' ' Cinema Romantico: Some Drivel On...the Oscar Nominations

Monday, March 15, 2021

Some Drivel On...the Oscar Nominations

When last we left the Academy Awards, Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” had just won Best Picture, providing an unexpectedly delightful international bent to the proceedings that felt more evocative of the Academy’s encroaching New Guard than its stodgy Old Guard. Since then, of course, a global pandemic was declared, movie theaters were shuttered across the world and the Oscar ceremony was pushed back to the end of April. That means, obviously, that the Oscars are still going ahead, though the whole thing still feels surreal to this blog, like the movie season has been never-ending but also never really got started. If numerous people have said the top contenders being released to streaming has allowed them to see more of the nominated films than usual, I have wound up seeing less, which might be part and parcel to why I feel so distant from the Oscar nominations that were announced this morning as I sit down to write about them. That, and my few personal favorites were expectedly MIA. My favorite film of the year, as it turned out, wasn’t even technically a film; Steve McQueen’s “Lovers Rock” was part of his “Small Axe” anthology, a television show. This might make me, Big Screen proponent, small screen adversary, a hypocrite, though mostly I think it just demonstrates how with us being stuck at home all lines blurred in 2020. What, didn’t you hear? “Parasite” is going to be a TV series now. 

The industry being in flux seems a more pressing question right now than whether Kelly Reichardt finally earned an Oscar nomination. (She did not.) But the Oscars are, as I have written so many times before in cribbing from the overarching theory of Mark Harris, a snapshot of how the Academy is trying to position itself. That might be disingenuous overall, of course, a feint of publicity more than a real thing, and there are multitudes willing and able to tear the Oscars down to their foundations. (The Nitrate Diva, a required Twitter follow, shared Raymond Chandler’s Oscar dissent from 1948, which I had never read and enjoyed more than any nominations riposte.) But the Academy has made genuine efforts to diversify and it is hard not to notice that for every minimal gain the industry made through nominations in years past, they seemed to make many more today, the mandatory cases of highway robbery and retrograde thinking and sort of grandfathered seasonal awards bait (see: “The Trial of the Chicago 7” or Glenn Close in “Hillbilly Elegy” that I swear must just come pre-selected on ballots) fewer and farther between than pleasant surprises. That’s gotta be worth something.

Anyway, the Oscar ceremony will be held Sunday April 25th. That coming Saturday, May 1, as President Joe Biden outlined next week, is when every American, hopefully, will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. That gives me two months and a day until “Top Gun: Maverick” is in theaters. I plan to be there.

1 comment:

mercatiwriter@aol.com said...

I can't decide if Glenn close was really good or really awful--but this time she'll probably win.