Movie: The Revenant
I just looked through my notes for each category here, and almost all of them pretty much say "Not my first choice, but fine, I guess" - and that's pretty much how I feel about the movie as a whole. It was fine! It was good! I didn't love it! I'm also probably not the target audience here: I prefer my movies to have way more talking and less Toughing Out The Wilderness. I'll give it this: It was not as boring as I kind of expected. High praise, I know!
Availability: In theaters.
Best Picture: Nah. It was good but I just didn't think it was up to the level of several other Best Picture nominees this year. Once you get past the "he's out there stranded in the snow!" stuff, I just didn't feel like there was a lot of there there.
Actor in a Leading Role: Oh, fine, whatever. No, okay: various feelings here. First of all, I think the whole meme about Leo DESERVING an Oscar is ridiculous; tons of better actors haven't won them. (Alan Rickman was never nominated! Alan Rickman was never nominated.) Leo is a good actor; Leo has been a far better actor in other roles than this one. I know he actually froze and starved OMG or whatever, but this just felt very one-note to me. But it sounds like everyone thinks he will win and I've mostly come to terms with that I guess.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Um. Tom Hardy was fine? I have nothing bad to say about him here. But there are definitely stronger nominees in this category.
Cinematography: So - weird thing. I spent much of this movie thinking "THIS CINEMATOGRAPHY IS SO DISAPPOINTING. THESE VISTAS SHOULD BE BREATHTAKING. EVERYTHING LOOKS SO FLAT." So I'd say no, it does not deserve an award. But! I have talked to several people who thought it was breathtaking! So I'm almost wondering if it was a technical issue with my theater or something. (My other theory is that the snow scenery in The Hateful Eight was SO good that this seemed flat by comparison.)
Costume Design: Eh. Objectively I can recognize that putting together all those rags and bits of fur was difficult, but it just wasn't that interesting to me.
Directing: Sure. The setting and various technical difficulties certainly provided a challenge, and everything felt very precise and intentional in a way I think speaks well of the directing.
Film Editing: I was able to follow the battle and other action sequences, so clearly this was edited well. (I'm joking but also not. I'm not generally bothered by fight scenes but I do tend to have trouble following exactly what's going on.)
Makeup and Hairstyling: Sure. Making everyone look that grimy is a feat.
Production Design: I guess? Because of my personal tastes, I always want to give this to people who create very specific, elaborate historical settings, which . . . I guess this is, in a different way. So, not my first choice, but not an undeserved nomination.
Sound Editing: Okay. Lots of sounds! Bears! Weather! Rivers! Battles!
Sound Mixing: The various wilderness noises seemed to be at realistic levels vis-a-vis the dialogue and other sounds, without ever making anything too hard to hear, so sure.
Visual Effects: The bear! And, um, other things. Enh? I don't think it's not deserved but there were other movies with much more impressive and complicated effects.