Oscars: The Controversial Knight

From Dolby Theater to Union Station and being late by 2 months, the speculations around Oscars this year were high and it can rightly be tagged as one of the most anticipated events of 2021 by far. With COVID-19 norms in place, there was a limit on the number of attendees. Unlike previous years, there wasn’t a traditional audience, although there was an attempt to host a red carpet show and nominees attending the event in person. Let’s see some of the highlights that left people talking after the end of the Oscars.

The political Start to a controversial event:-

Hollywood left no time in taking its stand on Police brutality and racial discrimination. Regina King opened the show with an impactful statement on the Derek Chauvin verdict and left no room for speculation that people of color are not afraid to take a stand against discrimination and won’t just continue suffering because it has been convenient to the white supremacists. 

“I have to be honest if things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis; I might have traded in my heels for marching boots,” and we all probably would have shared the same sentiment as well and surely was applauded for it by the audience.

The sentiments was also shared by Tyler Perry in his beautiful speech for Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award wherein he urged the global audience to refus hate.

The Golden opportunity to show support to people of color:-

For the first in the history of Oscars, there were people of color in all the big four prestigious categories of the night, namely- Best Director(Chloe Zhao), Best Actor in a Leading Role(Chadwick Boseman), and Best Actress in a Leading Role(Viola Davis), Best Supporting Actress(Youn Yuh-Jung). The Academy had the chance to voice their solidarity to the cause or in business terms to gain high ratings and make a marketing impact on people by voicing their support.

And to top it, all three of them actually looked like they had a good chance to win, so that meant that all the Academy committee had to do was vote for them and no one would have actually questioned the decision. It even looked like the case when the Best leading Actor award was shifted to the very end of the night.  Rather they actually proved that there is a reason why they have been tagged as #OscarsSoWhite. All this free publicity and emotions around this topic and they still decided to defend their supremacy.

The change in the order for presenting the award:-

The show almost always opens with one of the Supporting Actor/Actress awards. It is fairly unpredictable from there for most of the show, but, traditionally speaking, we know the big four awards close the night. Best Picture is the last award, and it is preceded by some combination of Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director. When the 93rd Academy Awards handed out the Oscar for Best Picture with two more categories still to come, many viewers were left scratching their heads.

But the common deductive was that probably the Best Leading Actor awarded was going to be presented to Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and the Academy wanted to give an emotional end to the spectacular evening high on social issues. Seemed strategical but then the award was presented to Anthony Hopkins, who wasn’t even present at the event, and this left the views confused as to why the Academy opted for such an abrupt and anticlimactic end. And as Jimmy Kimmel reported that apparently, Anthony Hopkins was asleep when he won and rightly joked that it isn’t a great sign for a network television when they say, “hey Anothy, you might win today and he says I will watch it tomorrow on Youtube”. This practically summarizes what went down.

The In- Memoriam flak:-

In a year filled with loss, the Oscars rushed through its “In Memoriam” segment, cycling through names accompanied by an upbeat cover of Stevie Wonder’s “As.” And were criticized for missing some major names in the category and the time distribution that was matched to the beats of the song was under scrutiny. Most notably, the show did not include Oscar nominee Adam Schlesinger, the late songwriter who died of COVID-19 on April 1, 2020. Along with Schlesinger, the segment’s notable snubs included Jessica Walter, the late Arrested Development star who also had a decorated list of film credits.

Naya Rivera, the late Glee star, and Nick Cordero, the Broadway actor who died after a long bout of COVID-19 — both of whom had worked in film — were also left out. As for Naya Rivera, the Academy claimed that they only honor the actors that are in the film industry, and the television industry wasn’t included and as if the Academy was short on criticism this statement added fuel to the fire.

From revisiting the theme of injecting politics into the broadcast, asking controversial and rude questions to the Best Supporting Actress to failed strategical marketing the night came to an end but the question remained- when will the sentiment of white supremacy that was clearly being defended by the so-called traditional Academy committee come to an end.

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