As always, the acting categories at the Oscars are filled with star power. About the male category, I still read articles by critics, acting like groupies, stating Leonardo Dicaprio’s hard labor for The Revenant deserves a long awaited Oscar recognition. As if it was more about Performance in the gymnasium than the actual acting skills. If we do agree he is a fine actor, it is, nonetheless, as ridiculous as it is unethical.
The absence of black actors has Will Smith, who gave an enjoyable performance in Concussion (the film in itself was just okay), is also open to debate on the obvious minority absence among nominees.
The almost automatic exclusion of actors playing in an other language than English is also a problem. The Academy should raise the nominees from five to seven so they can get five of their star powered Hollywood players (It’s just a show and it must go on after all) and they should open two spots exclusively for actors from foreign language films. For considerations the category could have included Hungarian actor Géza Röhrig in Son of Saul Belgian Benoît Poelvoorde in The Brand New Testament, Colombian Alfredo Castro (El Club) or many others.
I already wrote all the good things I think about Mark Rylance performance in a supporting role for Bridge of Spies where is playing is economical but right on ( Here: https://cinetalk.net/2016/02/10/oscar-nominee-best-actor-in-a-supporting-role/)
Supporting role category often bear the right name when it comes to women and it is not necessarily a good thing. The category should be about actresses getting shorter screen times than the main characters but they are often supportive in uninspiring roles that could have been offered to a pair of crutches. Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs and Rachel Adams in Spotlight (fine actresses of course) are simply of service in their diminutive respective film roles. Some might argue in these case it was true stories so it may just reflect how it was… An other usually interesting actress is Jennifer Jason Leigh. In Hateful Eight, she gets her ass kicked , gets beaten, molested in ways that add nothing to the story. She’s certainly not into girl power.
The Best actress this year, Regina Casé, for Brazil’s The Second Mother, is not even a nominee. In her role of a maid (yes it can be a good role when written correctly), seeing after several years of absence her troubled daughter, she offers an amazing and moving presence with deep drama and a self contained but effective humor that is refreshing and Oscar worthy.
Welcome to the 21st century academy. It started 15 years ago, time to wake up and make major changes to your rules.