Most Academy Awards winners

The 2016 Academy Award Winners, Ranked From Most to Least Unjust

Ex MachinaFrom the truly unworthy to the well-deserved, the Oscar winners ran the gamut.

Anyone who's watched the Oscars knows the most deserving nominees don't always win, but some injustices are graver than others. So we've ranked the winners of the 2016 Academy Awards, from least to most deserving. Enjoy.

Best Animated Short: "Bear Story"

Don Hertzfeldt's "World of Tomorrow" is a work of crazy genius, and it's the only short film in this category that people will still be watching years from now. An unsettling exploration of memory and identity told though with time-traveling stick figures, it's hardly the warm tongue bath the Academy usually awards in this category, but a win for anything else is just wrong.

Best Documentary: "Amy"

Asif Kapadia's chronicle of Amy Winehouse's spiral into self-destruction is a gripping assemblage, but this makes two times now that "The Look of Silence's" Joshua Oppenheimer, whose "The Act of Killing" lost to "20 Feet From Stardom" in 2014, has fallen to a music-driven documentary about the vicissitudes of fame. "Act" and "Look" are landmarks in the history of the form: challenging, groundbreaking works that use the medium to its fullest potential for illuminating historical and personal truth and confronting the ways that truth is constructed, but Oscars voters apparently find pop stars and working artists more relatable than the perpetrators and victims of Indonesian genocide.

Best Original Song: "Writing's on the Wall"

Sam Smith's lugubrious, histrionic Bond theme is the worst Oscar winner of 2016, but it also triumphed in a category with no good choices. Smith compounded the error in his acceptance speech by falsely taking credit for being the first openly gay Oscar winner, apparently because of Ian McKellen's observation that no openly gay actor had ever won an Oscar.

Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, "The Revenant"

Give Iñárritu credit: By playing up the riskiness and difficulty of "The Revenant" and "Birdman, " he's swayed the Academy to think about directors the way they usually do about actors. If this were an award for Most Directing, he'd win it hands down. But if Iñárritu talks a good game, seducing Academy voters by painting the filmmaking process as a crazy, madcap adventure, he's also responsible for his movies' failure to follow through on their grand pronouncements, and the conceptual hollowness at their core. His mouth writes checks his films only pretend to cash.

Best Adapted Screenplay: "The Big Short"

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay's illustrated lecture on the subprime mortgage crisis is funny and sharp, and never lets you forget it. But in a category that also included Phyllis Nagy's diamond-cut "Carol" and the economical sentiment of Nick Hornby's "Brooklyn, " picking "The Big Short" is rewarding flash over substance.

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant"

And speaking of flash over substance... I've said my piece on why Leonardo DiCaprio's win — deserved, but not for this movie — underlines the Academy's narrow, dully predictable taste in performances. But Best Actor was a weak category all around this year, which makes it difficult to point to a fellow nominee and say he was robbed. (Actually robbed: "Creed's" Michael B. Jordan, who wasn't even nominated.) At least winning his long sought-after Oscar will free Leo up to make a nice comedy or two.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, "The Revenant"

There's no question that Lubezki is one of the greats, but his work in "The Revenant" was so heavily reminiscent of the movies he's shot with Terrence Malick that it sometimes felt like he was plagiarizing himself. Much of the blame lies at the feet of his director: There are only so many ways you can shoot a symbolic female figure with arms outstretched against a backdrop of untamed nature. But given the chance to recognize Ed Lachman's sublimely nuanced work on "Carol" or John Seale's "Mad Max: Fury Road" innovations or even Robert Richardson's masterful use of the unforgiving 70mm format on "The Hateful Eight, " the Academy chose to honor Lubezki for the third year running.

Best Foreign-Language Film: "Son of Saul"

László Nemes' debut is kind of a one-idea movie, but it's a pretty good idea: representing a member of the Sonderkommando's survival instinct through extreme shallow focus that literally blots out the horrors around him. (Memo to the Academy: Don't play off the director of the Holocaust movie with Wagner.)

Best Actress: Brie Larson, "Room"

In a supremely strong year for Best Actress, there were no wrong answers, and though I would have picked Charlotte Rampling's bone-deep performance in "45 Years" or Saoirse Ronan's luminous work in "Brooklyn" first, Larson found levels within her character's anguish rather than pushing it all to the surface like DiCaprio. May you love anything in your life as much as she loves Jacob Tremblay.

You might also like
EXCLUSIVE | Oscar Award Winners 2016 | 88th Academy Awards
EXCLUSIVE | Oscar Award Winners 2016 | 88th Academy Awards
Halle Berry: 5 Most Surprising Academy Award Winners
Halle Berry: 5 Most Surprising Academy Award Winners
Quality Information Publishers Inc. Classic Jimmy Stewart Narrated Short Films DVD: 1950s Movie Star/Actor James "Jimmy" Stewart History Films
DVD (Quality Information Publishers Inc.)
  • Table Of Contents:
  • (1) And Then There Were Four (1950s) - 25 Minutes
  • (2) Tomorrow s Drivers (1954) - 11 Minutes
Related Posts