Oscar night never fails to deliver on surprises, but the 88th ceremony, which kicked off just 25 hours ago was among the most shocking. The Revenant's take was left to its three star players in favor of a film (Mad Max Fury Road) once hought too weird to be taken seriously by the stuffy Academy. Let's run down the unexpected moments of the night!
First, the winner surprises:
Spotlight wins Best Picture
The nominee that most pundits had all but given up on became the newest example in recent years to defy those "can't happen" statistics. The festival staple was the season's first front-runner, but kept getting underestimated next to the big dollar heavyweights like The Revenant and the emergence of similarly politicized, but higher pedigreed The Big Short. But there is power in the preferential ballot and you can bet that Spotlight's win was solidified by number of second and third place votes. Given the broad admiration for the film, its somewhat surprising that the film's chances to win were so doubted.
"The Writing's On The Wall" wins Best Original Song
After Lady Gaga's performance brought the unusually standing ovation averse audience to their teary feet, even Sam Smith seemed gobsmacked that she lost. The combination of political fire, an agressive campaign, and Diane Warren's nomination history were thought to be unstoppable. Damn, Academy, you guys really like "Skyfall."
Ex Machina wins Best Visual Effects
Manuel gave us a fun bit of trivia on the win earlier, but this is a win we'll likely be celebrating around these parts for some time. Like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Best Editing win, this was a gasp-inducer that no one expected. It's also the rare craft win (and nomination) for a supporting design element - hooray for BEST, not MOST! Dance party at A24 headquarters!
The Mad Max Hour
It really did feel like the steampunk actioner could go all the way towards the middle of the show. While its six wins weren't quite so surprising in themselves, the rapid succession of statues felt for a minute like dominoes falling into place. One more commercial break and its winning streak came to a dead hault, but the love in the room for Mad Max was more palpable than for any other film. WITNESS!
Losers, oddities, and more after the jump...