The Revenant is not only one of the best films of the last year- it’s one of the best films of the last decade. It’s unrelenting pace and momentum are equalled and complimented by its beauty and the relative simplicity of its plot. But will it steal the show at the 88th Academy Awards, as most critics seem to predict?
The likelihood is: yes. But the Oscars are always able to surprise; in 1994 for example Forrest Gump overcame both The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction to take the award for Best Picture. At the moment though both The Revenant and DiCaprio are strong favourites, with both critics and bookmakers, (DiCaprio for Best Actor is interestingly currently at 1/100 with some bookmakers, they’re under the impression he can’t lose,) and it’s hard to see past their predictions, especially given the foreshadowing at the BAFTAs. The Revenant took the BAFTA for Best Film and DiCaprio took Best Leading Actor.
This is Alejandro Iñárritu’s masterpiece, even outshining the equally unique Birdman.
The Revenant is worth its place at the top of the pile though. The films aesthetic is remarkable as the use of natural light and the decision to shoot in locations across Canada, Argentina and the USA created some intensely memorable individual shots. Equally the hardship that the cast and crew went through to make this film is unbelievable; some crew members described a ‘living hell’ and the decision to shoot only in natural light imposed massive logistical restrictions on the filming. Leonardo DiCaprio’s commitment was second to none: sleeping in an animal carcass and (after consulting his lawyers,) eating a raw bison liver, DiCaprio tried to get as close to the struggle of the real Hugh Glass as he could. While his role is likely to earn him his first Oscar, DiCaprio’s Hugh Glass actually has relatively little dialogue in the film and in some respects Tom Hardy is given more room to grow into his role. That said, arguably winning the Oscar via a largely non-speaking role would be much more impressive than doing so through a part with lots of dialogue, and at times required more subtlety in Leo’s performance.
Tom Hardy, though not favourite to take Best Supporting Actor, also has a chance at taking home an Oscar. The Revenant then really could ‘clean up’ at the 88th Academy Awards. It’s a unique and brilliant film that will have earned its place in the history of cinema. Ultimately this is Alejandro Iñárritu’s masterpiece, even outshining the equally unique Birdman, which took home the Oscar for 2014’s Best Picture.
While a good night at the Oscars is definitely on the cards for Iñárritu and DiCaprio, the extent of the victory remains to be seen. Whatever happens though, it’s bound to be interesting. Watch this space.
By George Storr
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