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Chris Rock soared as the host of one of the most controversial award ceremonies to date; his barbs were delivered with aplomb, levity and fairness; humorous aphorisms eliminated the “sting” of elimination. Possibly too repetitious but universally tempered with a benign sensitivity and awareness that never again will the Academy Awards be as colorless as the 88th!

The two major surprises, that kept me financially solvent, and squashed the hopes of those few contest survivors were Best Supporting Actor (Mark Rylance) and Best Picture, “Spotlight” besting “The Revenant”; both worthy winners. The anomaly rests with the almost guaranteed victory and partnership of Best Director/Best Film. For the second year in a row Alejandro G. Inarritu won Best Director (last year’s Best Picture “Birdman”), this year for “The Revenant” but did not garnish the Best Picture award, which deservedly went to “Spotlight”. About 80% of the time they are linked, but here are a few exceptions:

1989: Oliver Stone won Best Director For “Born on the 4th of July”; lost Best Picture to “Driving Miss Daisy”.

1998: Steven Spielberg for “Saving Private Ryan”, Best Picture, “Shakespeare in Love”.

2000: Steven Soderbergh, “Traffic”, losing Best Picture to “Gladiator”.

2003: Roman Polanski, “The Pianist”, bumped for Best Picture by “Chicago”.

2005: Ang Lee, “Brokeback Mountain” felled by “Crash”.

Future ceremonies will not guarantee “linked” assumptions.

This year was gargantuan for “Peneflix” entries; hundreds from all over globe aimed for the prize, some of you came  close, but alas, no victors.

There is a prize of sorts; someone with initials M.C. entered seven times, all varying choices; for fearlessly, egregiously disregarding the rules, wins the “Chutzpah” Gold.

Thank you for your continued readership; it is comforting to know so many of us perpetually imbibe in the therapeutic, heady elixir of film.


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