Results of our Academy Rewards Challenge 2015

See how our readers voted in such alternative Oscar categories as Worst Performance, Hottest Actress, Most Obvious Failed Attempt at Oscar Bait and Best Grossout.

Lego Movie (640x422)
The Lego Movie
Now that the Oscars have come and gone, it’s time to get down to brass tacks with the results of our homebrewed Academy Rewards, celebrating the real achievements in film this year. To tell you the truth, I’m kicking myself slightly for omitting the Most Likely to Present an Award With a Dubious Racist Joke Directed at His Friend category this year (Sean Penn took it with flying colours), but you can’t win ‘em all.


Most Outrageous Omission

The Lego Movie 27%

Gone Girl 24%

Mommy 18%

A Most Violent Year 14%

Inherent Vice 14%

Xavier Dolan was very vocally disappointed that Mommy wasn’t considered for the Best Foreign Film shortlist, but he took the César home a few days before the Oscars — our readers, on the other hand, saw more of an omission in the Best Animated Feature category. I loved both Inherent Vice and A Most Violent Year, but it’s not that surprising that patently uncommercial, alienating films weren’t nominated, I suppose.


Most Outrageous Inclusion

Into the Woods 43%

American Sniper 40%

The Theory of Everything 15%

Birdman 2%

The Imitation Game 0%

Clint Eastwood’s controversial American Sniper only took home a technical Oscar (for sound editing) but most of our readers agree that it had no business being up for so many awards. On the other hand, Into the Woods (which wasn’t actually nominated for Best Picture) seems to have snuck in based entirely on the presence of Meryl Streep. I wasn’t a huge fan of The Imitation Game, but apparently our readers were — or at least, they saw that this piece of awards bait was in its rightful place.


The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Comedy

The Grand Budapest Hotel 78%

Obvious Child 9%

22 Jump Street 7%

A Million Ways to Die in the West 4%

Neighbors 2%

The Academy isn’t particularly warm towards comedies most years and they’ve rarely shown Wes Anderson any love, but his latest tied with Birdman for the most nominations this year. Our readers share the Academy’s opinion, at least in light of a fairly anemic slate of comedies this year, which brings us to…


Worst Movie

The Interview 37%

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 30%

Transcendence 17%

I, Frankenstein 11%

Blended 5%

The Interview didn’t survive its torrential downpour of controversy. While I’ve been vocal about my half-hearted enjoyment of it, I can see why a pants-shitting joke as a climax might strike someone as a poor reason to send the entire world into an international crisis. The fairly low scores for the abject garbage that is Blended gives me hope in our readers, though hopefully it’s because no one’s seen it rather than because everyone loved it.


James Franco
James Franco

Worst Performance

James Franco, The Interview 38%

Johnny Depp, Transcendence 30%

Kellan Lutz, The Legend of Hercules 15%

Georges St. Pierre, Captain America: The Winter Soldier 11%

Leslie Mann, The Other Woman 6%

Franco’s irritating, over-the-top performance in The Interview takes it — not surprising, considering he often seems like he’s in a different film (possibly a cartoon) altogether. He’s followed pretty closely by the free-falling Depp in Transcendence, an already-forgotten sci-fi film where he uploaded himself into a computer or some shit. My personal pick would be St. Pierre, who South Shore-mumbles his way through a cameo as a French (from France) mercenary at the beginning of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It’s a pretty inconsequential part, but St. Pierre plays it exactly as if he were shilling energy drinks.


Most Pointless Remake

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 43%

Annie 25%

Robocop 19%

Godzilla 11%

Left Behind 2%

Remakes, adaptations, sequels and reimaginings are par for the course in Hollywood these days, but a few seem justifiable. That’s certainly not the case for the tonitruous Michael Bay-produced reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where masses of CGI hurtle at other masses of CGI while Megan Fox looks even more embarrassed than when CGI representations of Transformers were doing the same thing around her. Coming in second place is the ill-advised remake of Annie; even backed by the likes of Jay Z, it turned out to be a severely pointless and joyless retread.


Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp

Actor in Greatest Need of a Career Intervention

Johnny Depp 37%

Nicolas Cage 24%

Adam Sandler 19%

Cameron Diaz 13%

John Cusack 7%

It was actually kind of a quiet year for Depp — his only lead role came in the form of Transcendence, but it’s telling that his name above the title is no longer a mark of quality or even of box-office returns. He seems to sign up for projects based on their potential for going way the fuck over the top, and no one’s biting any more. Cage is going into his 10th straight year of alternating between not trying and trying very very hard, while Sandler struck out even in his serious outing (the laughable Men, Women & Children). Diaz and Cusack, on the other hand, might just be going through a rough patch.


Most Played Out Directorial Shtick

Ridley Scott, Exodus: Gods and Kings 30%

Lars von Trier, Nymphomaniac 26%

Woody Allen, Magic in the Moonlight 22%

Kevin Smith, Tusk 13%

Christopher Nolan, Interstellar 9%

Ridley Scott’s really only made three old-timey sword-and-sandal epics (Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven being the other ones), but it really feels like he’s repeating himself with this tired retelling of the Ten Commandments. Von Trier’s two-part Nymphomaniac was probably the most intensely Lars von Trier movie that Lars von Trier has ever made, which could be taken as a good thing or a bad thing — looks like the readers went for the latter. Nolan’s space epic may have seemed like more of the same to me, but the readers seem to disagree.


The Monuments Men
The Monuments Men

Most Obvious Failed Attempt at Oscar Bait

The Monuments Men 39%

Jersey Boys 22%

Cake 22%

St. Vincent 13%

The Good Lie 4%

It’s not so much that Clooney’s film was bad, but it squandered an interesting premise and crackerjack cast in a middlebrow film that wowed no one. The Sony email leaks showed that the film’s tepid reception made George Clooney very sad, which isn’t much of a consolation since he gets to continue being George Clooney. Clint Eastwood’s other attempt at Oscar gold, the Broadway musical adaptation Jersey Boys, sank without a trace earlier in the year, and Jennifer Aniston wasted her big dramatic breakout in a corny, by-the-book dramedy. Philippe Falardeau’s long-awaited American debut also came and went, but its intentions may have been a little sounder. Or maybe no one saw that, either.


Hottest Actor

Michael Fassbender, Frank / X-Men: Days of Future Past 52%

Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy 31%

Miles Teller, Whiplash 7%

Robert Pattinson, Maps to the Stars 6%

Chris Evans, Captain America: The Winter Soldier 4%

Michael Fassbender’s sex appeal is so fearsome that he partially dominated this category with a role wherein he wears a giant fake head for 95 per cent of the film’s runtime. Granted, it’s probably his general hotness that prevailed, but you can’t really argue with those numbers. It Boy Pratt comes in second, but his newfound ubiquity means he’ll probably pop up on here again next year. Meanwhile, R-Patz’s work with respected auteurs keeps him far away from fainting teenager territory.


Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson

Hottest Actress

Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin 40%

Emma Stone, Birdman 26%

Eva Green, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 19%

Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice 8%

Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 8%

Scarlett Johansson plays a literal space alien who preys on men in Under the Skin, but even that doesn’t take away from her desirability. Eva Green was the best part of a couple of real bad movies this year — seems like she was reason enough to see both of those belated sequels. Disappointing placement for J-Law this year, though it probably doesn’t help that she plays a very dour teenager in constant peril in The Hunger Games.


Best Sex Scene

Any / every scene, Nymphomaniac 33%

Joaquin Phoenix and Katherine Waterston, Inherent Vice 22%

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl 20%

Eva Green and Sullivan Stapleton, 300: Rise of an Empire 13%

Gemma Arterton and Niels Schneider, Gemma Bovery 11%

Real hard to pick out a sex scene in the four-hour smorgasbord of boning that is Nymphomaniac, but luckily we didn’t have to. The intense climatic (pun intended, I guess) scene between Doc and Shasta comes in second, while Green makes a respectable showing in a film that only really earned praise for her performance and/or its insane sex scene.


Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike

Best Grossout

Bedroom slice, Gone Girl 44%

DIY abortion, Dys- 28%

Gory oral sex, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero 11%

Tearing out the stitches, Wetlands 9%

Biting into a lightblub, Oculus 7%

The winning scene for this category is such a huge spoiler that I had trouble even formulating a description that would properly identify it, but it seems like most people could easily identify this key scene in the film. Local filmmaker Maude Michaud’s film Dys- only played the festival circuit, but it must’ve made a hell of an impression to rank second. The Fantasia-screened German film Wetlands unfurls a non-stop barrage of bodily secretions and gross-out moments; it’s too bad it wasn’t more widely released, because it truly needs to be experienced.


Best Villain

JK Simmons, Whiplash 31%

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl 26%

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler 19%

Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer 17%

Angelina Jolie, Maleficient 7%

The Academy also recognized Simmons’ efforts as the brutish conductor in Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash; he’s the most intense part of a relentless movie and one of the most memorable characters of the year. Pike wasn’t as lucky with her performance (whose very presence here constitutes something of a spoiler in itself — sorry!) but she came very close to snatching it from Simmons.

And congratulations to the two winners of the contest portion of the Academy Rewards Challenge. JJ Rogers and George Lee accurately predicted the winners of the six major Oscar categories, and have each won five double passes to Cinéma du Parc.