Well, I watched The Oscars last night and it was fun. The setting was gorgeous, the cameras used to broadcast movie’s greatest night of the year felt so immersive it almost looked like we were watching a movie, and making it personal by giving the viewer a bit of insight into the nominees was an inspired touch.
Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) and Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari) had the most memorable speeches of the evening, cursing was rampant during an Oscar song game, Glenn Close did the ‘Da Butt’ dance on live television, and Frances McNormand howled to the rafters like a wolf.
The night was a win for people of color in a bunch of categories, with two Black women making history by winning an Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for the first time in the Academy’s 93-year history. And yet, at the end of the night, with only three categories left, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture, the night took a sharp left turn.
First off, the ‘In Memoriam’ tribute felt rushed and shallow. The Best Picture category wasn’t saved until the end of the night but as the third-to-last category, resulting in an expected win for this year’s breakout star, Nomadland. And then came the ultimate snubs that made me drop my jaw.
Viola Davis and Andra Day, the two favorites for Best Actress, were beat by Frances McDormand whose performance in Nomadland was the least memorable about the movie. It was Chloe Zhao’s directorial vision that made the film fascinating, not her performance which involved her simply staring wistfully at beautiful landscapes. I guess all it takes is staring at rocks to win an Oscar.
Now, to be fair, it was Viola’s transformation from the makeup and hairstyling artists/costume designer that really brought Ma Rainey to life, hence their deserved Oscar wins last night. But still, Viola gave an inspired performance. One worthy of an Oscar at least.
And then there was Chadwick Boseman who seemed imminently destined for a posthumous Oscar due to his powerful performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom only to be defeated by Anthony Hopkins’ performance in The Father.
Now, granted, Hopkins is a remarkable actor and probably deserved the win. I still haven’t seen the movie yet but the subject material; A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality, seems like the type of storyline a seasoned actor like Hopkins could eat up.
But it felt just…strange. For The Academy to save Best Actor for last as if they were going to give Boseman the win plus a fantastic tribute only for it to end with a bland announcement that Hopkins had won was very disappointing.
It seemed like, for the first time ever, all acting categories were going to go people of color but instead, people of color were once again only allowed Best Supporting wins and not the major awards. So, as it stands, Halle Berry is still the only Black woman, and consequently, woman of color out of 92 others to win Best Actress. That is absolutely preposterous!
When will this madness end? And will Zendaya have to be the first Black woman to win an Oscar since 2002?!
All in all, the Oscars have clearly become inclusive since people went to Twitter and blasted The Academy with the OscarsSoWhite hashtag but we’ve still got some ways to go.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.