Veteran leading man Leonardo DiCaprio finally brought home the gold from Academy Awards LXXXVIII Sunday night at the Dolby Theater to join “The Revenant” teammate Alejandro Iñarritu on the big stage, but the real winner of the night was the group of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” who grinded their way to six scores, including two sets of three in-a-row, to outrun the competition.
Though DiCaprio finally silenced the critics predicting yet another postseason choke, “The Revenant’s” highly-touted big three of DiCaprio, Inarritu, and Hardy ultimately underperformed. The all-star trio only chalked the scoreboard three times that the night, never coming close to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which pulled away from the very beginning.
“The Revenant” had a chance for a miraculous comeback following the presentation of the Foreign Language Film award, down 6-1 with six awards remaining on the schedule, the one win coming from the perennial all-star cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. However, DiCaprio and Inarritu were only able to able to capitalize on two of the last six opportunities to give “Mad Max:Fury Road” the victory. By the time Best Picture was to be announced, the win was already sealed, and “Spotlight” took the final score in garbage time.
Many were disappointed with DiCaprio’s long-anticipated victory speech. While fans across the world expected a genuine moment of celebration and gratitude from the John Marshall High School product, DiCaprio instead sold out to shamelessly promote some up and coming corporation called “The Environment.”
The big market “Star Wars” franchise had their first chance at some hardware since the high-profile offseason ownership change to Disney but were ultimately thwarted by staunchy defense from “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Ex Machina” in the technical categories.
Another big-market franchise failed to get on the board, as Sylvester Stallone lost the Best Supporting Actor nod to Mark Rylance of “Bridge of Spies.” Stallone, who had been penned by many as a Comeback Actor of the Year candidate, is still yet to match the success of his rookie season with the then-expansion movie “Rocky” in 1976.
Oscar rookies Alicia Vikander and Brie Larson both came to play in their first call-up to the Academy Awards, taking the Best Supporting Actress and Best Leading Actress awards, respectively. Sunday night may very well have been a preview of years to come for the two youngsters, who both have the unique combination of youth and talent to dominate the award season for a long, long time.
The cellar-dwelling “Brooklyn” and “Trumbo” continued their award season woes without one win at the Academy Awards. “The Martian,” which was heralded as one of the season’s top prospects by its performance at the Golden Globes, could not handle the jump to the big leagues and was also forced to suffer a shut-out.
We can only speculate whether Inarritu will be able to retain his big three for his next project in the offseason or whether the free agents of DiCaprio and Hardy will be enticed by the prospect of future victories with George Miller or Tom McCarthy’s successful ensemble teams. Miller can only revel in his big night for “Mad Max: Fury Road” for so long, for the hot stove is already warming up, and DiCaprio and Hardy are both due for big paydays.