We all take our favorites into Oscar night, all have hopes that “THIS” will be the year that the Academy Awards become a true meritocracy, that the worthiest will win in every category.
I have lost interest in watching the telecast, and with the pandemic basically creating “asterisk years” for my favorite sports, I figured this year’s Oscars would be the same.
I was pleased to see Anthony Hopkins take the upset win for best actor. That’s not proof that “Oscars so white” is worth repeating. It’s more proof that “Oscars aren’t sentimental.” We’ve been seeing that, year in and year out. Chadwick Boseman was brilliant in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” probably his best performance. His early death made him the “sentimental” favorite.
But nobody who saw “The Father” could say that Hopkins wasn’t giving the performance of a lifetime, in a lifetime of such performances. Stunning.
The Academy electorate is younger than it used to be. There’s no “sentimental” Oscar winning these days. Glenn Close, now 0-8 in wins/nominations, never stood a chance in a weak movie, in a weak field of Best Supporting Actress contenders.
I liked “Minari,” but having seen versions of this story before, I didn’t find it the stupor mundi/novelty that others did. Yuh-Jung Yuon was talked-up all awards’ season. Never saw that as the stand-out performance by an actress in a supporting role, still don’t see it, but fine. Whatever.
You want to find another Meryl Streep to root against, year in and year out? Frances McDormand is the nominee to beat from here on out. Another terrific turn, but hey, she’s had enough, OK?
My pick as the best film of last year was honored as Best International Feature, “Another Round.” Mads Mikkelson should have garnered a best actor nomination, but no crying over snubbed milk.
Best Doc was always going to Netflix — “My Octopus Teacher” beat “Crip Camp” — both emotional roller-coaster non-fiction features and both very good. Loved both, but I’m tickled for the filmmakers who made the winner. We’re in a golden age for nature docs.
Daniel Kaluuya was a worthy winner, but he sealed the deal with a show-stopping turn on “Saturday Night Live” as voting was underway.
My favorite animated film, “Wolfwalkers,” was always going to lose to “Soul,” which picked up music honors as well. Never bet against Disney.
“Sound of Metal” won what it was supposed to, “Nomadland” made best director history, Cary Mulligan got her Indie Spirit Award consolation prize, which suits “Promising Young Woman” to a T.
If the Oscars had been handed out in two weeks, I dare say Mulligan could have taken the top prize. Momentum. Then again, she got her pert little English nose in a twist over a critic inelegantly expressing what a lot of us said — she’s a little dainty and prim to be believable in that part. Great performance. But no. She wouldn’t scare anybody.
It won Best Original Screenplay, with “Father” winning one it shouldn’t have — Best Adapted Screenplay. I’d have pitched that to “Ma Rainey,” which got costume and makeup honors.
My bigger gripe is with cinematography. In what universe is the washed-out, video-taped TV of the ’60s looking “Mank” the best shot, best looking film of 2020?
I watch 20-30 vintage monochromatic films a month and review more than a few of them. “Mank” reminded me of the lesser efforts of the great DPs of the era. I just reviewed “Ice Cold Alex” which, being a desert picture, was similarly washed-out, but at least didn’t look like “Twilight Zone” VTR episodes.
Generations removed from a Hollywood that knew what great B & W cinematography looks like, it was honored over “Nomadland,” which was just as digital but far more striking and contrast-filled. You people…