The producers of Sunday’s Oscars promised the pandemic ceremony could be one thing completely different: a film. It sounded corny, however after the longest and strangest awards season ever and months of Zoom acceptance speeches, it appeared prefer it may very well be a enjoyable experiment.
And it was a whole lot of enjoyable — till it wasn’t, delivering a twist ending that was, in truth, befitting of a film, albeit a deeply unsatisfying one. In by far the largest shock in latest award present historical past, Anthony Hopkins gained the Greatest Actor Oscar for “The Father.” All by awards season, the only most sure prediction that film followers and awards season prognosticators may make was that the Greatest Actor trophy was anticipated to go to the late Chadwick Boseman for his towering closing efficiency in “Ma Rainey’s Black Backside.”
The Oscars producers clearly wished to maintain viewers on their toes till the very finish, switching up the awards order and placing Greatest Image not on the very finish, however previous to Greatest Actress and, lastly, Greatest Actor. Because the present went on, viewers and reporters speculated that the change within the awards order was constructing towards Boseman’s posthumous win, and probably a tribute to him to conclude the ceremony.
It could have been a predictable however satisfying ending. As a substitute, the Oscars delivered the precise reverse. It was the equal of sitting within the theater on the finish of a three-hour, emotional curler coaster of a film and saying: “What the hell did I simply watch?!”
At first, the ceremony — produced by Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins — confirmed a whole lot of promise. The nominees have been sitting at tables within the trendy, artwork deco Union Station in Los Angeles. Regina King opened the present, making a wonderful entrance that was straight out of one in every of Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” motion pictures. (Hollywood, please forged Regina King in a heist film instantly.)
Visually, the present did shortly dispense with the cinematic strategy. However the present’s producers allowed for lots of moments that gave the ceremony essentially the most pleasure they’ve had shortly. Yearly, the Oscars promise to pay tribute to the films, typically by hokey montages concerning the “magic of films.” However this ceremony felt extra private and intimate. Presenters talked about their first film reminiscences, and the onstage banter didn’t really feel as canned as ordinary. They allowed speeches to go longer than they normally would, giving us some legendary moments. (Youn Yuh-jung completely understood the project.)
Because the clock ticked towards 11 p.m., the tempo of the present began to pull. Lil Rel Howery’s Oscar music trivia phase was an pointless method to kill time — but it surely did produce a really iconic clip of Glenn Shut doing Da Butt. (Can Shut, a perennial Oscar nominee who has someway by no means gained, get an Oscar only for that? This present was a film!)
After which, all of it got here crashing down, just like the third act of a film that had loads going for it, however couldn’t stick the touchdown.
The twist ending was primarily the fault of Oscar voters. However the present’s producers, by attempting to shake up the ceremony, tried too many methods, and it backfired spectacularly.
If the ceremony have been a film, it was one which started with a stable premise, good characters, trendy visuals, after which a horrible closing act — wherein the characters we have been rooting for didn’t get the ending they deserved.
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