At this point, I believe Kevin Lee has completed his Oscar 2016: Video Evidence video essays having added Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. Additionally, he has created a #OscarsSoWhite video that offers six African-American performers or creators overlooked by the Academy, leading to the gross under-representation of people of color among the nominees.
In the Best Cinematography video, Lee recommends watching the footage without his commentary first, to see what you notice, then again with his commentary. I did this with my film class and had great success discussing why they thought a particular film deserved the Oscar. Lee’s main point is that only when the sound and context are pulled away can the cinematography be judged on its own merit.
In the Best Director essay, Lee posits that its not enough for a director to simply do good television on the big screen. His two favorites–The Big Short and Mad Max: Fury Road–win their spots by the virtue of their innovative rhythms on screen.
Kevin Lee’s choice for Best Picture is The Big Short, which he puts in a small but illustrious group of films he calls “essay films.” The most famous of these he mentions is Orson Welles’ F for Fake. He goes on to describe the miraculous way The Big Short manages its subject matter: the 2005 housing bubble. The video will make you glad the film is already on bluray and you have your second chance to see it.
Finally, Lee wants to make it clear that Academy voters continue to do wrong in their lack of recognition to creators and performers of color. His #OscarsSoWhite video suggests one option for each major category without any commentary at all.