“Nomadland” takes home 3 awards, including Best Picture, and a dramatic category order switch leads to an anti-climactic tailspin of a finish.
Hello, all, and welcome back to The Friendly Film Fan! Well, the Oscars have finally happened, and the winners have been announced in what I can only describe as the most baffling and anti-climactic finish to an Oscars show that I have ever seen in my lifetime, one that made me angry, upset, and flabbergasted in its production choices and deliberate messiness, the only reason for which did not end up happening at all. To get it right out of the way up front, Chadwick Boseman lost what would have been a posthumous win in the Best Actor category for his career-best work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to Anthony Hopkins for his equally brilliant performance in The Father. Hopkins gave a short speech this morning thanking the Academy, as well as paying tribute to the late Boseman, because Hopkins is a class act all the way around and a genuinely good human being. The win itself was not something with which I took issue; in fact, I somewhat hoped Hopkins could pull off the upset, as his was my favorite of all the performances given in 2020. But the way the moment was handled was nothing short of infuriating. For those who did not watch the ceremony live, the Oscars (of which Steven Soderbergh was a co-producer) decided to give out the award for Best Picture (which went to Nomadland) before giving out Best Actress, and then finally Best Actor, presumably so that when Boseman won, they would be able to honor him with the final award of the night. Except Boseman then lost, and Joaquin Phoenix – who announced the award and seemed very uncomfortable with it – peaced-out immediately, as Hopkins was not there to receive the statuette. I’m also learning after the fact that Olivia Colman, who was also nominated in Best Supporting Actress for her work in The Father, was meant to accept the award on Hopkins’ behalf, but was unable to because the ceremony was cut short so quickly after the announcement. Dragging Boseman’s widow into a live awards show during a pandemic, changing the awards order to chase some big dramatic finish with his posthumous win, playing soul music as Phoenix walked out to announce the category, only for Boseman to lose to someone who wasn’t there (through no fault of his own) will forever be remembered as not just one of the most dramatic endings the Oscars has ever had, but one of the worst endings it ever will. The production decisions made in the last 15 minutes of the ceremony were atrocious, and I desperately hope that the Oscars never tries to put Best Picture in any place but last ever again, especially because of how that switch of orders played out.
All that being said, there were plenty of other pleasant surprises in store for this Oscars, some historic wins, and some close races that came down to the wire, where I think the right decision was made (even if it significantly messed up my ballot). Chloé Zhao’s brilliant, humanistic Nomadland ultimately took home 3 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Zhao – who is the first-ever woman of color to receive the award and only the second woman ever – and a semi-surprise win for Best Actress Frances McDormand, cementing her in the elite club of people who now have 3 acting Oscars to their names (McDormand also won a Best Picture Oscar as a producer on the film). The only other actress to win as many Best Lead Actress Oscars or more is Kathrine Hepburn, whose count numbers 4. In other news, The Father also secured a win for Best Adapted Screenplay following a surge of momentum, and the wonderful Sound of Metal managed to best The Trial of the Chicago 7 in Best Editing (it also won Best Sound), rendering the latter film completely Oscar-less by the close of the ceremony. Erik Messerschmidt pulled off the upset to double Mank’s Oscar take by giving it Best Cinematography in addition to the expected Best Production Design, and “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah pulled off a dark horse triumph winning Best Original Song. The documentary short film, Collette, also managed to pull off an upset win, making this one of the most unpredictable Oscars in quite some time, with only one movie (Nomadland) winning more than 2 Oscars total. I won’t speak on every single winner, but it is also important to note that two thirds of the makeup team for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson), recognized for the first time in any category, are the first pair of Black stylists to win that award, which they shared with fellow nominee Sergio Lopez-Rivera. As well, Yuh-Jung Youn, who pulled off a win for Best Supporting Actress in the achingly beautiful Minari, is the first Asian actor to win a performance Oscar since The Killing Fields in 1984. In truth, every winner selection – even the upsets and unexpected ones – were great choices. It’s just unfortunate that the ceremony itself turned so sour so quickly, practically snuffing out in seconds any real excitement one could have felt at the prospect of any remaining upset wins. That being said, it is just one show, and I’m sure next year will seem a drastic improvement in the aftermath. Here is your full list of winners for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards!
Best Picture: Nomadland
Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Best Supporting Actress: Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari
Best International Feature: Another Round
Best Animated Feature: Soul
Best Documentary Feature: My Octopus Teacher
Best Cinematography: Erik Messerschmidt, Mank
Best Film Editing: Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, Sound of Metal
Best Production Design: Donald Graham Burt and Jan Pascale, Mank
Best Costume Design: Ann Roth, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Best Original Score: Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross, Soul
Best Original Song: “Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
Best Adapted Screenplay: Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, The Father
Best Original Screenplay: Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
Best Visual Effects: Tenet
Best Sound: Sound of Metal
Best Live-Action Short: Two Distant Strangers
Best Animated Short: If Anything Happens I Love You
Best Documentary Short: Collette
What did you think of the Academy Awards this year? Did you predict any of the upsets correctly? How well did you do down the ballot? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
- The Friendly Film Fan
Film critic in my free time. Film enthusiast in my down time. Writer for Bitesize Breakdown.