The Oscars 2021: Both the Highs and the Lows

Culture

The Oscars. The Christmas Morning of Hollywood. The one time a year when the film industry gets together and honors each other's achievements for the entire world to watch on Live TV. With over 20 million people watching every year, The Oscars are no small awards show. This year was a little different though... from the opening scene to history-making Oscars to snubs, there's a lot to talk about.

The Opening “Scene”

Within the first few seconds of The Oscars starting, I already knew we were in for something entirely different from what has been seen as normal for the past 90+ years. According to Steven Soderbergh, the man in charge of producing this year's Academy Awards said in the days leading up to The Oscars, “We’re going to announce our intention immediately... Right out of the gate, people are going to know: ‘We’ve got to put our seatbelt on.’” He was in fact very correct with that statement.

As The Oscars began at 5 PM PST, I was ready to see the same high shot swooping down towards the hosts to welcome the viewers at home to the annual awards ceremony. Instead, the special begins like a movie. The opening shot of the famed Oscar statue plays for a few seconds then Regina King, known for her Academy-Award Winning performance in If Beale Street Could Talk, snatches the statue from its pedestal and begins to confidently stride across the courtyard area of Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.

As she enters the building, color text fills the screen saying: “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Presents: The 93rd Oscars.”

She strides through Union Station as men and women in suits look at her and smile as movie-style credits begin to flash on the screen. After what felt like an awkwardly long amount of time, she finally reaches the area with all the nominees. Each nominee sits at a little round table with their families, husbands/wives, or fellow nominees. It's definitely smaller than the traditional Dolby Theater that houses 3,400 people. Regina King takes the stage and welcomes the viewers at home as well as the nominees to the Oscar Ceremony.

The opening definitely was a little strange and awkward, but this past year has been the exact same... so it fit... in a weird way.

The First Person of Color and The Second female Director to Win 'Best Director'

Chloe Zhao, the director of Nomadland, won the Oscar for Best Director. Zhao is the very first person of color to win the award and only the second female in Oscar history to have won the award, after Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for her film, The Hurt Locker. It's been a long time coming for a second woman to join Bigelow on the prestigious list of woman who have been recognized by the Academy, but there's still many more talented woman out there waiting for their turn to share their voice.

Nomadland, based off the book of the same name, follows a woman in her sixties after losing her job due to the Great Recession. After realizing she has nothing left to lose, she starts on a journey across the Midwest in a van with friends, and she leads an entirely new life.

The Chadwick Boseman Snub

After Chadwick Boseman, known for his starring role as Black Panther/T'Challa in the Marvel Universe, passed away unexpectedly, fans and critics from all over the world were excitedly anticipating for his last movie, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, to come out. Once it was released on Netflix, his performance was called “unforgettable” and “haunting.” The reviews sealed the deal on what everyone already assumed was going to be a win for Boseman. When the nominations came out, I even predicted he would win. You can see that here.

Fans and critics thought that The Academy would understand that this Oscar meant more than just honoring his work in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, it would be a cap to his career and honor the life that was cut too short. When the award finally came on Oscar night... Boseman's name wasn't called. Instead, the award went to veteran actor, Anthony Hopkins. After this snub, the internet exploded, calling it a “La La Land Moment” and that “Chadwick truly deserved [the win].”

The Cinematic Look

Along with the strange opening scene, there was a general “cinematic” vibe throughout the entire awards show that stuck out. In the past, the Oscars had their own regular awards show look. It looked like all the other award shows with no fancy camera moves or lighting, just documenting the show. This year was a lot different. It's as if The Oscars were trying to look like a movie. Every camera move had a very cinematic look to it. The lighting was soft like it does in the movies. All the shots had a slow and dramatic quality to them. Overall, they accomplished the cinematic look, but it definitely stood out from previous years, leaving me a little confused and perplexed as to why.

The Oldest Person to Ever Win an Oscar in ANY Category

Anthony Hopkins for his role in The Father, won the 2021 Oscar for 'Best Actor in a Leading Role,' one of the most prominent and looked forward categories at the Oscars. Hopkins was 83-years-old on the night of the awards show, making him the oldest person to ever have won an Oscar in ANY category. His win came as a shock, given fans and critics believed Chadwick Boseman for his role as Levee in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Overall, this year's Academy Awards was definitely one for the books. It was strange and bold, but there were definitely moments to remember. If you didn't get a chance to watch the awards, try to find some clips of the great moments on YouTube to stay in the conversation. If you did, hopefully, you enjoyed it or at the very least recognized some of the same things and had a laugh!

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Charlie Kapinos
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Charlie Kapinos is 15 years old and currently lives in California. He loves to write, take photos, read, watch movies, help others, and spend time with friends. He hopes to work towards a career in broadcast journalism after high school/college.