In the Mix

April 25, 2021

The 93rd Academy Awards

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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Last year the #Oscars were really early. This year, they were really late… and VERY different…

But it wasn’t just the show that was very different, my coverage was equally unique. I saw none of the nominated movies or performances. Goose egg. The pandemic shut down most of the theaters for most of the year. What moviemakers couldn’t get on streaming services didn’t get seen.

So attempting to write my annual review in hindsight is going to be a challenge, but guess what… I figured it out…

This years review is going to be about perspective as opposed to hindsight. Ironic. 2020 was not 20/20… figure that out…

Show presentation: I noted last year that I am a fan of the no-host #Oscars. I am now also a host of the no-audience #Oscars. It was a creative coup to split the show between venues while clearly needing the benefit of #Zoom presentations as well. Don’t like the video attendance for any awards show, but, I understand.

And while it was much more intimate by necessity, it is likely a one-off. We’ll be back at the Dolby theater/full audience sooner than later… but I’m still sticking with no-host. It works.

Best Picture: Nomadland
Just looking at the other nominees, my #Oscar goes to #Diversity. Many of the films featured actors of color… actors from other countries… foreign languages… a film featuring a disability… Directors of color – male and female…
Congratulations #Oscar. #OscarNotSoWhite anymore.

Best International Feature Film: Another Round/Denmark
Better Days/Hong Kong
The Man Who Sold His Skin/Tunisia
Quo Vadis, Aida?/Bosnia and Herzegovina
(This is just my attempt at making us all more worldly. People around the world live very differently than we do as Americans and these films are proof. These are windows into someone else’s world. See them all…)

Best Music (Original Score): Soul
Best Music (Original Song): Fight For You/Judas and the Black Messiah

Both of these awards represent wins for themes connected to the Black Experience. And most of the nominees in both categories represented the same range of #Diversity as identified in the Best Picture category. Congratulations again #Oscar.

Directing: Chloe Zhao/Nomadland
The perspective for this category is that all of the nominees were either from another country or from an underrepresented group except for one… David Fincher for Mank. Two women three men. One Danish man… one English woman… a Chinese American woman and a South Korean American man. I can remember when they were all white men…

I think this also says something about the direction the academy is going in voice. International nominees used to be confined to international categories. A signal that the film industry doesn’t live only in LA…

Actress in a Leading Role: Frances McDormand/Nomadland
This one threw me because I wanted Viola Davis to win. But, I have had occasion to see Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and understand why the #Oscar went to someone else. I was also hoping in lieu of dashed hopes for Viola Davis that Andra Day would win for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. But I think the truth for this category is the same as the truth for best actor. Sometimes, regardless of what we’re feeling, the best performance does win the award…

Of note: all of these performances highlight strong women faced with opposition. Congratulations #MeToo…

Actress in a Supporting Role: Yuh-Jung Youn/Minari
Some real contenders in the category and a relative unknown – by Hollywood standards – walks away with the win. Hmmmm…
This win appears to be old school Academy. A win for the adorable old lady. Will be interested to see Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy and Olivia Coleman in The Father to see how this win stands up…

Actor in a Leading Role: Anthony Hopkins/The Father
This win is an example that the best performance should win. Chadwick Bozeman’s posthumous nomination was a tribute to a talented young actor who’s reputation and disposition was confirmed. But as mentioned in the lead actress category, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was a disappointment overall as a production. I’ve seen Viola Davis in better stories and expect to see her in better hence forth.

Give Chadwick Bozeman an #Oscar for his body of work – Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall. Those were poignant, historic performances… not Levee Green.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Daniel Kaluuya/Judas and the Black Messiah
Looking at the weight of the category, this was as close to an honest win with no – BUT – as I see this year. Three Black men, a Jewish man and a man who grew up supporting parents with disabilities. Congratulations Academy. #Diversity

So I think the big W for the 93rd Academy Awards goes to #Diversity. The last few years of #Oscar have been mired in controversy. #MeToo, #OscarSoWhite, politically incorrect host incidents, now a pandemic.

The good news is that for whatever reason, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has opened the door and let EVERYONE in. Again, not sure who, what, why, when or where it comes, but, I’ll take it. Take it.

Hindsight is 20/20? Not sure we can figure that out for 2020, but…
See you for #Oscar 2022… 🤷🏾‍♂️🤞🏾