The Oscars. Hollywood Christmas morning. The unique time of year when the film industry comes together and honors the achievements of others for the entire world to see live on television. With more than 20 million viewers each year, the Oscars are no small show. However, this year has been a little different … from the opening scene, to the historic Oscars, to the snubs, there’s a lot to talk about.
The opening “scene”
In the first seconds of the beginning of the Oscars, I already knew that we were facing something totally different from what has been seen as normal in the last 90 years. According to Steven Soderbergh, the man in charge of producing this year’s Academy Awards, said in the days leading up to the Oscars: “We are going to announce our intention immediately … From the beginning, people are going to know: ‘We have to get seatbelt'”. In fact, he was very correct with that statement.
When the Oscars kicked off at 5:00 PM PST, I was prepared to see the same high plane descending towards the hosts to welcome viewers home to the annual awards ceremony. Instead, the special starts out like a movie. The initial image of the famous Oscar statue plays for a few seconds and then Regina King, known for her portrayal in the movie If Beale Street Could Talk, picks up the statue from its pedestal and begins to confidently walk through the Union courtyard. Station in downtown Los Angeles.
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Upon entering the building, colored text fills the screen saying: “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presents: The 93rd edition of the Oscars”.
She strides across Union Station as men and women in suits stare at her and smile as the film credits begin to flash on the screen. After what seems like an awkward time, he finally arrives in the zone with all the nominees. Each of the nominees sits at a small round table with their families, husbands or wives, or with other nominees. It is definitely smaller than the traditional Dolby Theater, which houses 3,400 people. Regina King takes the stage and welcomes both spectators and nominees to the Oscars ceremony.
The opening was definitely a little weird and awkward, but this past year it’s been exactly the same … so it fit … in a weird way.
The first person of color and the second female director to win the “Best Director” award.
Chloe Zhao, the director of Nomadland, has won the Oscar for best director. Zhao is the first person of color to win the award and only the second woman in Oscar history to win it, after Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for her film The Hurt Locker. It has taken a long time for a second woman to join Bigelow on the prestigious list of women who have been recognized by the Academy, but there are still many more talented women waiting their turn to share her voice.
Nomadland, based on the book of the same name, follows a sixty-year-old woman who loses her job due to the Great Recession. Realizing that he no longer has anything to lose, he sets out on a trip through the Midwest in a van with friends, and leads a whole new life.
The Chadwick Boseman snub
Following the unexpected passing of Chadwick Boseman, known for his starring role as Black Panther / T’Challa in the Marvel Universe, fans and critics around the world were looking forward to the release of his latest film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Once released on Netflix, her performance was called “unforgettable” and “haunting.” The criticism sealed the deal for what everyone already assumed was going to be a victory for Boseman. When the nominations came out, I even predicted that I would win. You can see it here.
Fans and critics thought that the Academy would understand that this Oscar meant more than just honoring her work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, it would be a culmination of her career, and it would honor the life that was cut too short. When the award finally came on Oscar night … Boseman’s name didn’t ring a bell. Instead, the award went to veteran actor Anthony Hopkins. Following this snub, the Internet exploded, calling it a “La La Land Moment” and that “Chadwick really deserved [la victoria]”.
The cinematic aspect
Along with the strange opening scene, there was an overall “cinematic” vibe throughout the awards show that attracted attention. In the past, the Oscars had their own awards show look. It looked like all the other award galas, with no fancy camera movements or lighting, just documenting the show. This year has been very different. It’s like the Oscars are trying to look like a movie. Every camera movement had a very cinematic look to it. The lighting was soft, just like in the movies. All the takes had a slow, dramatic quality. Overall they managed the cinematic look, but it certainly stood out from the years before, leaving me a bit confused and perplexed as to why.
Oldest person to win an Oscar in any category
Anthony Hopkins, for his role in “The Father,” won the Oscar for “Best Leading Actor” in 2021, one of the most prominent and anticipated categories at the Oscars. Hopkins was 83 years old on awards night, making him the oldest person to win an Oscar in any category. His victory came as a surprise, as fans and critics believed in Chadwick Boseman for his role as Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Overall, this year’s Academy Awards were definitely one for the books. It was strange and daring, but there were certainly moments to remember. If you didn’t get a chance to see the awards, try to find some clips of the great moments on YouTube to keep the conversation going. If you have, I hope you enjoyed it or at least recognized some of the things and laughed.