HOLLYWOOD—It has finally come to an end, and if I’m being honest I am happy. Awards season is over as the 2021 Oscars were held from two locations, the famed Dolby Digital Theatre and a train station (yes a train station people) for the first time in its history. Yes, it is a pandemic taking place America, so Hollywood’s elite gathering in one location just was not feasible.
With that said, “Mank” walked into the ceremony with 10 nominations and barely made a hiccup in the ceremony, because the night’s big winner was “Nomadland” who won a total of 3 prizes including Best Picture.
Before we talk about all the winners, let’s talk about the ceremony first. Was it unlike anything seen before? Yes, but at the same time, explain why this ceremony had to be 3 hours still WITHOUT a host, no massive audience. I mean the Academy Awards should have taken a cue from the Screen Actors Guild Awards and did an hour or 90 minute ceremony, showing highlights and announcing the winners.
I mean I don’t think the vast majority of the American public would not care that some of Hollywood’s elite doesn’t have the spot light on the middle of them during a pandemic where thousands of people died, and the country changed as we know it. The ceremony was presented like an actual movie, which was quite different, but fun at the same time. You could tell because it looked very different, it didn’t even feel like it was shot in real time, with Oscar-winner Regina King taking the stage first and foremost and addressing issues of race and policing in America. Masks are off as they film, masks are on for the attendees and presenters when they are not filming.
I was surprised to see that Best Original Screenplay was the first award handed out for the night. Normally, that goes to Supporting Actor or Supporting Actress. It was Emerald Fennell who walked away with the ‘Golden Guy’ for her riveting script for “Promising Young Woman.” This lady is hilarious and if this flick is any sign of her writing skills I cannot wait to see what she cooks up next America. The focus soon transitioned to Best Adapted Screenplay which saw Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller win for “The Father.” I truly thought that might be a victory for Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland.” A nice surprise, which mean things may not be as predictable as we thought America.
The Oscar for International Feature Film went to “Another Round” (Denmark). The first acting prize of the night Best Supporting Actor saw a victory for Daniel Kaluuya who has been on an awards train this season for his riveting work in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” It was a well-deserved trophy for this actor who immersed himself in a performance that was beyond transformative it was mesmerizing. The Academy Award for Makeup and Hair went to “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The film also picked up the Oscar for Best Costume Design.
It was so nice to see AMPAS pay tribute to the front-line workers and essential workers who have risked their lives and done the unsung work not just for 2020, but for years sometimes go unnoticed and ignored. Wow, we saw the Oscar for Best Director presented within the first hour of the ceremony, it left me stunned, but it was Chloe Zhao who made history becoming only the second women in the Oscars history to win the prize behind “The Hurt Locker’s” Kathryn Bigelow and the first women of color to take the prize. It is so nice to see such recognition from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences people.
The Academy Award for Best Sound was a victory for “Sound of Metal” and I was not surprised by that win America because it was absolutely deserved. In the race for Best Live Action Short Film it was “Two Distant Strangers” who walked away with the crown. I loved the pacing of the ceremony. It is moving at a very solid pace, where there were very minor dull moments. Reese Witherspoon presented the prize for Best Animated Short Film and Best Animated Feature Film to “If Anything Happens I Love You” and “Soul.”
It was nice to see Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin present Best Documentary Short Subject to “Colette” win the Oscar, while “My Octopus Teacher” won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Best Actor nominee Steven Yeun delivered a few laughs talking about his past as he presented the Oscar for Best Visual Effects to “Tenet.” I liked the other flicks nominated, but the visual effects in that flick alone were beyond incredible unlike every seen on the big screen America. Brad Pitt with a ponytail due presented the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress to Yuh-Jung Youn for “Minari.” Oh this woman is hilarious America and delivered witty speech and her personality to life, hands down the best speech of the night America. Oscar-winner Halle Berry presented the prize for Best Production Design and Best Cinematography to “Mank.” Harrison Ford earned a few laughs as he presented the prize for Best Film Editing to “Sound of Metal.”
It was indeed a treat to see Viola Davis present a Humanitarian Award to Tyler Perry for all the great things he has done throughout his career, especially in the past year. He shared an inspiring tale of helping a woman who was homeless and needed a pair of shoes. His speech about refusing hate was so powerful and resonating to fight against hate and help those in need, it was indeed another standout speech of the night people.
The Oscar for Best Original Score went to the team of “Soul,” while Best Original Song was a victory for “Fight For You” from the film “Judas and the Black Messiah.”. I loved the notion of the Oscar trivia, but it stalled a bit of time, but thanks to funny guy Lil Rey Howery it delivered some well-deserved laughs for the ceremony people, especially that song trivia involving 8-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close.
I admit, even without all the original song nominees actually performing during the ceremony, the Academy Awards still went over the 3-hour mark people. Why was Best Picture presented BEFORE the prizes for Best Actor and Best Actress were handed out? C’mon this is the BIGGEST PRIZE of the night, it deserves to be last. I like some changes, but this is a change I am totally against people. With that said it was “Nomadland” who walked away with the top prize, and the film’s director, Chloe Zhao won her second Oscar of the night people!
Now we get down to the big nail-biter: Best Actress. This was the one race where honestly any of the contenders could walk away with the prize and I would NOT be mad at any of the winners won. Renee Zellweger had the opportunity to end the suspense so many of us film scholars have been eager to discover who would claim victory.
However, my hope for Carey winning for “Promising Young Woman” was dashed when Frances McDormand took the prize. This woman has won three Academy Awards people. She’s a damn fine actress, who kept it short and sweet, and it proves that if you deliver the work Oscar will continue to call people. That was indeed a stunner!
The Oscar for Best Actor did NOT go to Chadwick Boseman as expected for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” I can’t believe it, speechless people. I honestly thought Boseman had this one locked in the bag, but it was Anthony Hopkins who won the Oscar for his powerful performance in “The Father.” Damn, I didn’t expect that one which totally screwed up my Oscar picks, but Hopkins was indeed a dark horse, who people pinpointed as a potential upset in the race.
So the 93rd Academy Awards are in the books people, so here’s hoping that 2022 the Oscars will return to normal with movie lovers actually seeing flicks in a theater.