The 2021 Oscars Live Blog — Watching the Carnage So You Don't Have To

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

 

In Closing

I will have to say this thing wrapped up in a most unsatisfying fashion. It felt like going to a pro sports outing and they make an announcement on the loudspeaker that the game has been called due to a water main break in the locker rooms, so the current score will hold up as the final.

In all honesty, this becomes a rather fitting ceremony for a completely fractured year of cinema. We had to try to figure out schedules, things were tough to watch, few things made sense — the show was all the things moviegoers experienced last year. This was a fitting fiasco.

 

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix is drowsily running through the names after giving a meandering introduction. THE WINNER IS A DAMNED SHOCKER! Anthony Hopkins is the winner, for ”The Father”. I cannot believe Chadwick Bosman was not the given winner. On top of that, Hopkins is not present, so they just go ahead and wrap up the show in a complete anti-climatic fashion.

Best Actress

Breaking traditions, they have last year’s winner giving the award, instead of for the dudes. Frances McDormand takes it for ”Nomadland”. Her speech was blessedly only a few sentences and no proselytizing.

 

  • Why they gave out Best Picture ahead of the Lead Acting awards makes no sense, but this is Hollywood, where sense is not considered a valuable asset.

Here it is gang – Best Motion Picture

This was absolutely a toss-up, so there could be no surprise. The top film was ”Nomadland”. It led to Frances McDormand howling on stage. Then the entire production team walks off stage to ”Nothing’s Going To Stop Us Now” by Starship. I have no idea what is even happening anymore, but the good thing is — I don’t care.

 

    • My Podcast partner has inspired me. I’m pouring out some Paul Masson wine in his honor…
  •  Glenn Close was just twerking to the song ”Doing Da Butt”. It is at this stage that I switch out to straight bourbon.

Best Original Song

Winning was ”Fight For You” from ”Judas And The Black Messiah”. This follows ”Soul” taking it for Best Score. At this point, Hollywood is going to fix Oscars So White for at least 4 years, or so.

  • It really makes you think. Right now I’m thinking, ”Why would anyone listen to these people…?!

 

  • Queen.

 

  • More amusing than anything on the broadcast…

  • Did they just pull Harrison Ford in off the street??? He sounds out of breath and gravelly, like they just rousted him from a rocking chair, and he cannot find his notes. Han seems to have shot first — or make that 3 shots.

Best Cinematography

”Mank” takes its second-straight trophy, after set design. This was a well-shot film, as it takes a lot to draw you into a black and white world, and they excelled.

 

  • ”And for the only film people were likely to have seen, the Oscar goes to…”

 

Best Supporting Actress

Yuh-jung Youn wins for “Minari”. I have to l have to give it up to the old gal, as she flirts with Brad Pitt who was the presenter.

Best Documentary Feature

The winning film was ”My Octopus Teacher”. I have to admit, I am a little disappointed the filmmakers reined in themselves and gave no social commentary in their speech. I would have deeply appreciated a lecture on the systemic racism and violence in our country from foreigners who made a fish movie. But applause for the restraint.

 

 

Best Animated Feature Film

Pixar’s ”Soul” takes the prize, as I get another needed win. Yes, I am making this ceremony all about me, instead of focusing on the people making it all about themselves.

Best Animated Short Film

Another acceptance speech where they mention gun violence. These short film people really hate firearms. Maybe it is because they are always working under the gun to get their movies finished…?

Best Short Film

One of the filmmakers thanks no one and does not talk about his film. He mentions police shoot 3 people every day, and we should feel his pain. Okay, sure I guess. It will give me something to do while not watching his short film, whatever it is about.

Best Achievement in Sound

They have Raz Ahmed presenting, who played a deaf guy this year. That film, ”Sound Of Metal”, goes on to win. Another Frenchman is giving a long thanking speech, and ironically I have hit the MUTE button.

Best Director

Chloé Zhao wins for “Nomadland”. This is a deeply important win, because it means I finally got one of my picks correct. Okay, her being only the second female to win in this category carries a bit of significance as well.

 

  • Director Bong Joo Ho is presenting but does not speak English. His translator actually managed to translate from Korean the word ”Cringey”.
  • Welp, spoke too soon about the side ventures tonight. Brian Cranston gives a ponderous introduction about the Herschfirld Humanitarian Award going to the Motion Picture and TV Fund. They even operate a home for former performers and industry workers, so these folks had to have been all but isolated in 2020. They live in the supposed Utopia of California, which has been in banana republic lockdown conditions for the better part of a year.

 

Best Costume Design

”Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” took this as well. It was a well-done period piece, so I’ll give it to them. Makes me start thinking — with these films set in the past, why do they not have a Best Props Creator?! Mah, they probably have to share the Best Set Design award. Seems a bit of a short change, to be honest.

Best Makeup and Hair

Don Cheadle introduces the category, stating that you can be fully prepared to act, but if your hair looks bad all anyone will talk about is how bad your hair looks. Cheadle is mostly bald.

The winner is for ”Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, and the winner is crying as she thanks just about every possible minority demographic. I assume she was thanking all of her customers…?

 

Best Supporting Actor

Last year’s winner Laura Dern mentions how this year’s nominees represent movies that address equity and diversity. This makes me realize how for generations Hollywood has insisted that films are here to repair the ills of our society  — and yet somehow we still have these same problems…? The irony deepens when many of these films were set in the 1960s, so they illustrate how little progress they have managed to make, according to them.

Daniel Kaluuya wins for playing a Black Panther in ”Judas and the Black Messiah”. His London accent is thick enough to almost require subtitles.

 

  • One benefit to this truncated presentation process is we will have far less of the opulent and useless stage productions that chewed up airtime and contributed nothing. Alas, this year we will have no dance routines celebrating the overlooked union gaffers, this year.
  • One of my personal awards at each ceremony is the esteemed ”Gown I Most Would Like Removing with my Teeth”. The current favorite is Andra Day.

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, for “The Father”. This has to be looked at as something of an upset. Has to be a case with the other films drawing spread out interest and diluting the votes.

The French writer is accepting via video conference and is rambling on, without a band playing him off. If ever there was a need for the orchestral interference here…

 

First Award – Best Original Screenplay

Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”. This could be an indication the female nominees could become heavily weighted tonight. Wait…that was NOT a fat joke.

 

  • As I mentioned today, the selections were extremely difficult this year, given that so few films were seen and so many picks were evenly spread. MSNBC’s political wonk Steve Kornacki even displays this.

Introduction

Regina King is featured making a long walk into the hall, clutching an Oscar. This is a cold approach, as she was favored to be up for the Best Director, yet she was not even nominated.

King opens with a speech heavily laden with references to the racial strife in Minnesota. This is to be expected, as the favored political topic of the past few Oscars — immigration — cannot be mentioned tonight. Joe Biden is President now, and this crowd adores him, so he will not be dared to be insulted, even as he has managed to make immigration a bigger mess than we have seen in years.

 

Red Carpet

Most of the interviews have concerned how wonderful it is that the nominees this year are so diverse. Hollywood is really proud of itself for finally getting things to line up in a fashion close to what they have been lecturing all of us to do for decades. But all is not happy.

One interview with a writer from ”The Undefeated” still managed to carp and moan, saying that while the representation is sure nice to see, there is still not enough diversity among the ”money men” in the industry. After all, if things were all approved, there would be nothing for the high-minded to puff up about and sound important.

 

Pre-Show

Tonight it has snuck up on most people, but the oft-delayed 93rd Academy Awards are finally taking place. The past year’s pandemic has deeply impacted the movie industry and, by extension, it has altered the Oscars as well. Standards were shifted to allow for films from differing outlets that were not able to be featured in closed theaters. The reviled streaming services were permitted to have titles accepted, while some that went direct to video-on-demand are also considered.

The pandemic has also affected the ceremony itself. In order to adhere to safety standards, celebrities are required to wear masks…sometimes. There will be a smaller seating venue, with 2 adjoining patios for the bulk of the attendees. An allowance has been made for the safety-conscious stars to remove their masks so they can be seen by the world. But during commercials, they have to wear masks. Cameras can ward off Covid-19, because science.

And, as detailed here this morning, the city of Los Angeles — which normally caters to the whims of the homeless — this week saw fit to evict the uncharismatic vagrants from out of camera range. The entertainment industry cares deeply about the plight of the homeless, they just cannot have them sullying the biggest party of the year, you see.