OPINION: So… those Oscars, huh?

Hollywood’s biggest night left many perplexed by the end

Anthony Hopkins in “The Father”. Hopkins won the Best Actor award at this year’s Oscars but his win left the ceremony on an odd note. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Anthony Hopkins in “The Father”. Hopkins won the Best Actor award at this year’s Oscars but his win left the ceremony on an odd note. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Bradley Hinkson

It’s going to be hard to discuss the Oscars without going straight into the ending.

To be honest, Anthony Hopkins’ Best Actor win for “The Father” isn’t too surprising or even undeserved. It’s a career best from a legend like Hopkins and in any other year would be an easy and unanimous win. But, this win feels off.

If there was anyone else with a strong enough chance to win, it was Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The beloved actor could have easily won a posthumous award for his performance and from the way the ceremony was structured, putting Best Actor last, it seemed like everything was pointing towards a win for Boseman, which would have ended the ceremony on a nice memoriam for him.

Until it didn’t.

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Joaquin Phoenix announced the award to Hopkins, who wasn’t there, had the Academy accept the award and it was all over. What an odd and uneventful way to end it.

Am I annoyed that Hopkins didn’t show up? Absolutely not. He’s a film legend who doesn’t have to show up to some silly awards show. Also, the man is 83 during a pandemic that strongly affects the elderly. He should be staying home. I mean, everyone there should have been staying home and not filling up Union Station maskless.

It’s the way the award was saved for last with a lot of buzz and love surrounding Boseman that does a disservice to both actors. It ends a tribute to Boseman’s career with a giant thud and left a bad taste in the air surrounding Hopkins’ win. The producers shouldn’t have changed the formatting of the awards to put Best Actor at the end and should have kept it around the same time as it usually is. 

Would there still have been some disappointment from people? Probably. But, it wouldn’t have ended the whole thing on a rushed and sudden note or a moment as notorious as the “La La Land”/”Moonlight” fiasco a few years back.

Them handing out a NFT of Boseman to guest gift bags was honestly worse and should cause more anger.

Disservices seemed to be a trend during the ceremony because even the In Memoriam was a disaster.

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Not only was the song choice strange, as it has a much more upbeat tone and feeling than you would expect, but they just rushed through every single person. So many of them don’t even register because they’re on screen for what feels like half of a second and ending it with Boseman was just the predecessor for disaster. What a great way to honor these people’s contributions to film.

I guess they had to make more time for Glenn Close shaking her butt.

Looking past these mishaps, the Oscars this year were fine if somewhat predictable in the awards.

Besides the Hopkins win, many of these awards were exactly what I expected. Daniel Kaluuya won for Best Supporting Actor, Chloé Zhao won Best Director and “Nomadland” won Best Picture. Not that any of these wins are bad or disappointing, so many of them are great, there just weren’t a whole lot of surprises.  

Well, maybe one.

I’m going to fight that “My Octopus Teacher” was the absolute worst choice to win Best Documentary Feature. They had one easy job of not letting it win, and they couldn’t even do that. Films like “Time” and “Collective,” which focus on the devastating human effects the justice system in America has and the horrible health care system in Romania that will let people die for a profit, were some of the best of last year, but I guess they just can’t hold a candle to a film about some boring well-off guy going through a midlife crisis who becomes obsessed with an octopus.

No disrespect to the actual octopus, she’s a star.

Other than that, and a snub for the wonderful “Wolfwalkers” for Best Animated Feature, many of the wins here were solid and well-rewarded. Per usual, some of these wins led to some great speeches with Yuh-Jung Youn’s and Kaluuya’s being the best, if not for Kaluuya’s mother.

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It was a strange year for film, with release dates getting moved around which led to a lineup of some films that in other years may not have had a chance. I don’t think “Promising Young Woman” would have been here at all if it had still come out early last April, and even “Sound of Metal” feels like the kind of film that would have gotten lost in the award buzz of much larger films. 

So, this year led to a quite different lineup, but it still had that same Oscar feeling of wondering which of these films will even be in much of the public consciousness within, at most, a week.

It’s another new year of more exciting films to come and much more heated online discussion to follow for sure. Do these award shows really matter? No, of course not. They don’t determine the actual quality of films or even recognize greater films. But, damn are they fun to talk about.