Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


The Badger Herald’s breakdown of 88th Academy Awards: What won, what should have won, what to look out for

Despite overwhelmingly white Oscar nominations, winners like Brie Larson, Leonardo DiCaprio deservedly take home gold
The Badger Heralds breakdown of 88th Academy Awards: What won, what should have won, what to look out for
Photo Courtesy of Giphy User

Defined by prestige, showmanship and, above all, talent, the Academy Awards aim to acknowledge the best in film from the previous year.

Though a largely caucasian group took home the the trophies this year, the expected but well-deserved results marked the ceremony more than anything else. Here is The Badger Herald’s take on what and who won, who should have won and who to look out for in the future.

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

While raised in Milwaukee, this British-born actor has few American film or stage credits other than his portrayal of Rudolf Abel in Spielberg’s latest movie. “Bridge of Spies” maintains a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has received its fair share of commendation, but, bottom line, it’s just another one of Spielberg’s rather formulaic, feel good, big-budget films one would ideally see with grandparents on a Sunday.


Who to Look Out For: Mark Ruffalo’s gripping performance in “Spotlight” was nothing short of extraordinary for someone usually stuck in mediocre romantic comedies and superhero movies. This time around, however, Ruffalo’s tough, poignant portrayal of Pulitzer-winning journalist Michael Rezendes is nothing to laugh at. At 48, Ruffalo is perhaps at a turning point in his career, finally seeking higher-brow work to fit the talent he clearly possesses. Be sure to keep an eye out for this Kenosha, Wisconsin born gem.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson, “Room”

A truly awe-inspiring performance from 26-year-old Brie Larson was one of the hallmarks of film this year. Her character Joy is self-assured, but malnourished and depression-stricken. Despite her circumstances, she holds out hope for a life beyond the room she and her five-year old son, Jack, share after an man they refer to as Old Nick kidnapped them. Capturing the disbelief and utter horror surrounding cases of long-term kidnapped victims, “Room” is something new.

Who To Look Out For: Saoirse Ronan, the young Irish actress in “Brooklyn,” has proven time and again she can deliver. At 13, she received her first Academy Award nomination for “Atonement,” a film many consider to be one of the most accurate, compelling book adaptations of the modern era. Ronan’s career, including roles in other Oscar movies “The Lovely Bones” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” are hopefully leading up to a major payoff for Ronan in the near future.

Best Original Screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

This was arguably the most airtight, close-to-flawless script written for film this year. Singer and McCarthy captured all the essentials in a good script: stakes, fleshed out characters, motivations and turning points. Nothing beats this behemoth of a story, despite the fact the story was already there for the taking.

What Should Have Won: Despite “Spotlight” having an exemplary script, a win for “Straight Outta Compton” would have been something to talk about. The film was a fan favorite, garnering much praise for its depiction of the ’80s rap group N.W.A. and their significance culturally and artistically. In addition, a film with a predominantly black cast and a confident script, would have certainly given the Oscars what it so desperately needs in the diversity department.

Best Picture: “Spotlight”

Much like the Oscar bait films that have come before it (we’re looking at you, “The King’s Speech”), “Spotlight” has a certain vibe to it suggesting it had one goal — to nab the Best Picture. It’s not necessarily a bad objective, but when a film is just too good, often it’s frustrating to see other, more original films get snubbed. In addition, the film’s award is not surprising in the least, given the subject matter and execution.

What Should Have Won: Take or it leave it, but “The Revenant” was a force of nature and rightly deserved the highest honor. The cinematography, acting and direction made this film a clear choice.

What to Look Out For: Adam McKay proved he can go beyond “Anchorman” and “Step Brothers” with the commercial and critical hit “The Big Short.” More interestingly, in exchange for “The Big Short,” McKay was required to direct “Anchorman 2” in order to offset any losses the film may have experienced. But at $123 million in revenue, McKay’s latest is well on its way to surpassing the profits of the Will Ferrell sequel. Keep eyes open for more of this director’s upbeat, sardonic work.

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Let’s face it, this was inevitable. Being nominated a record six times for the Oscar, DiCaprio can finally claim to be an Academy Award-winning actor. Many would claim it’s a long time coming for the actor whose roles have ranged from the greedy Wolf of Wall Street to the guy denied access to the floating wooden door. It’s not known if Leo actually wanted the Oscar as much as we wanted him to, but he has it now. The only person who can take it away from him? 

Photo Courtesy of 20
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *