Apologies, Loyal Reader – it’s been a while. Seven months, in fact, have passed since my last blog post. I had decided not to write my annual Oscars post this year, in favor of a where-have-I-been post that I still owe you. Alas, though, I was posting my thoughts about this year’s Oscar nominees in another forum, and as I jotted them down, there was enough content to simply paste into the WordPress format.
The 2020-21 Oscars ceremony was a lackluster affair. The host-less, COVID-distanced ceremony took place in LA’s Union Station. “Nomadland” was the expected winner, but the show’s producers decided to save Best Actress and Actor for the end, thinking that “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” co-stars Viola Davis and (the late) Chadwick Boseman would win top honors. As presenters Rami Malek and Olivia Colman read off the names of Frances McDormand (for “Nomadland”) and Anthony Hopkins (for “The Father”), jaws dropped. Hopkins wasn’t even present to accept his statuette, and the show ended on an anticlimactic note.
This year, mask mandates have been withdrawn and the show returns to the Kodak Theater. The Academy has also reinstated the fixed number of Best Picture nominees at 10; the slate of nominated films this year is diverse, ranging from a Guillermo del Toro-directed period noir (“Nightmare Alley”); to a don’t-let-anyone-deny-your-dreams sports drama (“King Richard”); to a story about the hearing-enabled Child of Deaf Adults, or “CODA;” to a cerebral, subtitled play-within-a-movie drama filmed in Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, English, and Korean Sign Language (“Drive My Car”); to a chaste, 1970’s romantic comedy (“Licorice Pizza”); to an epic about otherworldly spice warfare and indentured servitude (“Dune”); to a child’s-eye-view of life in 1970’s “Belfast;” to a deconstruction of the toxic western (“The Power of the Dog”); to a colorful musical as interpreted by Steven Spielberg (“West Side Story’); to, finally, a satire of global warming (“Don’t Look Up” – a film that I absolutely hated).
The nomination tally is as follows: “Power of the Dog” with 12 nominations, followed by “Dune” with 10 and “West Side Story” with seven. Who shall win? Find out below!