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

Ziggy smokes a lot of weed.

Moonfall (2022) (SPOILERS) For a while there, it looked as if Moonfall , the latest and least-welcomed – so it seems – piece of apocalyptic programming from Roland Emmerich, might be sending mixed messages. Fortunately, we need not have feared, as it turns out to be the same pedigree of disaster porn we’ve come to expect from the director, one of the Elite’s most dutiful mass-entertainment stooges, even if his lustre has rather dimmed since the glory days of 2012.

The Illumi-what-i?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) (SPOILERS) In which Sam Raimi proves that he can stand proudly with the best – or worst – of them as a good little foot soldier of the woke apocalypse. You’d expect the wilfully anarchic – and Republican – Raimi to choke on the woke, but instead, he’s sucked it up, grinned and bore it. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is so slavishly a production-line Marvel movie, both in plotting and character, and in nu-Feige progressive sensibilities, there was no chance of Sam staggering out from beneath its suffocating demands with anything more than a few scraps of stylistic flourish intact.

What’s so bad about being small? You’re not going to be small forever.

Innerspace (1987) There’s no doubt that Innerspace is a flawed movie. Joe Dante finds himself pulling in different directions, his instincts for comic subversion tempered by the need to play the romance plot straight. He tacitly acknowledges this on the DVD commentary for the film, where he notes Pauline Kael’s criticism that he was attempting to make a mainstream movie; and he was. But, as ever with Dante, it never quite turns out that way. Whereas his kids’ movies treat their protagonists earnestly, this doesn’t come so naturally with adults. I’m a bona fide devotee of Innerspace , but I can’t help but be conscious of its problems. For the most part Dante papers over the cracks; the movie hits certain keynotes of standard Hollywood prescription scripting. But his sensibility inevitably suffuses it. That, and human cartoon Martin Short (an ideal “leading man” for the director) ensure what is, at first glance just another “ Steven Spielberg Presents ” sci-fi/fantas

All I saw was an old man with a funky hand, that’s all I saw.

The Blob (1988) (SPOILERS) The 1980s effects-laden remake of a ’50s B-movie that couldn’t. That is, couldn’t persuade an audience to see it and couldn’t muster critical acclaim. The Fly was a hit. The Thing wasn’t, but its reputation has since soared. Like Invaders from Mars , no such fate awaited The Blob , despite effects that, in many respects, are comparable in quality to the John Carpenter classic – and are certainly indebted to Rob Bottin for bodily grue – and surehanded direction from Chuck Russell. I suspect the reason is simply this: it lacks that extra layer that would ensure longevity.

Are you telling me that I should take my daughter to a witch doctor?

The Exorcist (1973) (SPOILERS) Vast swathes have been written on The Exorcist , duly reflective of its cultural impact. In a significant respect, it’s the first blockbuster – forget Jaws – and also the first of a new kind of special-effects movie. It provoked controversy across all levels of the socio-political spectrum, for explicit content and religious content, both hailed and denounced for the same. William Friedkin, director of William Peter Blatty’s screenplay based on Blatty’s 1971 novel, would have us believe The Exorcist is “ a film about the mystery of faith ”, but it’s evidently much more – and less – than that. There’s a strong argument to be made that movies having the kind of seismic shock on the landscape this one did aren’t simply designed to provoke rumination (or exultation); they’re there to profoundly influence society, even if largely by osmosis, and when one looks at this picture’s architects, such an assessment only gains in credibility.

I work for the guys that pay me to watch the guys that pay you. And then there are, I imagine, some guys that are paid to watch me.

The Day of the Dolphin (1973) (SPOILERS) Perhaps the most bizarre thing out of all the bizarre things about The Day of the Dolphin is that one of its posters scrupulously sets out its entire dastardly plot, something the movie itself doesn’t outline until fifteen minutes before the end. Mike Nichols reputedly made this – formerly earmarked for Roman Polanski, Jack Nicholson and Sharon Tate, although I’m dubious a specific link can be construed between its conspiracy content and the Manson murders - to fulfil a contract with The Graduate producer Joseph Levine. It would explain the, for him, atypical science-fiction element, something he seems as comfortable with as having a hairy Jack leaping about the place in Wolf .

You ever heard the saying, “Don’t rob the bank across from the diner that has the best donuts in three counties”?

2 Guns (2013) (SPOILERS) Denzel Washington is such a reliable performer, that it can get a bit boring. You end up knowing every gesture or inflection in advance, whether he’s playing a good guy or a bad guy. And his films are generally at least half decent, so you end up seeing them. Even in Flight (or perhaps especially in Flight ; just watch him chugging down that vodka) where he’s giving it his Oscar-nominatable best, he seems too familiar. I think it may be because he’s an actor who is more effective the less he does. In 2 Guns he’s not doing less, but sometimes it seems like it. That’s because the last person I’d ever expect blows him off the screen; Mark Wahlberg.

This risotto is shmackin’, dude.

Stranger Things Season 4: Part I (SPOILERS) I haven’t had cause, or the urge, to revisit earlier seasons of Stranger Things , but I’m fairly certain my (relatively) positive takes on the first two sequel seasons would adjust down somewhat if I did (a Soviet base under Hawkins? DUMB soft disclosure or not, it’s pretty dumb). In my Season Three review, I called the show “ Netflix’s best-packaged junk food. It knows not to outstay its welcome, doesn’t cause bloat and is disposable in mostly good ways ” I fairly certain the Duffer’s weren’t reading, but it’s as if they decided, as a rebuke, that bloat was the only way to go for Season Four. Hence episodes approaching (or exceeding) twice the standard length. So while the other points – that it wouldn’t stray from its cosy identity and seasons tend to merge in the memory – hold fast, you can feel the ambition of an expansive canvas faltering at the hurdle of Stranger Things ’ essential, curated, nostalgia-appeal inconsequentiality.

That, my lad, was a dragon.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) (SPOILERS) It’s alarming how quickly Peter Jackson sabotaged all the goodwill he amassed in the wake of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. A guy who started out directing deliciously deranged homemade horror movies ended up taking home the Oscar for a fantasy movie, of all genres. And then he blew it. He went from a filmmaker whose naysayers were the exception to one whose remaining cheerleaders are considered slightly maladjusted. The Desolation of Smaug recovers some of the territory Jackson has lost over the last decade, but he may be too far-gone to ever regain his crown. Perhaps in years to come The Lord of the Rings trilogy will be seen as an aberration in his filmography. There’s a cartoonishness to the gleeful, twisted anarchy on display in his earlierr work that may be more attuned to the less verimilitudinous aspects of King Kong and The Hobbit s. The exceptions are his female-centric character dramas, Heavenly Creat

Gizmo caca!

Gremlins (1984) I didn’t get to see Gremlins at the cinema. I wanted to, as I had worked myself into a state of great anticipation. There was a six-month gap between its (unseasonal) US release and arrival in the UK, so I had plenty of time to devour clips of cute Gizmo on Film ’84 (the only reason ever to catch Barry Norman was a tantalising glimpse of a much awaited movie, rather than his drab, colourless, reviews) and Gremlins trading cards that came with bubble gum attached (or was it the other way round?). But Gremlins ’ immediate fate for many an eager youngster in Britain was sealed when, after much deliberation, the BBFC granted it a 15 certificate. I had just turned 12, and at that time an attempt to sneak in to see it wouldn’t even have crossed my mind. I’d just have to wait for the video. I didn’t realise it then (because I didn’t know who he was as a filmmaker), but Joe Dante’s irrepressible anarchic wit would have a far stronger effect on me than the un