Twerking in a train station
In a skewed ceremony of overly long speeches, quiet applause, and a shortened red carpet, one moment effortlessly stole the show: Glenn Close dancing to the 1988 funk hit. Give butt.
Nearly three hours after the broadcast, host Lil Rel Howery began a trivia-pub-quiz-style segment in which Questlove, the house DJ, played a throwback song; Howery picked a famous name from the crowd to guess if the tune won an Oscar, was nominated, or was not nominated at all. Close was tasked with identifying Da Butt, a 1988 single from the soundtrack of the movie School Daze by Spike Lee of the Washington, DC USA go-go band (Experience Unlimited).
An enthusiastic 74-year-old Close, who seemed to be taking her 8,000th loss at the Oscars (this time by Hillbilly Elegy) in stride, explained the track’s history and then graciously demonstrated the moves. And so the meme of the night was born, belatedly.
But the fun wasn’t contagious
While the addition of Steven Soderbergh as a co-producer brought a classy glow to the show at times, it also made it rather dull, his attempt to rekindle the frivolity of the Ocean 11 era eventually stifled by the night’s dry lack of humor. Regina King’s graceful breakthrough at Union Station, modeled after the beginning of a movie, was frankly as interesting as her directing was, a high bar that was soon sunk when her other decisions couldn’t be justified. Theoretically, deciding not to perform any award winner’s speech was a sensitive touch, but soon, unsurprisingly, they started running for too long and with no musical numbers (which were left for the pre-show) or comedy parts. It was all too professional and alienating for those who do not obsessively invest in the movies at stake. After last year’s ratings fell to an all-time low, this isn’t the boost the Oscars needed right now.
Many of the speeches made reference to racism and police brutality
The lack of levity throughout the night was also perhaps a sign of the unusually terrible past year that we have all had, both in terms of the horrors of the global pandemic and the heightened awareness of the omnipresent dangers of racism in the United States. USA. The United States in particular. References to Covid were scarce (Regina King explained how the night passed safely, Angela Bassett referred to the lost millions before the In Memoriam section, Frances McDormand begged us to return to theaters soon) as she recalled the ongoing traumas that blacks face. at the hands of the police they were more visible and more powerful. King spoke of fame and fortune not influencing fear reduction, Bassett spoke of lives lost to injustice and racism, winners of animated and live-action short films made passionate pleas not to forget or stop fighting. while Tyler Perry implored viewers to “refuse” to hate. It was inevitable that the first post-Trump Oscars would leave room to speak out against systemic issues bigger than one man, but with individuals making comments that the show as a whole I should have done too, was it all enough?
Youn Yuh-jung: excellent flirtation
After his now legendary Bafta speech, where he offered condolences to the nation on the death of Prince Philip and then called out British snobs, a lot was expected of Youn if he picked up the Oscar. She did not disappoint. She mischievously yelled at host Brad Pitt, “Nice to meet you” (and behind the scenes, denied that she had gotten close enough to catch Pitt’s personal scent. “I didn’t smell him,” she said. I’m not a dog ”). He then admonished everyone who mispronounced his name, before gently saying, “Tonight, everyone is forgiven.” After adding that she believed it was just “a little bit of luck” that helped her get over Glenn Close, she said thanks to her “two guys who make me go out to work.” She said goodbye with a proud note: “This is the result because Mom worked so hard!” A classic of its kind.
The reorganization of the marching order brought about an abrupt final curtain.
“Refresh it” was clearly one of the instructions given to Soderbergh and his co-producers Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher. Playing off the holy climax of the show was probably a setting too far. Normally, the Oscars end with the best picture, allowing for a sort of climactic group reunion, but sticking the awards to the actors after they ruined the structure. At the event, it was a massive anti-climax: McDormand had already made her point before she had to get up again, almost embarrassed, and Hopkins wasn’t even there. Not one of the best Oscar ideas.
Diversity triumphed, albeit a little less than expected
Going into this year’s ceremony, it seemed like it would bring us the most diverse group of winners the Oscars had ever seen, and while a few last-minute hits kept it from being as historic as many had predicted (Hopkins and McDormand instead of Boseman and Davis), it was still a night of novelties and oddities. The most visible of which was Chloé Zhao becoming the first woman of color, and only the second woman to win the best director award, a deserved triumph that along with her upcoming Marvel film, heralds her as a force to be reckoned with. account. The night also saw the first Korean actor to win an Oscar in the form of Minari’s Youn Yuh-jung for best supporting actress, winning alongside Daniel Kaluuya for best supporting actor for Judas and the Black Messiah. Emerald Fennell became the first woman to win Best Original Screenplay since 2007, joining a depressing shortlist, while Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Hair and Makeup Oscar was the first time black women were recognized in that category. .
An alarming death rattle
This year’s In Memoriam segment must have been a daunting prospect for incoming Oscars producers. Not only did more people pass away than usual, but an additional couple of months were added to the usual 12 months of deaths due to the delay in this year’s ceremony. There were plenty of big names to pay tribute to, including relatively recent Oscar winners (Christopher Plummer) and, of course, a best actor nominee in 2021 (Chadwick Boseman). Early predictions suggested that a good quarter of an hour would be devoted to paying tribute. There would be a lavish orchestration and a suitably somber tone. Perhaps those who knew them would introduce the deceased. We would certainly see someone play the cello. Not! We got a very split Stevie Wonder number and the names ran at such a rate you’d think he was sitting on the remote.
In an initial email sent to the nominees, one that was quickly and rightfully ridiculed by the majority, Soderbergh et al called for speeches to “tell a STORY” and for the winners to “make it PERSONAL”, a condescending missive that seemed to have an effect, both through thick and thin. The speeches were more “when I was 11” than ever, and while there were gems, there were also tales best left for family gatherings, which quickly go from intriguing to alienating, without the help of equally verbal introductions for most. participants. categories. Clips and graphics were kept to a minimum and instead presenters provided Mini Actors Studio reviews to other actors or educated us on other childhood anecdotes, again of varying interest. Given the small scale of the evening, perhaps it made more sense to make it seem more intimate on all fronts. But it finally stole the show from even more dynamism, and made it seem even more impenetrable to those of us who are not in the inner circle; a party that we watch from afar instead of one that we feel we are part of.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism