TV body language expert Judi James analyses the body language we witnessed this year at the Oscars 2016!
Forget the froth and the frocks and the red carpet razzle, the very best thing about the Academy Awards is the amount of epic body language fails that we get to watch in glorious, unrelenting and often gory close-up.
Great actors can still be bad liars. They may be able to perform to perfection on a set, but focus the cameras on them while they’re having their hopes and dreams either realised at long last or crushed underfoot from the stage in front of them, and it's a different story. Losers often struggle to pull off even a mildly convincing version of feigned indifference, while even the winners crumble under the challenge to produce faux-shock and ‘Gosh, little me? Really?’ awe.
All those A and B-listers deserve their own awards for performances on the night alone, so here are my personal categories for those in the spotlight at this year's Oscars:
BEST LOOK OF ‘ABOUT TIME!’
...goes to Leonardo DiCaprio, who has waited since 1993 to get his mitts on the Best Actor Oscar (and boy did his grasp on it let us know). Leo held that gold guy tight around the legs and brandished it so high at the end of his speech that it looked like a weapon he might batter us with. Even his vocal tone sounded angry by the end, but why not when you’ve had five nominations for great acting and had to be frozen to near death and groped by a grizzly to finally get that award on your mantelpiece.
Not.letting.go. Leo grips onto his well-deserved Oscar.
THE MERYL STREEP AWARD FOR MOST HUMBLE-LOOKING WINNER
Brie Larson stormed past a gaggle of A-listers to snatch Best Actress and looked suitably awe-struck to be doing so. Her raised shoulders and raised brows signalled ‘Shock’ while the one hand cupped under her mouth was dual-usage, making her look like a teenager set to snigger in disbelief but also like someone who is so nervous they might actually be sick on stage. Thanks to a precedent set by Meryl Streep (clap hand to chest on hearing you have won, followed by gasp sob and swoon), such a tangible reaction is an achievement in itself.
BEST FACE OF THE NIGHT
Host Chris Rock, whose evening it was to lose thanks to the demonstrations outside. Chris always does the facial expression of a really really naughty child but these awards saw him excel even his own high standards with wide eyes, raised brows and a barely suppressed toothy grin that let the audience know he was going to use both barrels.
Winners of the Best Face of the Night and of Most Humble-Looking
BEST LOSERS FACE AT SEEING A FRIEND WIN
Kate Winslet, who had to sidestep any teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing disappointment at losing out on ‘Best Support’ to be filmed in intense close-up watching Leo win the main prize of the night. Kate did over-congruent too, getting pseudo-teary as she clutched steepled fingers in front of her open mouth in mock-prayer as she gazed at the stage with the look of a proud mother. Totally OTT but potentially a great ploy if it allows your tears at not winning look like generous tears of joy for someone else.
BEST ADORING PARTNER
Isla Fisher, who clung to her man Sacha Baron Cohen all the way down the red carpet, gazing adoring up into his face with an expression of besotted wonder every time he spoke. Must be love!
Proud of ya, pal!
BEST LOOK OF HUMILITY TINGED WITH ‘I’M BETTER THAN YOU LOT PUT TOGETHER’
Mark Rylance. Who wore a geezer hat on the red carpet to prove his credentials as a genuine actor rather than a glossy Hollywood screen star but who accepted his award with a dipped head of submission to the event rather than the raised chin of a guy who consistently nails the bard live at the Globe.
BEST LOOK OF FAKE DELIGHT AT NOT WINNING BUT BEING THANKED A LOT BY THOSE WHO DID
Tom Hardy turned his signature frown upside-down on the night to gurgle with mock delight at losing ‘best supporting actor’ but being mentioned and thanked from the stage by the ones who won. Come on, let’s admit it, Tom could have nailed Leo’s role in the Revenant too. His over-congruent grinning must have been secretly hiding a whole barrel-load of bile.
It's hard to have body language when you're a statuette.