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…

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Maybe the dingo ate your baby.

Seinfeld 2.9: The Stranded The Premise George and Elaine are stranded at a party in Long Island, with a disgruntled hostess.

Nanobots aren’t just for Christmas.

No Time to Die (2021) (SPOILERS) You know a Bond movie is in trouble when it resorts to wholesale appropriation of lines and even the theme song from another in order to “boost” its emotional heft. That No Time to Die – which previewed its own title song a year and a half before its release to resoundingly underwhelmed response, Grammys aside – goes there is a damning indictment of its ability to eke out such audience investment in Daniel Craig’s final outing as James (less so as 007). As with Spectre , the first half of No Time to Die is, on the whole, more than decent Bond fare, before it once again gets bogged down in the quest for substance and depth from a character who, regardless of how dapper his gear is, resolutely resists such outfitting.

Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet.

Bugsy (1991) (SPOILERS) Bugsy is very much a Warren Beatty vanity project (aren’t they all, even the ones that don’t seem that way on the surface?), to the extent of his playing a title character a decade and a half younger than him. As such, it makes sense that producer Warren’s choice of director wouldn’t be inclined to overshadow star Warren, but the effect is to end up with a movie that, for all its considerable merits (including a script from James Toback chock full of incident), never really feels quite focussed, that it’s destined to lead anywhere, even if we know where it’s going.

Just a little whiplash is all.

Duel (1971) (SPOILERS) I don’t know if it’s just me, but Spielberg’s ’70s efforts seem, perversely, much more mature, or “adult” at any rate, than his subsequent phase – from the mid-’80s onwards – of straining tremulously for critical acceptance. Perhaps because there’s less thrall to sentiment on display, or indulgence in character exploration that veered into unswerving melodrama. Duel , famously made for TV but more than good enough to garner a European cinema release the following year after the raves came flooding in, is the starkest, most undiluted example of the director as a purveyor of pure technical expertise, honed as it is to essentials in terms of narrative and plotting. Consequently, that’s both Duel ’s strength and weakness.

These are not soda cans you asked me to get for you.

The Devil’s Own (1997) (SPOILERS) Naturally, a Hollywood movie taking the Troubles as a backdrop is sure to encounter difficulties. It’s the push-pull of wanting to make a big meaningful statement about something weighty, sobering and significant in the real world and bottling it when it comes to the messy intricacies of the same. So inevitably, the results invariably tend to the facile and trite. I’m entirely sure The Devil’s Own would have floundered even if Harrison Ford hadn’t come on board and demanded rewrites, but as it is, the finished movie packs a lot of talent to largely redundant end.

Ours is the richest banking house in Europe, and we’re still being kicked.

The House of Rothschild (1934) (SPOILERS) Fox’s Rothschild family propaganda pic does a pretty good job presenting the clan as poor, maligned, oppressed Jews who fought back in the only way available to them: making money, lots of lovely money! Indeed, it occurred to me watching The House of Rothschild , that for all its inclusion of a rotter of a Nazi stand-in (played by Boris Karloff), Hitler must have just loved the movie, as it’s essentially paying the family the compliment of being very very good at doing their very best to make money from everyone left, right and centre. It’s thus unsurprising to learn that a scene was used in the anti-Semitic (you might guess as much from the title) The Eternal Jew .

You are not brought upon this world to get it!

John Carpenter  Ranked For anyone’s formative film viewing experience during the 1980s, certain directors held undeniable, persuasive genre (SF/fantasy/horror genre) cachet. James Cameron. Ridley Scott ( when he was tackling genre). Joe Dante. David Cronenberg. John Carpenter. Thanks to Halloween , Carpenter’s name became synonymous with horror, but he made relatively few undiluted movies in that vein (the aforementioned, The Fog , Christine , Prince of Darkness (although it has an SF/fantasy streak), In the Mouth of Madness , The Ward ). Certainly, the pictures that cemented my appreciation for his work – Dark Star , The Thing – had only a foot or not at all in that mode.

Sleep well, my friend, and forget us. Tomorrow you will wake up a new man.

The Prisoner 13. Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling We want information. In an effort to locate Professor Seltzman, a scientist who has perfected a means of transferring one person’s mind to another person’s body, Number Two has Number Six’s mind installed in the body of the Colonel (a loyal servant of the Powers that Be). Six was the last person to have contact with Seltzman and, if he is to stand any chance of being returned to his own body, he must find him (the Village possesses only the means to make the switch, they cannot reverse the process). Awaking in London, Six encounters old acquaintances including his fiancée and her father Sir Charles Portland (Six’s superior and shown in the teaser sequence fretting over how to find Seltzman). Six discovers Seltzman’s hideout by decoding a series of photographs, and sets off to find him in Austria. He achieves this, but both men are captured and returned to the Village. Restoring Six and the Colonel to their respective bodie

Isn’t sugar better than vinegar?

Femme Fatale (2002) (SPOILERS) Some have attempted to rescue Femme Fatale from the dumpster of critical rejection and audience indifference with the claim that it’s De Palma’s last great movie. It isn’t that by a long shot, but it might rank as the last truly unfettered display of his obsessions and sensibilities, complete with a ludicrous twist – so ludicrous, it’s either a stroke of genius or mile-long pile up.

Beer is for breakfast around here. Drink or begone.

Cocktail (1988) (SPOILERS) When Tarantino claims the 1980s (and 1950s) as the worst movie decade, I’m inclined to invite him to shut his butt down. But should he then flourish Cocktail as Exhibit A, I’d be forced to admit he has a point. Cocktail is a horrifying, malignant piece of dreck, a testament to the efficacy of persuasive star power on a blithely rapt and undiscerning audience. Not only is it morally vacuous, it’s dramatically inert. And it relies on Tom’s toothy charms to a degree that would have any sensitive soul rushed to the A&E suffering from toxic shock (Tom’s most recently displayed toothy charms will likely have even his staunchest devotees less than sure of themselves, however, as he metamorphoses into your favourite grandma). And it was a huge box office hit.