Michael Keaton was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s and has enjoyed a career renaissance thirty years later. With a stellar resume of both comedic and dramatic roles, Keaton has laid down landmark performances in both the DC (Batman) and Marvel (Vulture) film universes, and his only Oscar nomination came in 2015 from playing a washed-up super hero actor in 2014’s Birdman. He’s been an anchor voice in two Pixar films: Cars and Toy Story 3, and was Tim Burton’s go-to actor before Burton and Johnny Depp mutually ruined each other’s careers. Keaton will be reuniting with Burton for the director’s live-action adaptation of Dumbo for Disney. With dramatic roles in films like The Founder and Spotlight, it would be great if someone could find a showcase for his comedic skills, because Keaton’s timing is a thing of beauty. At any rate, it’s fantastic that Michael Keaton is a big star again. Movies are better for it.
Sunday night, Spotlight was named Best Picture of 2015 by the Academy, and I’m still blown away. It’s not often that the best picture is actually the best picture nominated. The film is powerful and well-done. It’s a story of journalistic investigation that can only be compared on film to All the President’s Men (click here for my review of Spotlight). The investigation into the Catholic Chuch priest abuse scandal could have been easily exploitative or anti-Christian, and the film is neither. It simply lays the facts out of a systematic, institutionalized streak of sin (no other word for it) in what is supposed to be a place of joy, comfort, solace and safety.
The most powerful scene, and I don’t think this will in any way ruin it for those who haven’t seen it, is the last one. After the publication of Spotlight’s investigation, The Boston Globe was anticipating picketers, crowds and a tsunami of calls to the front desk. The scene picks up with Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo arriving at the Globe’s offices and finishes with a gut punch that left everyone in my theater (including myself) dumbstruck.
Michael Keaton and director Tom McCarthy with the real Spotlight team.
Anyone who wondered if Chris Rock was going to address the controversy surrounding the lack of minority nominees in his second, turn as Oscar host, had about six seconds to wonder. Rock, in a monologue so strong that it reminded everyone why he’s the best stand-up comedian today, absolutely blasted the Academy, the boycott, racism in general and did it all in such a wise and hysterical way that I don’t think anyone else could have. In fact, the first half of the show was pretty much The Chris Rock Variety Show With a Special Focus on Race….and it was (with a few exceptions) pretty brilliant. Before we get to the actual awards, which were every bit as bizarre as the rest of the night, here’s Rock’s monologue:
It was never even close. The Killing Time Community Film of 2015 by a 40 point margin is Star Wars Episode VIII: The Force Awakens!!! I agree and named it Best Picture when the Renaissance Awards went up yesterday (click here to review). Mad Max: Fury road finished a distant second and The Revenant (which I suppose is the Community’s pick amongst those films actually in the running tomorrow) finished third.
What I thought was great was that every single one of the 15 nominated films got votes. Even if Star Wars wasn’t your favorite film this year, there was a film(s) that will stick with you and I think the breadth of the voting once you got past the juggernaut in first showed that. Tomorrow night is OSCAR NIGHT! Tune in so you can understand what I’ll be screaming about on Monday. It’ll be interesting to see if host Chris Rock addresses Spike Lee’s boycott. I think the thing I’m most rooting for is for John Williams to win Best Score for Star Wars with his 50th Oscar nomination (FIFTY). It may be the last chance for the maestro, and he legitamitely deserves it. Our look back at 2015 has ended (though expect a mega lightning review bomb next week of the films I watched to catch up) and it’s time to begin 2016 in earnest. See you at the movies!
Here are our legacy winners (all PG-13, huh): 2012: The Dark Knight Rises 2013: Gravity 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy 2015: Star Wars Episode VII
Welcome to the 15th annual KT Renaissance Film Awards! Created by myself years ago to ward off the amply demonstrated madness that claws at my soul each year when the Oscars get things so very wrong in their awarding. The categories (with the exception of an added ensemble award that I cribbed from the SAG awards) are the same, and unlike the Oscars these awards are fluid. I may well change my mind. I might see something that I haven’t, and the awards will be updated to reflect my mercurial mood swings. (And just for the record, I did these on paper before Sunday’s awards, so if I happen to agree with the Academy, be assured it is a freak occurrence.) Continue reading 2016 Renaissance Film Awards (Killing Time’s Oscars)→