Skip to main content

How can I win over Glenn Close?

Oscar Winners 2021

Because a photo of Amanda Seyfried on the red carpet was about the most fun you’d have from this year’s ceremony (you can also find one of her with matching mask, should you need an extra chuckle).

As for the Youn Yuh-jung acceptance speech comment, at this stage, how can anyone not win over Glenn Close?

Welcome to the Oscars, brought to you by the World Economic Forum. Set in a station (a home for the homeless) and celebrating a billionaire’s daughter – actually, Zhao claims her father is not a billionaire, which takes some steel – and her movie about how you will be happy and own nothing.

Not everything went totally to plan for this year’s wokeness unbound. Or perhaps it was simply a matter of priorities. What’s that? The voting is entirely genuine? That would be a first the world over, then. Variety headline: “The Oscars Embraced Diversity, but Not as Much as It Could Have”. And it was trying so damn hard. Still, many of those retrograde elderly votes may not be such a problem soon.

Also a first – I speak anecdotally, as I didn’t go near the suppine behemoth – Steven Soderbergh’s was officially the most boring Oscars ever. Quite the achievement. Perhaps he was simply doing his bit for the depopulation agenda. If you weren’t dead at the start of the ceremony, you’d have surely given up the will halfway through. On which subject, Harrison Ford now looks like Lloyd Bridges. While West Side Story looks exactly as visually un-lustrous as expected from a latter-day Beard joint.

Nomadland won three statuettes, while The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, Soul and Sound of Metal took two each. I picked 16 out of the 23, well within my unremarkable standard range (my tally since 2013 goes: 11, 16, 16, 15, 14, 16, 15, 14).

Best Picture
Winner: Nomadland (Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, producers) 
I guessed: Nomadland

No surprises there. Less still Zhao’s soundbite: “I think I need less stuff to live. I can have fewer things”. You will own nothing and you can shit anywhere, with or without a bucket.

Best Director
Winner: Chloé Zhao (Nomadland)
I guessed: Chloé Zhao

I have always found goodness in the people I met.” Said Zhao. And sometimes, just sometimes, especially if they’re your father, billions of dollars too.

Best Actor
Winner: Anthony Hopkins (The Father)
I guessed: Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

Prior to the ceremony, I commented “Hopkins really ought to get double the kudos, given his recent ‘jab’ performance. Or perhaps he really does have dementia and just didn’t realise?” Certainly, no one involved in this year’s show appeared to believe he was happening (unless that’s what they wanted you to think, to shine more of a light on him, or the empty seat he wasn’t inhabiting). Hence shuffling Best Actor to the last presented award in order to emphasise Boseman’s posthumous win.

Possibly a portion of the Academy weren’t keen to exercise quota voting in every category and rebelled. Possibly some were keen to award a really old guy (the oldest ever), because they’re really old too. Possibly those who actually watched Ma Rainey’s Fat Ass didn’t think Boseman was much cop in it. Or maybe Ant was being rewarded for leading umpteen elderly to the slaughter with that jab performance of his the other week. He feels “very privileged and honoured”. And still alive and kicking about a Welsh vista.

I note there was no posthumous honorary Oscar for DMX, who clearly didn’t provide the requisite on-point jab publicity. Making it surprising they deigned to put him on their death reel.

Best Actress
Winner: Frances McDormand (Nomadland)
I guessed: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)

I suggested “If not for woke voting, Frances McDormand might have a shot at taking home her third (sometimes Oscar likes to keep giving)”. She’s now got four (including as producer on Nomadland). Frances said “My voice is in my sword. We know the sword is our work and I like work. Thank you for knowing that and thanks for this”. Whatever the hell that means. I like McDormand, but mostly I like that Davis didn’t win for all that frantic mugging.

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)
I guessed: Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)

Daniel suggested of Fred Hampton, whom he portrayed, “How blessed we are that we lived in a lifetime where he existed”. Erm… Still, credit to Kaluuya for one of the evening’s few humorous offerings: “My mom and my dad, they had sex. It’s amazing”.

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Youn Yuh-jung (Minari)
I guessed: Youn Yuh-jung (Minari)

Youn Yuh-jung said what no one else dared, crediting her win to “American hospitality for the Korean actor”. However, she did deserve it. Amanda Seyfried wins Best Consciousness-Expanding Dress Oscar. Glenn Close knows jive. Very Airplane!

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)
I’d like to win: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Aaron Sorkin)

Fennell was the favourite here, so not such a surprise. More so that she loved Saved By the Bell. Although, then again, perhaps not.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: The Father (Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller)
I guessed: Nomadland (Chloé Zhao)

This one was a surprise, though. Hampton’s second win (the first was for Dangerous Liaisons starring ever-passed-over Glenn Close).

Best Animated Feature
Winner: Soul
I guessed: Soul

Pete Doctor said “We don't get to control what happens, but like a jazz musician, we can turn what happens into something of value and beauty". Sheesh, full control over canned acceptance speeches there, though, Pete.

Best International Feature
Winner: Another Round (Denmark)
I guessed: Another Round

Thomas Vinterberg gave one of the more welcomed speeches of the evening (it involved personal tragedy, always popular) and even checked the box of white liberal guilt apologia for confessing to making “a movie about four depraved white drunk men”.

Best Documentary Feature
Winner: My Octopus Teacher (Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster)
I guessed: My Octopus Teacher

Ehrlich said “I hope that it provided a glimpse of a different kind of relationship between human beings and the natural world”. Yeah, not happening. In so much as there won’t be one at all when we’re all crammed into the smart cities.

Best Documentary Short
Winner: Colette (Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard)
I guessed: A Love Song for Latasha

Proof that, even in 2021, there’s space for concentration camp porn! Oscar will keep that flag flying, no matter how many other movements threaten to steal its thunder. It was a Grauniad film, released on the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials. Of course, it was. And besides, if all else failed, there was always a reminder of the value of fascistic protocols from Regina King at the opening of the ceremony (“…people have been vaxxed, tested, retested, socially distanced”).

Best Live Action Short
Winner: Two Distant Strangers
I guessed: Feeling Through 

Ha! I referred to Two Distant Strangers as an “on-the-nose tale of time-loop police brutality, possibly too on the nose even for Oscar, but you never know”. Nothing is ever too on-the-nose for Oscar. “Black trauma porn”? Oscars lap that shit up. The more trauma porn, the better. If Whitey usurped the lead actor and actress categories, let’s hear it for Best Live Action Short, where the real political progressivism is happening.

Best Animated Short
Winner: If Anything Happens I Love You 
I guessed: If Anything Happens I Love You

Yep, they’re coming for your guns. You won’t own any weaponry, and you’ll be happy.

Best Original Score
Winner: Soul (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste)
I guessed: Soul

Batiste waxed lyrical to “Every contribution with music that comes from the divine into the instruments into the film, into the minds, hearts and souls of every person who hears it”. And then Reznor sang “I want to fuck you like an animal”.

Best Original Song
Winner: Fight for You (H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas Judas and the Black Messiah)
I guessed: Speak Now (Leslie Odom Jr, One Night in Miami)

I mean, yeah. It’s an alright track. Fairly forgettable. As was the on-message H.E.R. acceptance speech (“Knowledge is power, music is power and as long as I’m standing, I’m going to fight for us”). Yeah, yeah.

Best Sound
Winner: Sound of Metal (Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh)
I guessed: Sound of Metal

Least surprising win? Outside of Best Picture.

Best Production Design
Winner: Mank (Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale)
I guessed: Mank

Best Cinematography
Winner: Mank (Erik Messerschmidt)
I’d like to win: Mank

Ben Mankiewicz tweeted that Mank won more Oscars than Citizen Kane. Which, as snark goes, is quite funny. And very snarky.

Best Make Up and Hairstyling
Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson)
I guessed: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Costume Design
Winner: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Ann Roth)
I’d like to win: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

These were pretty much guaranteed. But then, so was Boseman.

Best Film Editing
Winner: Sound of Metal (Mikkel EG Nielsen)
I guessed: Sound of Metal

Not as widely predicted as the Sound win, but still widely predicted.

Best Visual Effects
Winner: Tenet (Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher)
I guessed: Tenet

Yay Tenet. Yay Christopher Nolan and the future of cinema. Yay Netflix, winning the most Oscars of the evening…

Popular posts from this blog

I’m smarter than a beaver.

Prey (2022) (SPOILERS) If nothing else, I have to respect Dan Trachtenberg’s cynical pragmatism. How do I not only get a project off the ground, but fast-tracked as well? I know, a woke Predator movie! Woke Disney won’t be able to resist! And so, it comes to pass. Luckily for Prey , it gets to bypass cinemas and so the same sorry fate of Lightyear . Less fortunately, it’s a patience-testing snook cocking at historicity (or at least, assumed historicity), in which a young, pint-sized Comanche girl who wishes to hunt and fish – and doubtless shoot to boot – with the big boys gets to take on a Predator and make mincemeat of him. Well, of course , she does. She’s a girl, innit?

This entire edifice you see around you, built on jute.

Jeeves and Wooster 3.3: Cyril and the Broadway Musical  (aka Introduction on Broadway) Well, that’s a relief. After a couple of middling episodes, the third season bounces right back, and that's despite Bertie continuing his transatlantic trip. Clive Exton once again plunders  Carry On, Jeeves  but this time blends it with a tale from  The Inimitable Jeeves  for the brightest spots, as Cyril Basington-Basington (a sublimely drippy Nicholas Hewetson) pursues his stage career against Aunt Agatha's wishes.

Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character.

Pulp Fiction (1994) (SPOILERS) From a UK perspective, Pulp Fiction ’s success seemed like a fait accompli; Reservoir Dogs had gone beyond the mere cult item it was Stateside and impacted mainstream culture itself (hard to believe now that it was once banned on home video); it was a case of Tarantino filling a gap in the market no one knew was there until he drew attention to it (and which quickly became over-saturated with pale imitators subsequently). Where his debut was a grower, Pulp Fiction hit the ground running, an instant critical and commercial success (it won the Palme d’Or four months before its release), only made cooler by being robbed of the Best Picture Oscar by Forrest Gump . And unlike some famously-cited should-have-beens, Tarantino’s masterpiece really did deserve it.

I think it’s pretty clear whose side the Lord’s on, Barrington.

Monte Carlo or Bust aka  Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies (1969) (SPOILERS) Ken Annakin’s semi-sequel to Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines tends to be rather maligned, usually compared negatively to its more famous predecessor. Which makes me rather wonder if those expressing said opinion have ever taken the time to scrutinise them side by side. Or watch them back to back (which would be more sensible). Because Monte Carlo or Bust is by far the superior movie. Indeed, for all its imperfections and foibles (not least a performance from Tony Curtis requiring a taste for comic ham), I adore it. It’s probably the best wacky race movie there is, simply because each set of competitors, shamelessly exemplifying a different national stereotype (albeit there are two pairs of Brits, and a damsel in distress), are vibrant and cartoonish in the best sense. Albeit, it has to be admitted that, as far as said stereotypes go, Annakin’s home side win

Poetry in translation is like taking a shower with a raincoat on.

Paterson (2016) (SPOILERS) Spoiling a movie where nothing much happens is difficult, but I tend to put the tag on in a cautionary sense much of the time. Paterson is Jim Jarmusch at his most inert and ambient but also his most rewardingly meditative. Paterson (Adam Driver), a bus driver and modest poet living in Paterson, New Jersey, is a stoic in a fundamental sense, and if he has a character arc of any description, which he doesn’t really, it’s the realisation that is what he is. Jarmusch’s picture is absent major conflict or drama; the most significant episodes feature Paterson’s bus breaking down, the English bull terrier Marvin – whom Paterson doesn’t care for but girlfriend Laura (Golshifteh Farahani) dotes on – destroying his book of poetry, and an altercation at the local bar involving a gun that turns out to be a water pistol. And Paterson takes it all in his stride, genial to the last, even the ruination of his most earnest, devoted work (the only disappoint

Death to Bill and Ted!

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) (SPOILERS) The game of how few sequels are actually better than the original is so well worn, it was old when Scream 2 made a major meta thing out of it (and it wasn’t). Bill & Ted Go to Hell , as Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey was originally called, is one such, not that Excellent Adventure is anything to be sneezed at, but this one’s more confident, even more playful, more assured and more smartly stupid. And in Peter Hewitt it has a director with a much more overt and fittingly cartoonish style than the amiably pedestrian Stephen Herrick. Evil Bill : First, we totally kill Bill and Ted. Evil Ted : Then we take over their lives. My recollection of the picture’s general consensus was that it surpassed the sleeper hit original, but Rotten Tomatoes’ review aggregator suggests a less universal response. And, while it didn’t rock any oceans at the box office, Bogus Journey and Point Break did quite nicely for Keanu Reev

I’m the famous comedian, Arnold Braunschweiger.

Last Action Hero (1993) (SPOILERS) Make no mistake, Last Action Hero is a mess. But even as a mess, it might be more interesting than any other movie Arnie made during that decade, perhaps even in his entire career. Hellzapoppin’ (after the 1941 picture, itself based on a Broadway revue) has virtually become an adjective to describe films that comment upon their own artifice, break the fourth wall, and generally disrespect the convention of suspending disbelief in the fictions we see parading across the screen. It was fairly audacious, some would say foolish, of Arnie to attempt something of that nature at this point in his career, which was at its peak, rather than playing it safe. That he stumbled profoundly, emphatically so since he went up against the behemoth that is Jurassic Park (slotted in after the fact to open first), should not blind one to the considerable merits of his ultimate, and final, really, attempt to experiment with the limits of his screen persona.

If you ride like lightning, you're going to crash like thunder.

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) (SPOILERS) There’s something daringly perverse about the attempt to weave a serious-minded, generation-spanning saga from the hare-brained premise of The Place Beyond the Pines . When he learns he is a daddy, a fairground stunt biker turns bank robber in order to provide for his family. It’s the kind of “only-in-Hollywood” fantasy premise you might expect from a system that unleashed Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man and Point Break on the world. But this is an indie-minded movie from the director of the acclaimed Blue Valentine ; it demands respect and earnest appraisal. Unfortunately it never recovers from the abject silliness of the set-up. The picture is littered with piecemeal characters and scenarios. There’s a hope that maybe the big themes will even out the rocky terrain but in the end it’s because of this overreaching ambition that the film ends up so undernourished. The inspiration for the movie

Everyone creates the thing they dread.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) (SPOILERS) Avengers: Age of Ultron ’s problem isn’t one of lack. It benefits from a solid central plot. It features a host of standout scenes and set pieces. It hands (most of) its characters strong defining moments. It doesn’t even suffer now the “wow” factor of seeing the team together for the first time has subsided. Its problem is that it’s too encumbered. Maybe its asking to much of a director to effectively martial the many different elements required by an ensemble superhero movie such as this, yet Joss Whedon’s predecessor feels positively lean in comparison. Part of this is simply down to the demands of the vaster Marvel franchise machine. Seeds are laid for Captain America: Civil War , Infinity Wars I & II , Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok . It feels like several spinning plates too many. Such activity occasionally became over-intrusive on previous occasions ( Iron Man II ), but there are points in Age of Ultron whe

Your Mickey Mouse is one big stupid dope!

Enemy Mine (1985) (SPOILERS) The essential dynamic of Enemy Mine – sworn enemies overcome their differences to become firm friends – was a well-ploughed one when it was made, such that it led to TV Tropes assuming, since edited, that it took its title from an existing phrase (Barry Longyear, author of the 1979 novella, made it up, inspired by the 1961 David Niven film The Best of Enemies ). The Film Yearbook Volume 5 opined that that Wolfgang Petersen’s picture “ lacks the gritty sauciness of Hell in the Pacific”; John Boorman’s WWII film stranded Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune on a desert island and had them first duking it out before becoming reluctant bedfellows. Perhaps germanely, both movies were box office flops.