Thursday March 18, 2021
Oh Right. The Oscars.
I've been focusing on other things this pandemic year besides Oscar hopefuls, which arrived anyway, and as always, late in the season.
Among the eight best picture nominess announced on Monday, I've seen three: “Mank,” “Nomadland,” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and of those three, the one with the most nominations, “Mank” with 10, is the one I'd least like to win. So it goes. I'd vote “Nomadland” but would applaud “Judas.” Both are great. Here are the eight:
|Judas the Black Messiah||Promising Young Woman|
|Mank*||Sound of Metal|
|Minari*||Promising Young Woman*|
The asterisks indicate a directing nod as well, usually a prereq to win, but who knows this year. We've got two women nom'ed for directing for the first time ever: Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.” I'd vote for Zhao. I believe Lee Isaac Chung for “Minari” is the first Asian-American directing nod, too. The fifth nomination went to Danish director Thomas Vinterberg for “Another Round,” which my wife watched (she's mad about Mads) but I didn't. Anyway, it's good to see that tightfisted directing group opening up. For most of its history, the winners have been exclusively white American men or white European men. Ang Lee finally broke through in 2005 and Kathryn Bigelow in 2009, and for the past decade it's gone: Brit, French, Taiwanese, Mexican, Mexican, Mexican, American, Mexican, Mexican, Korean. I'm hoping we'll add Chinese to that list, even if China may no longer be enamored of the idea. Well, screw those guys. Or trolls.
The big acting controversy this year isn't of the #OscarSoWhite variety—six of the 10 actor nominees are people of color—but “category fraud,” since the co-leads in “Judas” are both nominated in supporting, meaning, to the Academy, there's no lead actor in “Judas.” I guess I'd need a rundown of screentime but off the top of my head I'd have gone Lakeith Stanfield for lead and Daniel Kaluuya in supporting. Anyway, the Academy has a long history of this. Al Pacino as supporting in “The Godfather” for starters.
Not sure who the favorites are. I'm guessing Chadwick Boseman (R.I.P.) for actor, Kaluuya for supporting (he's amazing), unless he and Lakeith split the vote, in which case ... Sacha Baron Cohen as Abbie Hoffman in “The Trial of the Chicago 7”? I'd go Francis McDormand or Viola Davis for actress but I don't know how that's going to shake out. And does Glenn Close finally get a statuette in supporting?
Oscar telecast is April 25. Maybe my interest will be roused by then.