Wednesday, September 22

‘Nomadland’ Makes History at the Pandemic Oscars | Oscar Awards 2021

Hollywood has advocated this Sunday for the future of cinema and diversity in the industry. One of the main engines of entertainment has wanted to say why it is still relevant. The plot comes when movie theaters are just a vague memory for millions of people. 2020 was the year of the coronavirus and for the industry the season of empty seats and exhibitors on the verge of bankruptcy, caused by the hit of the virus to the global economy. Perhaps that is, in part, what has led the members of the Academy to rise as the winner of the Oscar night to a film about the ravages of the crisis and the search for the north of the common people. Nomadland, by the Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao, has won 3 awards in the 93rd edition of the awards: film, direction and actress. It will be remembered as the atypical Oscars of the pandemic. “See our movie on the biggest screen possible. And when you can, take as many people as possible to a dark room to share the experience, ”said Frances McDormand, collecting the best picture award, before winning her second Oscar in four years as best actress. With her third award, obtained after six nominations in five decades, she stands tall alongside greats such as Katherine Hepburn, Mery Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis.

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Zhao has become tonight the second woman to win the directorial award in a night that especially awarded women and African Americans. “This is for anyone with faith and who clings to the goodness that they have inside,” said the director, who brought to the gala some of the nomadic people who talk about their lives in fiction. The previous one was Kathryn Bigelow for the hurt Locker a decade ago. The filmmaker is the first Asian and non-Caucasian to triumph in the category. 32% of the nominees tonight were women, an increase, still small, when compared to previous years. This was the first time that two female directors aspired to the Oscar. The other candidate was Emerald Fennell, who won the first Oscar of the night, for best original screenplay for A promising young woman, a movie he shot in just 23 days.

The producers wanted to add surprise with an unexpected twist. After years of finishing the gala with the biggest prize, the one for best film, in this edition they expected a Hollywood finale. For the first time, the award trophy for best leading actor closed the night. But the winner was probably not the expected one. It was Anthony Hopkins for his portrayal of an old man stricken with dementia in The father, Directed by French playwright Florian Zeller. Hopkins, who visited his father’s grave in Wales on Sunday, was therefore not present at the ceremony. It was 30 years ago that he won his first trophy for his portrayal of the cannibal Hannibal Lecter in The silence of the lambs. The father is the first feature film by Zeller, an experienced playwright who received from Paris the Oscar for best screenplay for his screen adaptation, an award he shared with Christopher Hampton, a veteran screenwriter who had also won in 1988 for Las dangerous friendships, which was at headquarters in London.

Youn Yuh-jung, Daniel Kaluuya and Frances McDormand, the Oscar winners for performance present at the gala.
Youn Yuh-jung, Daniel Kaluuya and Frances McDormand, the Oscar winners for performance present at the gala. POOL / Reuters

Hopkins’ triumph frustrated what many took for granted, the posthumous recognition of Chadwick Boseman, who died at age 43 in August of last year from colon cancer. The actor closed his career playing Levee, an ambitious trumpeter in the band of Ma Raineys, a volcanic singer in The mother of the blues. The Netflix film won the wardrobe awards and the makeup and hairdressing awards, which had among the winners the Spanish Sergio López-Rivera, personal makeup artist for Viola Davis, star of the drama. There were also other Latin winners, those responsible for the sound of Sound of Metal: the Venezuelan Carolina Santana, and the Mexicans Carlos Cortés, MIchel Couttolenc and Jamie Baksh.

Glenn Close’s perreo and the best moments of the night

Before the ceremony, Glenn Close spoke, in the reduced version of the red carpet, of the symbolic weight of this edition. “We are part of an industry that is redefining itself, it is reinventing itself. And I think that somehow that will show tonight, “said the actress, who left empty-handed for the eighth time, a mark that ties her in disappointment with the great Peter O’Toole. “It’s a lot less noisy,” Close said, thanking the minimal number of guests. The nominees could only bring one companion and had to undergo three antigen tests to attend the gala, in addition to not wearing a mask. The actress lost to South Korean Youn Yuh-Jung, the grandmother of threats and that it gave the audience one of the funniest speeches of the night, thanks to its freshness. The most painful, without a doubt, was that of Thomas Vinterberg, who with the Oscar in hand for best international film for Another round, He remembered his eldest daughter, Ida, who died in a car accident four days before filming began.

Thomas Vinterberg, with his award.
Thomas Vinterberg, with his award.Chris Pizzello / AP

Youn’s words refreshed a stiff ceremony that reduced the emotional scale and potency. The organizers promised surprises and a visual language never seen before, by director Steven Soderbergh, one of the producers. In addition to the grand opening sequence shot, a long walk from Regina King through the Union Station ticket booth lobby to the stage was missing much of what the Academy jealously guarded. The epic was absent from Union Station, the last major train station built in the United States, where more than 150 films have been shot, including Blade Runner and the Batman de Christopher Nolan.

In 2020, the global box office entered only 12,000 million dollars, a drop of 72% that responds to the closure of theaters. At the same time the market for streaming it grew 33% in the United States and 30% in the rest of the world. Subscribers to these online services grew by 26% in 2020 worldwide, surpassing 1 billion people for the first time on platforms such as Netflix, which led in nominations this year with 36. This Hollywood giant won seven awards, but none in the categories of interpretation and of the great ones. The Chicago 7 trial, Aaron Sorkin left empty-handed. Another of his big bets, Mankby David Fincher, won best cinematography and production design direction.

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