And the winner is...
The 2021 Academy Awards were Sunday, and it was much, much different from the usual fanfare. It's getting a lot of criticism, but I liked it very much. It was more about the industry, the players, and the individual stories than the usual "who are you wearing" and super-fast-paced-overly-produced glitz and glamour.
What I loved:
First and foremost: how the winners looked. There was a variety of nominees, and a variety of winners. It's about damn time.
No musical numbers. They were part of the pre-show, and I loved not having to sit through all of the best song nominees.
No orchestra playing winners off the stage at a certain point. They let winners talk, thank, cry, and relish the moment.
No host. I loved the ushering in and out of various celebrities tackling host responsibilities. There were no stupid forced jokes, making fun of missteps that occurred throughout the year, or otherwise cringe-worthy or awkward moments.
Smaller venue, and split between two places. I loved the smaller, more intimate venues. It felt more personal, more comfortable, and there was a decidedly shorter walk to the stage for the winners. Only those who needed to be there were there, as opposed to thousands filling a cavernous theater.
What I didn't love
I didn't love the sequence of the award categories. It made no sense to me. Best picture is usually the last category, the pinnacle, the one everyone waits for. And it was somewhere in the middle. The last category was Best Actor, and the winner wasn't there ... which reminds me ...
The Oscar airwaves are all aflutter today because Chadwick Boseman did not win the Best Actor Oscar. I'm pretty sure that the producers expected him to win, and that's why it was the last award. Kind of a go-out-on-a-note-of-memoriam. Instead, Anthony Hopkins became the oldest to win in this category. When it was announced, and he wasn't there, the awards were just kind of ... over. Weird. But, that reminds me ...
What the hell happened with the In Memoriam? It was rushed, then it was slow, then it was rushed again. It almost seemed to speed by the ones no one recognized and stay longer on those actors and actresses who had name recognition. Really poor production on an important moment.
All-in-all, I enjoyed it more than usual because of the changes made. It is now clear that it is not the speeches that make the show run long, but more likely the monologue, overly produced musical numbers, movie clips, and everyone who had a hand in the production of a winning film walking to and crowding the stage. Again, I loved that only those who needed to be there were there.
On a final note: While it's about damn time we see more diverse people and films nominated, the fact that this was the 93rd Academy Awards presentation and we are still having "firsts" is something that should absolutely shame the Academy, studios, and everyone else in a position of decision. It's time to get off your collective asses and start writing, green-lighting, casting, and producing movies that reflect the entire spectrum of movie-goers. Actually, it's past time.