Award season is upon us. The Golden Globes, the Writer's Guild Awards, the SAG's, and the Spirit Awards have all come and gone, paving the way for the final and most prestigious honor of the season—The Academy Awards. Whether you’re a casual viewer who watches just to see the designer dresses, or if you're an avid fan throwing your annual Oscar party, the Academy Awards are hard to miss. Until Oscar Sunday the predictions and spectacle will be the talk of the town, as everyone tries to nail down who the big winners will be.
Embrace the excitement and get in on the fun too! Even if you don't plan on going all-out and throwing an Oscar viewing party, you can still get involved. Print off an awards ballot from the many available online and choose your picks. Make it a game—the person in your family with the most correct predictions wins a prize of your choosing. Create a spread of fancy (or not so fancy) hors d'oeuvres, crack open the champagne (or root beer floats), and embrace the Academy Awards for the cinematic celebration that they are.
To help you get in the mood for Oscar Sunday (or to wow your Oscar party attendees with insider-information), here are some facts you likely didn't know about the Academy Awards!
What often steals the show more than the winners? The Oscar dresses. Not only are they made by the best of the best in the fashion world, but they're also crazy expensive. Cate Blanchett's couture Armani gold dress and jewels that she wore to the Academy Awards in 2014 is the most expensive Oscar dress ever worn on the red carpet. It cost $18.1 million. But don't let the price get you down! The Oscars are a great way to get a head's start on new fashion trends, and the internet is often ablaze after the show with ways to get the trends you saw on the red carpet on a realistic budget (like these ideas from Brit + Co.)
For those in the film business, winning an academy award is still the fastest way to climb the career ladder. Not only do most winner's see an increase in their paycheck's post-win, but they also immediately have A-List directors and producers knocking on their door to work on their next big project. With few exceptions, winning an Oscar is a game-changer. The televised broadcast banks on the award's elite status in order to bring in viewers, and for that reason, keeping the winners a secret before the big reveal is very important. The Academy learned this fact the hard way. Before 1941, the Academy would release the winners to the press a few hours early in order for them to have time to print the list of winners in the morning papers, but in 1940, the Los Angeles Times leaked the information to the public before the show, ruining the surprise for fans and nominees alike. Since then, the winner envelopes have been sealed and guarded vigilantly until the moment the winner's name is read on stage.
HISTORY - BY THE NUMBERS
The Oscars have come a long way in their 88 year history. Over the years, Meryl Streep has racked up the most acting nominations with 19, and Woody Allen has also had a total of 19 nominations—18 for writing/directing and one for acting. Best Picture winners are typically the movies with the longest running times such as Gone with the Wind and Ben-Hur, which bodes well for The Revenant this year since it's the longest film out of the eight nominated. The longest ever awards ceremony was the 2002 Oscars, clocking in at 4 hours and 23 minutes. Attempts have been made to keep the Oscar speeches to a minimum so the show doesn't run too long, but for those of you hosting Oscar parties, you might want to prepare some during-the-show activities to keep your guests entertained!
If you need something to bring up in conversation at the water cooler, the big story this year is Leonardo DiCaprio. Can he finally win an Oscar? Nominated for his fifth time since 1994, Leo has critics, industry moguls, and fans all rooting for him to finally get a win this year. For decades, DiCaprio has been in the mix, watching his costars walk away with the award, and experts are saying that this year might finally be the year he wins one. With over 30 acting credits to his name and dozens of critically acclaimed performances, everyone will be watching to see if Leo finally wins the big award or if he's snubbed yet again.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the eye-candy on the red carpet this year as the industry’s best and brightest celebrate the art of cinema. The Oscars air on ABC, Sunday, February 28th which means there’s still time to head to the theater to see the nominated films!
Who Will Win? A Few of Our Picks
There are eight nominees this year for Best Picture with vast plots and themes. The director of last year's Best Picture winner, Iñárritu (Birdman) has his film nominated again with The Revenant—his epic, sweeping tale of fur trapper, Hugh Glass, as he seeks revenge for his family while lost in the freezing Northern plains. The nominees also include two big blockbusters—Mad Max: Fury Road and Matt Damon’s space adventure, The Martian. One of the quieter movies nominated, Room, tells the story of a mother and son who were kept captive by their kidnapper in a tiny room for years—so long in fact that the son has never known life outside the four walls. There's also John Crowley's sweet and poignant coming-to-America tale, Brooklyn, and Spielberg's Cold War story starring the always charismatic Tom Hanks—Bridge of Spies. Rounding out the eight nominees are two ensemble cast dramas: Spotlight, about the priest molestation scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in Boston in 2001, and The Big Short about the real estate crash and financial crisis in 2007.
OUR PICK: The Revenant
All but one of the men nominated in the Best Actor category have been nominated for an Academy Award before, but only one has actually won one. Bryan Cranston is the only first-time nominee, and Eddie Redmayne is the only past winner. The others, Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender and Leonardo DiCaprio have all been nominated before, but haven't won the award for acting just yet (Matt Damon does have an Oscar for screenwriting).
OUR PICK: Leonardo DiCaprio
New to the Oscar nomination list are Best Actress nominees Brie Larson and Charlotte Rampling. Saoirse Ronan is nominated for the second time for her role in Brooklyn. She was last nominated when she was thirteen years old for her show stopping role in Atonement. Jennifer Lawrence and Cate Blanchett are no strangers to the Oscar stage with Blanchett's two wins and Lawrence's one. Brie Larson has racked the most wins this award's season though for her role in Room and is the clear frontrunner in the category.
OUR PICK: Brie Larson
Only two directors in the history of the Oscars have won back-to-back Best Director awards despite many being nominated two years in a row. Alejandro G. Iñárritu just might beat the odds and snatch it again this year. He's up against Adam McKay (The Big Short), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Lenny Abrahamson (Room) and Tom McCarthy (Spotlight). In my opinion, the only one who might give Iñárritu a run for his money is George Miller for the technical masterpiece that is Mad Max. Still, the Academy surely didn't forget how Iñárritu froze in inhumane conditions to make The Revenant and did so while creating a visual stroke of genius unlike any other.
OUR PICK: Alejandro G. Iñárritu
The Consensus: The Revenant will snatch up the big awards and Mad Max will clean house on the technical ones like sound editing and special effects, but most likely, these two films will battle for the most trophies. Let’s watch and see!