The false narrative advanced by 20th Century Fox and its multi-million-dollar Oscar publicity strategy that The Revenant was made at a great cost to the physical well-being of many is one that has, throughout this awards season, paid dividends, and will continue to do so in at least a number of Oscar categories. But the unfortunate side effect of convincing audiences that Alejandro González Iñárritu and his cast and crew, especially Leonardo Dicaprio, almost died for their art in sub-frozen weather will likely, and ironically, work against the film in the category where its most worthy of acclaim, as it may sufficiently cast doubt about whether The Revenant’s pageant of chaffed skin, frizzy hair, and frozen nose snot can entirely be attributed to makeup artists Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman, and Robert Pandini.
We won’t pretend to have seen
Jackass Presents: Danish Bad Grandpa The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, and neither will Oscar voters. On principle, though, we’re pleased by the film’s leftfield nomination, and we hope that whatever methods Music Box Films put into motion to bring it about will serve as a model for other boutique distributors struggling to get their little film engines that could recognized in the above-the-line Oscar categories where more than a Google image search is necessary to properly access its merits.
That Mad Max: Fury Road entered the Oscar race through sheer force of will is fitting given that it’s essentially a two-hour pageant of uninterrupted rage against the machine. It imagines a world not so unbelievably removed from our own, at least from Oscar’s water-parched home state, where humans are nightmarish representations of their worst impulses or someone else’s abuses. Every marker of these compulsions and victimizations goes beyond dirt and grime: lips grotesquely chapped by drugs, tattoos cattle-branded onto starved bodies, a peacocking Immortan Joe’s S&M show of dominance. And all of it, as the profits of every Halloween store across the country will attest to, with a level of makeup and hairstyling craft that’s become iconic.
Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win: The Revanant
Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road