“Hollywood’s Biggest Night” was far from great
On Sunday, April 25th the 93rd Academy Awards aired on ABC. In a year without theatres, without huge franchise movies and filled with strife.
Even with all of this, the 93rd Academy Awards went underway, with a few changes. Instead of being at the Dolby Theatre where they have been previously, they took over the Los Angeles Union Station. They decided to forego Zoom meetings, instead, they invited all of the nominees to the show, and some joined in via video chat.
When the cameras rolled there was not a mask in sight. It felt like a return to normal even though the show wasn’t at its normal venue.
They even found some amazing films for the best picture nominees, if you haven’t watched ‘The Father’ or ‘Trial of the Chicago 7,’ you really should.
The show had many firsts, like the first black women to win makeup and the first Korean to win supporting actress. As the Oscars struggle against backlash for their lack of diversity these firsts were a big step for them.
The show had everything it needed to be a fun-filled night of awards. However, something behind the scenes went so wrong that the show came crashing down.
Before I get into my critiques here is a little background about me. I love watching award shows. I have loved watching The Oscars, The Emmys, The Golden Globes, and The Game Awards for years.
Every year my family and I try to watch every single Best Picture nominee and we predict who will win. Sometimes we even watch animated shorts. Then every year we turn on The Oscars and watch as Hollywood’s biggest night unfolds.
The speeches, the outfits, the performances, the stage antics, and the awards. I love every part about the Oscars and that is why it is so hard for me to say that this year’s Oscars were a disappointment, to say the least.
Right off the bat, something was off. The Academy seems to be committed to not having someone host the show and that is a shame. The host adds some fun and helps to break up the awards.
Some of the most iconic Academy Award moments come from the host. Who can forget Ellen DeGeneres’ mass selfie? Or what about Hugh Jackman’s performance?
The hosts make the show fun and cohesive. Yet for some reason, the Academy Awards are convinced that they can do it without a host and every year they don’t have one the show is lesser for it.
Then this year’s show made the baffling decision to air all of the live performances of the best song nominees during the preshow. Usually, these are dispersed throughout the award show and are some of the best parts. The performances are usually extravagant, jaw-dropping, and you don’t want them to end.
Someone could say that the reasoning these performances were during the preshow was because of COVID-19, which would make sense. However, they still did the performances, and they were all prerecorded except for Husavik from ‘Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga.”
If they had prerecorded performances, why didn’t they still disperse them throughout the actual award show instead of the preshow? Cutting them out of the show did a huge disservice to both the songs and the show itself.
If the reasoning behind doing the songs during the preshow was to cut time, it didn’t work. The show still went over, it always does.
Not only did they lack a host and musical performances, but they also decided to forego clips of the nominees. Usually, when they are talking about the nominees, they show clips of their performances or the film in general. Instead, they had the camera crew running around the venue trying to find the nominees and we learned some weird facts about the stars.
Taking away the clips of the nominees and instead having the audience focus on their faces made the show feel more like an investor’s meeting than this big celebration of film. How can you celebrate the films if you don’t show the films you are celebrating?
You would think the problems would stop there but they don’t. The show had everything it needed to be good but whoever was running it made some baffling decisions that hurt.
Every year they do an In Memoriam to remember everyone that we lost in the past year. It is usually a touching tribute with a beautiful performance behind it.
However, just like most things this year, the Academy screwed it up. They picked a fast-paced song and matched the slideshow of those we lost with the tempo of the music. It felt like it was going at 100 miles per hour, you couldn’t even read half the names.
They just sped through the In Memoriam like it was nothing. Some people barely got a second while others got ten. It felt a little disrespectful to those we lost.
The biggest nail in the coffin of the night however came with the Best Actor category. I have no problems with Anthony Hopkins taking home the award. He delivered such an amazing performance in ‘The Father’ that everyone should experience.
The problem with the Best Actor category comes with how they decided to hype it up. For those who don’t know Chadwick Boseman known for playing T’Challa in ‘Black Panther’ died last year from cancer. He was nominated in the Best Actor category for his amazing performance in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’
Many thought he was going to take home the award since this was the last time the Academy could honor him. Those same people were baffled by the way the show treated that award.
Usually, the Best Picture category, which went to ‘Nomadland,’ is done at the end of the show. It is a huge conclusion with one final big speech and then the show ends. However, this year the academy decided it would be a good idea to do that award third to last and present the best actor last.
Usually, when running a show, you want your biggest category last. Boseman was nominated for Best Actor, the show did Best Actor last. Many would come to the conclusion that means the Oscars were planning some big tribute or sendoff to end the show.
Joaquin Phoenix walked on stage with the envelope, said something about acting, and then read the card. Anthony Hopkins won for ‘The Father,’ but Hopkins wasn’t there so the academy accepted the award on his behalf and it was done. Just like that.
No big speech at the end, no fanfare, just Phoenix saying the academy accepted the award, a thank you, and then it was over.
That had to be the most anticlimactic ending to an Oscars ceremony that we have ever got. Usually, there is a big speech by the best picture winners and some tears, instead, it ended with no speech and a simple thank you.
To add insult to injury the Academy had a Chadwick Boseman NFT, digital artwork, in each of the nominee’s gift bags this year. They had an NFT made and gifted to the nominees plus they put Best Actor at the end of the show? Seems like they were gearing up for a big tribute that never came.
Now it isn’t the Academy Awards’ fault that Chadwick Boseman lost. Only a couple of people know the winners before they are announced and Boseman was favored by many to win. It seems like they may have banked on that fact and it didn’t pan out so now there is significant backlash.
Overall, the 93rd Oscars were a mess. No host, musical performances during the preshow, no film clips, a super-fast In Memoriam, and a tribute that never came.
Award shows are supposed to be these fun nights where we get to celebrate what we love. However, this year’s Oscars felt more like an investors’ meeting with no joy. They had everything they needed to make a good show, but they made baffling decisions that hurt it immensely.
At least Glenn Close’s dance and Yuh-Jung Youn’s great speech added a little bit of fun, but it wasn’t enough.
Hopefully, next year the Oscars can return to what they once were.