Finally we’ve made our way the 94th Academy Awards. It’s hard to believe we’re still talking 2021 movies on March 27th, yet here we are. Nevertheless, I do tend to get excited for every Oscars ceremony and last night was no different. This year was filled with frustration, namely the ludicrous decision to remove eight Oscar categories from live TV and replace them with needless fluff. Still, there was plenty for us to talk about – several good things, maybe a surprise or two, and a particular slap that has earned more press than the winners. So as I do every year, hear are some random thoughts about the 94th Oscars.
- I hate to tell the Academy, but nothing they did this year is going to win the Oscars new viewers. Overall it was a messy show filled with needless filler and that still ran nearly 30 minutes over. They should have stuck with those eight categories the producers inexplicably chose to remove. Hopefully they’ll learn from this.
- So “CODA” wins Best Picture. First, I like the movie a lot. It’s a sweet feel-good heartwarmer. It even squeaked into my Top 10. But it’s sudden burst of momentum never made much sense, and it’s hard seeing it as a ‘Best Picture’. On the other hand, I kinda like the idea of breaking the mold of what we’ve long considered ‘Oscar worthy’.
- And who would have guessed Apple would get a Best Picture Oscar before Netflix?
- In the most sure-thing category of the night, Ariana DuBose wins Best Supporting Actress for “West Side Story”. It’s still insane that Caitríona Balfe wasn’t even nominated. But what a joy seeing DuBose win the award. She was terrific.
- I hated not getting to see “Dune” win live for Best Production Design.
- I hated not getting to see “Dune” win live for Best Editing.
- I hated not getting to see “Dune” win live for Best Sound.
- I REALLY hated not getting to see Hans Zimmer win Best Score for “Dune”.
- But hey, we did get to see an overly long comedy sketch, a never ending advertisement for the Academy’s new museum, some movie trailers, etc. So who needs actual award presentations?
- Speaking of “Dune”, it wasn’t done there. It also won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Well deserved and the right choice.
- “Dune” also won for Best Cinematography. And DP Greig Fraser could find himself back at the Oscars next year for his amazing work in this year’s “The Batman”.
- Denzel Washington is an absolute treasure.
- So did you see what happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock? The broadcast’s edit was so bad no one could really tell at first. But it didn’t take long to realize that Will did indeed walk up and slap Rock across the face after a joke about his wife. He followed it up with a couple of profanity laced warnings that let every know this was real. Yikes.
- If the show’s producers couldn’t add anything memorable to the Oscars at least Will Smith did.
- And just a short time later, Will Smith awkwardly came back on stage, this time to accept his Best Actor Oscar for “King Richard”. Not a big surprise as he had become the clear frontrunner. His speech was something – full of tears, emotion and irony. There was also an apology for what transpired earlier. It was a truly surreal moment.
- Troy Kotsur did indeed win Best Supporting Actor for “CODA”. And just as predictable as his win, he also gave one of the most beautiful acceptance speeches of the night. What a class act and what a well deserving winner.
- Also predictable, Jane Campion wins for Best Director. This seemed like a lock, but her film “The Power of the Dog” had been losing a lot of steam to “CODA”. Nevertheless Campion holds on, making it back-to-back directing wins for women.
- Surprisingly Best Director turned out to be the only win for “The Power of the Dog”, a movie that peaked a little too early this awards season. I read this was the first time a film has only won Best Director since 1968 with “The Graduate”.
- Speaking of directing, I’m still astonished that Denis Villeneuve wasn’t even nominated for Best Director. Campion wins despite her movie not winning another Oscar. “Dune” wins six and Villeneuve can’t even get a nomination. I did love how all of the “Dune” winners singled out Denis in their speeches.
- This year’s trio of hosts (Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes, and Amy Schumer) were pretty much hit-or-miss all night. A few jokes landed, some fell flat, and some bits seemed to go on forever. Next year just give us Hall (and the eight categories).
- One of the few categories with at least some intrigue was Best Actress. It turns out the favorite did indeed win. Jessica Chastain takes home her first Academy Award for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” It’s a really good performance in a pretty good movie.
- I loved seeing Kenneth Branagh win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for “Belfast”. Such a beautiful movie written with such passion and perspective.
- And “CODA” wins for Best Adapted Screenplay. I ended up predicting “CODA”, but this was one of the categories that could have went another way.
- My gosh the upbeat music and dance numbers during the In Memoriam was terribly distracting and frankly disrespectful. I can’t imagine who on the production team ever thought that was a good idea!
- Add this one to the ‘easy to predict’ bunch. “Drive My Car” wins Best International Feature Film. It was pretty much a given. I’m still stunned that Asghar Farhadi’s fantastic “A Hero” wasn’t even nominated.
- “Encanto” won Best Animated Feature Film. Of course it did. It’s Disney and we all know the Academy rarely ventures outside of Disney/Pixar for their winners in this category. Sorry “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”.
- In the end “Dune” led the way with six Oscars, “CODA” won three, and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” won two. No other film won more than one Oscar. The Academy definitely spread the statues around this year.
And there you have my random thoughts on this year’s ceremony. What did you think of the show? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Didn’t see it, but watched the punch over and over again. Will Smith also won the award for the fastest meme blast ever on Twitter. His hand had not even made contact before the first one popped up.
It was a bizarre moment that breathed some needed energy into the show but not in the best way. It only highlighted the absolute messiness of the entire broadcast.
The only part of it I saw was the exchange between Will & Jada and Chris Rock. Sounds like it was the liveliest part of a rather disappointing evening. I haven’t watched it in years. I did get a chance to see Belfast and thought it was excellent. The Eyes of Tammy Faye??????? For real?????
Belfast is terrific, right? I’ve seen it three times and absolutely adore it. So glad Branagh won for Original Screenplay. I wish it had taken home more.
Yes. After I watched it I went to imdb, to Branagh, and realized that the movie is his life story!
Yep. And I love how well he never loses the young boy’s perspective. It’s so easy to drift away when tackling that. Overall it felt personal and authentic.
Nothing I’ve been reading about this makes me sorry I didn’t see it. A bit of a shambles by all accounts.
You’re right and that’s such a shame. Not because of you, but because the show has become such a mess that it doesn’t do anything to really call out to movie fans. I don’t blame you for skipping out.
Ahhh…the Slap Heard Around the World. Chris Rock had it coming. He was warned months in advance of Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia. He zeroed in on it, thinking he was going to be safe on international TV. He made it personal. Chris Rock has been punching down with his comedy lately and hasn’t really been funny at all.
I’ve never been a big Chris Rock fan, but I gotta say I was stunned by Will’s actions. SO many ways to better handle that situation. Ways that wouldn’t completely derail the show and take away from every single winner and presenter that would follow. It’s such a shame. No one is talking about CODA, Dune, or Belfast. That’s the real sad part.
great recap Keith. Watched it live in the middle of the night (for me) as always and was a much better show than last years was for sure. The Smith-Rock controversy was great to watch even though i think Smith crossed all boundaries there. The entertainment industry is used to comedians like Ricky Gervais and the like who will roast anyone and everything and most people take it in stride. There is NEVER any excuse for violence and Smith should have been censured by the academy the moment it happened. The best punishment would have been for him to not be present to accept his award after acting so violently.
Thanks so much. I think you said it well. Never an excuse for Smith’s actions. He had so many ways he could have handled it. Personally I think he was lashing out more than standing up for his wife. Lots of weirdness swirling around the whole thing. Of course the saddest thing is that no one is talking about the actual winners of the awards.
there were winners the other night???? 🙂
Didn’t watch it, my thought though was that was a very stupid move by Will Smith, instead of being remembered for Best Actor, he’ll be remembered for the slap.
Oh, he shouldn’t have done that, but there was a lot of bad blood between Smith and Rock for years, and Rock pushed it too far. This was building up for a while now.
I didin’t know there was anything between them, I also didn’t know the Smith’s had an open marriage, yuk. Entertainers are becoming increasingly detached from the mainstream views on a number of things. That’s a big reason the ratings have fallen through the floor.
100% accurate. He ruined his own big moment (and the rest of the broadcast).
I’m not into awards shows, but I’m glad that my favorite movie of 2021, Summer of Soul, won best documentary.
Also, this is pedantic but Encanto is a Walt Disney Animation film not Pixar, but it remains true that Disney/Pixar always wins.
You’re 100% right. Disney/Pixar was my intent. Fixing that now. Thanks for pointing it out.
I didn’t watch the show but my mother sort of did but ended up watching something on YouTube on her iPad instead and talking to a friend on the phone. She is now interested in seeing CODA since we do have AppleTV+ and the fact that the film has Eugenio Derbez whom she’s a fan of.
I did see bits of the show and read from Brittani’s Twitter scroll and… wow… a fucking trainwreck. Appealing to the lowest common denominator and I hated the whole presentation and hate that several winners didn’t get the chance to say thanks to their families and colleagues as I wanna see the results on Twitter. I don’t even have a Twitter account let alone any social media account. I hated the random celebrity guests they had and this attempt to appeal to fickle millennials.
It was already a terrible show and then… Willy-Will made it worse over a bad joke from Chris Rock. Look, I can understand where he was coming from as if I was a married man and someone said something awful about my wife. Someone is going to get knocked the fuck out. However, given the rumors about the Smiths’ open marriage, their 2 awful spoiled celebrity kids, and possible association with Scientology. Willy-Will had it coming though I would’ve made an even worse joke about himself, his dumbass kids, and entitled wife.
What he did ended up overshadowing everything else including the other winners who never really got the chance to get their own moment in the spotlight because of some asshole. Never again should this ever happen as the Oscars need to either present all 23 categories or just don’t have the ceremony happen at all. All or nothing. In fact, add 2 more categories for stunt work and casting.
I wish I could say you missed a lot but…
I spent more time griping on my Twitter feed that I wanted to while live tweeting. The show just never corrected course. So many bone-headed decisions and frustrating omissions.
And as you said, Smith’s actions overshadowed all the winners. No one is talking about who won. It’s all about the stupid slap. Sigh…
I didn’t watch the Oscars this year but was privy to the slap heard round the world, as I happened to be zooming with my husband in CA at the time, who was watching the ceremony. Geesh, I can certainly say I’ve never seen anything like that at the Oscars before.
That definitely was a new one. Hopefully it doesn’t set some kind of scary precedent. Yikes.
What Will’s slap is going to do is say that it’s okay to walk up to any stand-up comedian and beat the shit out of them for telling a bad/offensive joke. The fact that the Academy didn’t have Smith kicked out of the Oscars because of that says volumes about their tolerance for violence.
That’s what is so terrifying! Such a high profile actor doing it on such a high profile stage with practically no consequences could lead to all sorts of problems.
In my troubled teen years that took up much of the 1980s, I observed that by ‘swinging first’, in general, a person potentially places himself (or herself) in an unanticipated psychological disadvantage—one favoring the combatant who chooses to patiently wait for his opponent to take the first swing, perhaps even without the fist necessarily connecting.
Just having the combatant swing at him before he’d even given his challenger a physical justification for doing so seemed to instantly create a combined psychological and physical imperative within to react to that swung fist with justified anger. In fact, such testosterone-prone behavior may be reflected in the typically male (perhaps unconsciously strategic) invitation for one’s foe to ‘go ahead and lay one on me’, while tapping one’s own chin with his forefinger.
Yet, from my experience, it’s a theoretical advantage not widely recognized by both the regular scrapper mindset nor general society. Instead of the commonly expected advantage of an opponent-stunning first blow, the hit only triggers an infuriated response earning the instigator two-or-more-fold returned-payment hard hits. It brings to mind an analogous scenario in which a chess player recklessly plays white by rashly forcefully moving his pawn first in foolish anticipation that doing so will indeed stupefy his adversary.
I’ve theorized that it may be an evolutionary instinct ingrained upon the human male psyche—one preventing us from inadvertently killing off our own species by way of an essentially gratuitous instigation of deadly violence in bulk, which also results in a lack of semen providers to maintain our race. Therefore, in this sense, we can survive: If only a first strike typically results in physical violence, avoiding that first strike altogether significantly reduces the risk of this form of wanton self-annihilation. In other words, matters should remain peacefully peachy when every party shows the others their proper, due respect. It’s like a proactively perfect solution.
It should also be noted, however, that on rare occasion (at least from my many years of observation) an anomalous initiator/aggressor will be sufficiently confident, daring and violently motivated, perhaps through internal and/or external anger, to outright breach the abovementioned convention by brazenly throwing the first punch(es).
Perhaps with the logical anticipation, or hope even, that his conventional foe will physically respond in kind by swinging at or hitting him, the unprovoked initiator/aggressor will feel confident and angered enough to willfully physically continue, finishing what he had essentially inexcusably started. It was as though he had anticipated that through both his boldness in daring to throw the first punch and then furthermore finish the physical job he himself had the gall to unjustifiably start in the first place, he will resultantly intimidate his (though now perhaps already quite intimidated) non-initiator/non-aggressor foe into a crippling inferior sense of physical-defense debilitation, itself capable of resulting in a more serious beating received by that diminished non-initiator/non-aggressor party.
Or, another possibility remains that the initiator/aggressor will be completely confident that when/if he strikes first and the non-initiator/non-aggressor responds with reactor’s fury, he, the initiator/aggressor will himself respond to that response with even greater fury thus physically/psychologically overwhelm the non-initiator/non-aggressor with a very unfortunate outcome for the latter party. Regardless, it has always both bewildered and sickened me how a person can throw a serious punch without any physical provocation.
I was at The Great Wiggly Road Trip concert this afternoon. 💜
Glad that Dune won 6, especially for original score! I just read Will’s autobiography and his behaviour that night did kind of match his character from what I read in the book, he seems very emotional, prone to lashing out and also laughing when he is nervous.
I’m really happy for Dune. I can’t wait for the second chapter!