonderful moment. :)

    • LadyMTL says:

      I actually enjoyed the movie version of the Martian more than the book, and I almost never say that, lol. I definitely agree that it was one of the best of the year, just for the sheer entertainment value.

      I also adore Mad Max – it’s one of the few that I bought on Blu-Ray this past year – but come on now, we all know it’ll never win Best Picture…silly anonymous Academy member. :P

      • Nancy says:

        I hated Martian and to me Damon was the reason why, so robotic and boring to me, but my husband won the coin toss that night. I agree about Mad Max though, Charlize Theron is the bomb……everybody else could have just gone home, she did it all. I’d give her an Oscar. Girl crush obviously….lol

    • pinetree13 says:

      I enjoyed The Martian but don’t find it oscar worthy at all.

      • Mimi says:

        I didn’t think The Martian was Oscar-worthy because I ENJOYED it. I’ve never enjoyed and “oscar worthy” film.

  3. Eggland's worst says:

    These are pretty interesting reads. If I had ever cared about the Oscars, I would have been reading these for years. At least I have this site.

  4. Mgsota says:

    I have to say that EVERY time Mad Max comes on, I watch it. And I DVR’d it and watch it from there as well. I’m obsessed with it! My husband will see me watching it and be like “really?”
    It’s visually amazing to look at. Weird, grotesque, beautiful…but it basically had no dialogue, so I don’t know how it could be up for best picture.
    I’m dying to see The Room! Must do that soon!!!!

    • LAK says:

      Why should a film always have dialogue?

      One of the most riveting films i’ve ever seen, 3 IRON, had about 10% dialogue because the story was about 2 people trying to be as invisible as possible. Little to no dialogue, yet you knew everything that each character wanted to say when they communicated. And they didn’t communicate via sign language.

      It’s a testament to their skill that language was conveyed with little to no dialogue spoken.

      It’s a testament to any film that can deliver and stand up as one of the best films in a year (any year) without using conventional tools.

      • Mgsota says:

        Yes, I agree with you. I misspoke a little bit about it needing dialogue to be considered the Best picture, but Mad Max with the little dialogue they did have did not convey those type of emotions in my opinion.

      • Sisi says:

        OMG this is the first time I hear about someone liking 3-iron too!

      • ViktoryGin says:

        LOVE 3-Iron. You should check out Kim Ki Duk’s other films. Criminally underrated director. I highly recommend “Spring, Summer,Fall, Winter..and Spring”

    • Skyblue says:

      Mad Max!!!!!! Amazing movie. First movie I’ve been to in years that left me with urge to go right back to the lobby and buy another ticket so I could watch it again immediately.

    • CornyBlue says:

      It was visual storytelling that does not coddle its audience with exposition that can be drawn on its own. Even with little dialogue a lot of its lines are now iconic. Also i think no dialogue was best for the movie because why would those characters interact with each other. they would have no reason to.

    • Hillshmill says:

      I recently watched Mad Max at home, and it was the first movie in years that I couldn’t take my eyes off of. I still have dreams and thoughts about the visuals. My eyes hurt after watching now it because I don’t think I blinked at all for two hours.

      • Mgsota says:

        Lol at the “didn’t blink for two hours.”

        It’s amazing isn’t it? I don’t remember if I saw the original and I had no interest in seeing this one. Not until it was on HBO one night did I watch it..and man…I just can’t articulate why I love it so much! Love the music too.

    • lilacflowers says:

      Mad Max is up for Best Picture because it is also nominated in several other technical categories. Those count and the members of those guilds get to vote for Best Picture too. Also, it was one riveting, wild ride of a film.

    • anon33 says:

      I am not the audience for that movie, as I could not have been more bored, and fell asleep attempting to watch it.

      • islandwalker says:

        We won’t be popular but I’m with you. I’ve tried to watch it 3 times now I get bored to tears. Just not not genre (and I do like some action movies and love sci-fi.)

      • SpunkyMama says:

        I swear I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t get it. Like Islandwalker, I like action movies and Sci-fi’s but I just couldn’t get into this one. I just thought it was me.

    • Dee Kay says:

      Mad Max: Fury Road was hands-down my favorite movie of 2015. I am PI**ED that Charlize Theron did not receive a nomination for at least Best Supporting Actress. I predict that MM:FR will be remembered as a legendary film. But will The Revenant? Personally I doubt it.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Mad Max was a ripsnorting, high-octane, adrenaline fueled ride. I freaking loved that movie! It’s one of the most visually stunning, action packed movies I’ve ever seen. Oh and Nicholas Hoult stole the movie for me but Charlize totally should have been nominated.

      Witness me!

      • dj says:

        Witness! Charlize was amazing. I was surprised she was not nominated also. What pisses me off about the “it was so hard making the Revenant”? Not much grumbling by cast and crew about Mad Max. Riley Keogh just was quoted as saying that MM crew worked out of a moving truck for 7 mos. in the DESERT. All she said was sometimes she thought screw this I just Want a cheeseburger. Not all the whining about how hard it was! I think this is funny.

  5. Mia4s says:

    “Get a better location manager”

    Haha! Exactly. One of the better jokes I’ve heard; “I’m on my way to the Middle East to interview Syrian refugees and my first question will be how their experiences compared to filming the Revenant.”

    Sorry Leo, you’re getting your Oscar, but it won’t be looked upon as one of the greats. Barely Scent of a Woman level. So ridiculous. 🙄

    • MooHoo says:


    • Carol says:

      That line cracked me up too. I’m also kind of over hearing about the difficulties in filming the Revenant. And of Leo. Please, its a freaking movie. Get over yourselves.

    • Addison says:

      Could not agree more. This suffering argument got old real quick for me. The thought that someone would get an award for “suffering” while you are getting paid millions is beyond ridiculous. Last time I checked the Oscar should go to the “Best Performance”. So sorry, it was not Leo much less Matt Damon. I saw not the character but Matt Damon pretending he might never see earth again. It was not riveting at all. I have not seen the Big Short or Trumbo. I will eventually.

      Best actor should go to Fassbender. Just saw it again this weekend. Best Performance by a male lead! This was an action movie with words. It was just as exciting as watching Mad Max.

      Mad Max should win best film of the year.

      The voters should also disregard the female actors that had a lead and were fraudulently put in the supporting category. To vote otherwise is to disrespect your own craft.

  6. lem says:

    don’t get me wrong, i LOVED mad max but i really don’t get why it’s an oscar contender. same with the martian. i just feel like the stories aren’t really up to oscar standards.

    • CornyBlue says:

      Both were universally loved and lauded, created by two visionaries and having an amazing story. ( yes Mad Max had an amazing story though it was simple) It is about the victory f the human spirit in the case of the Martian and a very classic victory of Good over Evil.

      • Farhi says:

        I admittedly watched only 10 min of Mad Max but it reminded me too much of the Riddick Chronicles with Van Diesel. I actually managed to watch Riddick Chronicles (while painting the house) without turning it off, couldn’t do Mad Max at all.
        I don’t think it is unique or innovative.

      • anon33 says:

        ITA. I don’t get the hype for that movie. Period. Don’t think the story was “amazing.” At all. Bored beyond belief.

    • Emma - The JP Lover says:

      Have you guys never seen the original “Mad Max” trilogy starring Mel Gibson??

    • lunchcoma says:

      I come at things from the opposite side. I wish that movies like The Martian and Fury Road were nominated more frequently. Movies aren’t just biopics, dramas about serious social issues, and stories of people with some disadvantage overcoming it. I would love it if we could reward action movies for being gripping and compelling, comedies for being hilarious, and children’s movies for being fun. In a lot of cases, those end up being the movies that stand the test of time anyway, while some Oscar nominees are forgotten as soon as the producers pick up their award.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      Both films picked up multiple nominations in the technical categories. They’re very well crafted films. The people in the guilds are going to vote for the films that best represent their crafts for Best Picture.

      I also enjoyed both of them immensely.

    • pinetree13 says:

      I agree lem…i enjoyed both movies but don’t find either oscar worthy. The martian was very predictable, I enjoyed it but will quickly forget it. Mad Max, I also enjoyed, but some parts were so over-the-top cheesy or ridiculous…and yes, I’ve seen the original. Technial awards sure, but a best picture? Nooooo…

  7. Nicole says:

    These are fantastic. More snarky embittered honesty! Love it!

  8. tracking says:

    This is one of your more intelligent and insightful brutally honest reviews.

    • Dee Kay says:

      I actually really liked this Oscar voter’s opinions even though they are super-old. I like that they are voting for Straight Outta Compton and totally agree with their reasoning on that. They knew what Chi-raq was and it’s true it was only in cinemas for a split second. And I liked what they had to say about Mad Max: Fury Road and Room. They seem super in touch with the film scene and they actually saw all of the movies nominated. I know a few 70+ year olds and can’t say that any of them are equally in touch with contemporary culture as this interviewee.

  9. McBeanerer says:

    “I haven’t seen Trumbo so I won’t be voting for Bryan Cranston.” Doesnt it seem sort of absurd that they don’t have to view all the movies? I suppose no more absurd than anything else about the Oscars voting system.

    • Esmom says:

      I know, it gives you good insight into what BS the process is.

    • Jsilly4e says:

      Thank you! That’s what I thought too. These movies are people’s work, some may not get nominated again, how can you not watch ALL the movies? Isn’t that your job???? SMH

    • lucy2 says:

      Especially when it’s down to just the nominees – you can’t watch 5 movies?!?! Or least some of each to see the performances?
      If a person doesn’t want to or doesn’t have time to watch the nominated films and performances, maybe it’s time for them to step aside and abstain from voting.

    • chelsea says:

      I can’t blame anyone for begging out of not sitting through Trumbo.

    • pinetree13 says:

      I know! That made zero sense to me too! SO what do they do? Just ask their buddy how he’s voting? Ridiculous.

  10. Kiki says:

    I life e brutally honest AA voters. They are really giving thes nominees hell before Chris Rock did. Oh what would they say about Hollywood themselves. Oh how the cookie crumbles. :-) muaaaaah

  11. Lucy2 says:

    Room is the one that has stuck with me. Mad Max was quiet a unique achievement though.
    I liked Brooklyn, but can see why a cranky old guy (you know this has to be a guy) might not.
    It is enjoyable how snarky Hollywood people get when they can speak anonymously.

  12. paranormalgirl says:

    “this immigrant girl comes and everything wonderful happens to her and so what?”

    “Brooklyn” was so much more than that. I’m not sure if’s Oscar calibre, but it wasn’t about great thing happening to an Irish girl and shouldn’t be simplified to that.

    • Kaiser says:

      I agree, I love Brooklyn and the simplicity of telling this young woman’s story. It was a really beautiful film!

    • CornyBlue says:

      I think on paper the story sounds very simple. But the cast and the script elevate the movie far beyond the basic pen on paper plot.

    • senna says:

      I loved Brooklyn too. It was an extremely simple story about a young girl, but there’s so much to empathize with in its telling. If you’ve ever fallen in love, made big life decisions when you were very young, had second doubts, been so homesick you felt it would crush you (this was my absolute favourite part, because the first time I moved away from home I couldn’t even listen to music that reminded me of where I grew up), acted very responsibly then irresponsibly, discovered your own sense of self after being very unsure if it, spent nights in grief over death, and then gone on living, you will find something to love in this movie. For me, at least, it was one of the rare movies I’ve seen recently where I was completely swept up in the storytelling and thinking of nothing else. It’s not going to win best picture, but it’s a gem.

      • Dee Kay says:

        This is a lovely comment on Brooklyn, and why it was so affecting. I, too, loved the film, but everyone I saw it with (three other people) didn’t like it at all.

    • Elsie Otter says:

      Ugh, his description of Brooklyn is kind of offensive. Clearly his parents/family were not struggling immigrants, or he wouldn’t be so dismissive.

      • lucy2 says:

        I found the “everything wonderful happens” remark very dismissive, especially since a good portion of the movie is her heartbreak and homesickness. It’s a small story, a quiet story, but it was a real and human experience for many, many people.

      • chelsea says:

        He was saying that for an Oscar contender the dramatic stakes weren’t high enough. What has that got to do with his background?

  13. CornyBlue says:

    This is the amazing Oscar voter who stanned for Mad Max throughout. Good god boy if only there were more like you <3

  14. Mia V. says:

    My sister watched “The Renevant” and said “The Avengers” was more plausible.

  15. SM says:

    Of course everyone is over the suffering for the art in the Revenant. I am not sure why though no one is calling out Inarritu on it. He is a well experienced and good filmmaker, he definitely should have known that making a movie in winter in the mountains in remote locations and shoot it all in natural light (by choice for the art) then it is going to be what it was. The PR around the Revenant was done really poorely.

    • Esmom says:

      My understanding is that he chose the harsh conditions so that the actors could actually experience what their characters do. My argument is that great acting is then not required since the actors are actually suffering vs pretending to. Lol.

      • chelsea says:

        It’s a more realistic approach, and it has been a valid way to make films for a very long time. The African Queen comes to mind.

    • Saks says:

      He said in an interview for a Mexican media, that various factors were involved. They filmed in natural and indian reserves so they didn’t want to disturb the environment that much, he also said something about the natural light, the schedules that the producers had given him, and that in the end the harsh conditions would help the actors.

      Honestly I don’t even care. I loved The Revenant and I want Alejandro, Leo and Chivo to win (I’d give best movie to Spotlight though).

      • Marny says:

        Right on. The Revenant was like nothing I’ve ever seen before and I thought Leo was incredible.

      • I Choose Me says:

        I also loved The Revenant and want Leo to win. Not because I think it’s his time but because I genuinely think he deserves it. I don’t get the almost rabid dislike for him but whatever. If he wins on Sunday, I’ll be cheering him on.

  16. Farhi says:

    I found Martian to be mildly entertaining, but not Oscar worthy. Couldn’t hack “Mad Max” at all. Turned it off after 10 min. Hated it, absolutely hated it. Too violent and pointless.
    And the voter didn’t watch “Trumbo”, a movie about an important moment in the US and Hollywood history? Have they no self-awareness at all? This voter is a lightweight. I am not impressed.

    • Bridget says:

      You say that like other movies haven’t been made about Hollywood’s Communist crusade.

      • Farhi says:

        I don’t remember any recently. It is a movie that makes one think, shouldn’t it be watched by people who claim to be about arts ?

        Not to mention that voters should be required to watch all the nominated work they are voting on.

        An equivalent would be judges at a subjective sports competition like say figure skating not watching half of the competitors and then still voting on them based on descriptions of their performances.

      • islandwalker says:

        Farhi- Good Night, and Good Luck. Excellent movie on the same subject from 2005.

    • CornyBlue says:

      No one watched Trumbo and with good reason. it was complete shit.

  17. Squiggisbig says:

    I feel like the best actor category is the main victim of #oscarssowhite because there are no really strong performances. I totally agree with this AA voter about Eddie Redmayne’s performance in the Danish girl!!! I also didn’t think Bryan Cranston was not particularly impressive in Trumbo (and I love Bryan Cranston and think he is generally a wonderful actor). Also when the academy has included people of color hasn’t Leo always lost? “Ray” and “Last King of Scotland” come to mind, unless I am mistaken.

  18. Scarlet Vixen says:

    I love these anonymous viewpoints from Oscar Voters. Entertainment Weekly has run an article similar to this for years, and it’s always been one of my favorites. They can be relly insightful, and/or really bitchy. They can also show you how ridiculous some of the voters’ criteria can be (“I hated the movie but I voted for so-and-so because he’s a nice guy and hasn’t won yet”).

    But can we not discount people who were alive in the 50s as “old as ass”?? S0 rude. Both my parents lived thru the 1950s, are now in their late 70s, and shockingly are still quite lucid and even have very valid opinions on a wide variety of subjects. Let’s not put people in their 70s and 80s out to pasture quite yet.

  19. Nihilipstick says:

    Except there was no Wilson. (best supporting actor that year in my opinion)

  20. gaia says:

    all these old farts hate on women centered movies

  21. senna says:

    Revenat rant ahead! I think Inarritu is an amazing director, and loved Birdman, but did not enjoy the Revenant. Perhaps the most central thing that bothers me is the missed opportunity to tell a story where an interior emotional state is conveyed through an environment. Birdman did this so well, with the main character’s delusions becoming a literal depiction of his superpowers on screen. In the Revenant, if this had been sold to us as “this is a film about the feeling of being in an extreme environment, not a revenge thriller,” I think all the implausible scenarios could have worked better. No, someone likely can’t survive going over a waterfall and onto an ice floe in the dead of winter, nor is it smart to light a fire in a snow cave over ice on a river, and I don’t think the CG people had ever seen an actual grizzly bear in motion. But all that could have been forgiven if the plot wasn’t streamlined, in the end, in pursuit of revenge. You can say, “f reality,” but if you are going to do a plot-driven conclusion one will expect that the plots make some sense in light of real-world experiences. You can make a movie about a dream-state of being where plot doesn’t matter and it’s all about cathartically making the audience live through the cold, the mauling, the death. (That opening scene was incredible, perhaps one of the best opening scenes I’ve ever seen, in no small part because we pan and swoop from death to death to death and there seems to be realistic consequences for violence). Or you can do a fantasy revenge thriller that, while implausible in certain elements, contains enough reality to convince the viewer of its premises. (See also: Mad Max, which was perhaps the best action movie I have ever watched). But you can’t do both types of movie at once.

    It also bothered me that so much of the dream imagery (which I loved!) seemed straight rip-offs of Tarkovsky’s work in The Mirror and Nostalgia. I understand homage, and 100% originality is always difficult, but I could forgive it more if the movie were also an homage to Tarkovsky’s non-narrative storytelling.

    • Farhi says:

      “It also bothered me that so much of the dream imagery (which I loved!) seemed straight rip-offs of Tarkovsky’s work in The Mirror and Nostalgia.”

      I also noticed last year in Birdman that the way Inarittu shoots his works is very reminiscent of Tarkovsky. I think this is why I like Birdman.
      But I am not complaining, we could use more of that. I doubt many people are familiar with Tarkovsky outside of art house cinema.

    • Dee Kay says:

      I thought both Birdman and The Revenant were technically brilliant. But plot-wise both were a total snooze to me. While I liked watching Michael Keaton in Birdman his character and “arc” (if you can call it that) totally bored me to pieces within minutes (I’m not the biggest fan of “backstage” dramas — omg actors are SO TORTURED — just no). In The Revenant I didn’t believe Leonardo di Caprio in the role for one cold second. That was a film where an actor had to convey everything they were feeling with their eyes and face and zero dialogue. di Caprio is just not that kind of actor.

      Tarkovsky was a genius who tried to make major statements about the meaning or meaninglessness of political systems, life structures, conventions like marriage, state institutions, etc. through his incredible visuals and minimal dialogue. It’s like Inarritu got the incredible visuals part but just couldn’t pull off the rest, and/or doesn’t have the same intellectual power at all.

  22. rosie says:

    I cant believe both anonymous voters haven’t seen The Hateful Eight. Jennifer Jason Leigh really deserves that best supporting actress award! The Academy is a joke

  23. sofie says:

    I don’t know why these voters stay anonymous when bitchin about films and actors. It’s like a high school. Grow a backbone and stand by your words. The industry is nothing but full of cowards.

    • Kiki says:

      I agree with you. But this shows how Hollywood is such bull.

    • lunchcoma says:

      They’re breaking the Academy’s rules by discussing their votes publicly. Cowardly or not, we wouldn’t get this information if we expected people to reveal their names.

  24. colleen says:

    With regard to “The Martian”, I had not read the book but when I sat down to watch it I thought to myself, “I sure hope this isn’t like “Castaway.” Looking back, maybe it was, but I found it extremely tense and engaging. And when they played David Bowie’s “Star Man” I absolutely bawled like a baby. Come to think of it, I was hormonal at the time. :)

  25. Carina says:

    How is Mad Max deep? I watched Mad Max at a friend’s house and actually thought it’s some trash-movie celebrating its dumbness and cuelty. I must admit I fell asleep.
    I just don’t see IT with that movie, especially how it can be an Oscar-container??

  26. Minxx says:

    I can’t believe they’re actually admitting not seeing the main performances! His argument “I don’t vote for him, I haven’t seen the movie” is so freaking arrogant and rude! If you are an AA member at least do your job and see the movies, I’m sure they all got the tapes. This way some actors (Brian Cranston, JJL) have no chance in this race. The more I read the “brutally honest”, the more I believe the whole process is ridiculous, it’s essentially a popularity contest with some PR thrown in – this guy heard a lot about Vikander so he’ll vote for her (won’t bother to see JJL)- campaigning and “in your face” PR pays off.
    I didn’t like the Revenant because I could not emotionally connect with the characters and obviously, it was supposed to be the story of revange but emotionally it fell flat. But if they vote based on “it’s his year” or “he’s due “, Leo will win. I have no problem with that. Fassbender was much better in Macbeth, IMO, but nobody saw the movie.

    • Farhi says:

      “I read the “brutally honest”, the more I believe the whole process is ridiculous, it’s essentially a popularity contest ”

      Completely agree. It is all about who is the most charming and campaigns the best. This is why they like Eddie Redmayne. He charms them into seeing his work and giving him a chance. If someone doesn’t take time to court voters personally to get them interested the voters might not even watch his/ her work.

      It should be mandatory for voters to watch every nominated movie they are voting on.

    • m says:

      The Martian was my favorite movie of 2015. It was funny and intense and the ending made me cry. Matt Damon played his character very well, he gave a sense of fear and confidence to Watney without having to over do it. I thought DiCaprio was great but I want Matt to win. Plus, to quote Mindy Kailing, Matt Damon is so bae, he could play Marvin The Martian and I would still see it.
      Also Starman was perfect in the movie. It could have been cheesy but instead it brought the film to another level.

      • Emma - The JP Lover says:

        @M, who wrote: “I thought DiCaprio was great but I want Matt to win. Plus, to quote Mindy Kailing, Matt Damon is so bae, he could play Marvin The Martian and I would still see it.”




  27. Heather says:

    God, I love this anonymous Oscar voter stuff! It’s hilarious. I haven’t seen too many films this year so I can’t comment on much. But my husband is a sci-fi freak ( I am SO note), so I was made to watch The Martian. I only saw the last 3/4 of it because I was cooking dinner. But it didn’t do much for me, so the Castaway reference was spot on in my mind!

    People keep saying how amazing Mad Max is. Then others say it stunk. I personally do not like those types of Vin Diesel, violent, other wordly movies but I have considered watching this one because people are raving! Tell me, is it really that good to people who don’t like action and violence (I prefer drama)? Or is it only that great to people who love that genre? Thanks!

    • anon33 says:

      I generally don’t like action/violence films, and I could not have been more bored watching it. It was like watching the Daytona 500 with violence and sand. Absolutely don’t get the hype.

    • Farhi says:

      I thought Chronicles of Riddick with Van Diesel were better, though very similar. I don’t get the hype.

    • lunchcoma says:

      If you don’t like any action films, I don’t think you’ll like Fury Road. It’s almost pure action, without any stopping between stunts for the characters to have long conversations. I think that’s part of what its fans like about it – it’s sort of a pure representative of its genre, while also turning some genre tropes and stereotypes on their heads. That does mean there’s not much there for people who are primarily fans of drama (or for that matter comedy), though.

    • vv007 says:

      Mad Max is more of a live action cartoon/comic than a proper action film. The way it looks and feels, the way it was filmed, the attention to detail—the characters, that storm, it was all very tightly well done. For me it was impressive to see what one man was able to create and part of the film’s enjoyment factor for me was wondering at the process of taking what he had compiled in his imagination and putting it to film.

      Watch it for Charlize Theron if nothing else.

      Oh and the stunts are all real. Very little CGI was used in this movie aside from the storm and flash back scenes (which were also so crazy) so when you see the “pole cats” that’s all real. It’s kind of insane to think about it.

  28. Josefina says:

    Good thing no one is falling for The Revenant’s BS campaign. It’s a Hollywood production. You had money by truckloads. If it was hard its because you wanted it that way.

  29. ShinyGrenade says:

    I would love it if Max Mad won the Oscar for Best Movie.
    That movie was unique.

  30. Kathy says:

    I seem to be the only person who noticed that Ridley Scott had female space crew wearing obvious makeup in The Martian, yet his female space crew in Alien in 1979 looked more realistic. When has anyone seen any female astronauts wearing makeup at work?

  31. Felice. says:

    So no one votes for Song do they?

  32. Moon says:

    The other voter pretty much said the same thing about the best supporting actress race. Av wins by process of elimination. She also had a very good campaign.

  33. lisa2 says:

    Hoping that The Big Short wins the Oscar. To me it is the kind of movie that should win. Very relevant to life and what is happening in our lives.

    Adam McKay showed that just because someone directs funny movies doesn’t mean they can’t do something more serious. No one bats an eye as actors doing it.

  34. HoustonGrl says:

    Just ewwww. No wonder no black actors got nominated. The academy is beyond repair. Disgusting! I hope no one gives these awards an ounce of credit. They are meaningless when given out by a bunch of racist, chauvinist 90 year-olds who haven’t even watched any movies!

  35. msd says:

    This voter isn’t as obnoxious as the first one but – once again – he (yeah, probably a man) hasn’t seen all the nominees, even in some of the big categories. They get sent all the movies FOR FREE and they still don’t watch them! Yet they all think it’s totally fine to vote anyway. Pffft. Most people here would do a more diligent job.

    Max is my fave of the BP nominees. It’s not a perfect film but it’s just so much denser, weirder and bolder than 99% of big studio movies. Warner Bros must have been freaking out about it! I love that it assumes people are smart enough to get all the subtext and notice the details without vomiting exposition. I’ve seen it three times now and each time I get new things out of it. It’s so NOT Oscar-baitythat it’d be great if it won … but it won’t : it’s not “important” enough. Hopefully Miller can sneak in for Director – fingers crossed – because Max is totally, utterly his vision. I’m quite surprised such an old member loved it, though. Maybe that’s unfair but I just thought something so loud and odd and fast wouldn’t appeal to elderly voters?

    I disagree about Brooklyn, though. It’s the opposite of Max in many ways but it’s my second fave BP movie. Yes, it’s a simple story on paper but it was executed so beautifully and so intelligently. Brooklyn had sentiment without being sentimental, which is really tricky to pull off. It annoys me when people, often men, say it’s just about a girl choosing between two guys. It’s about choice full stop; she’s choosing between two different lives, two different countries, two different futures. Ronan was wonderful too, although Larson is clearly going to win. Her progression from a somewhat downtrodden, unhappy young woman to a more confident and mature person was perfectly done, and she communicated so much with such subtlety.

  36. K says:

    I do love these, they make me laugh. I will say though that it should be a requirement that if your in the academy you have to watch all the movies.

    If you don’t agree to do that you don’t get to be in the academy. I think they’d run into a lot less problems if the members actually saw the movies.

  37. Dangles says:

    Haven’t seen it yet but from what I’ve read Son of Saul is the best film to receive a nomination this year One critic even said it was one of the best films he’s ever seen. So given that this year is a fairly weak year in the BP category why wasn’t Son of Saul nominated in the Best Picture category? Just how the Academy decides what foreign language films to include or exclude from the BP category is beyond me.