In Hollywood they often say that hosting the Academy Awards is the most thankless job. I think producing it has to be up there as well.
The producers are charged with giving us a show that entertains everyone in the world — every demographic, every age group. We want a glimpse into who these industry stars really are — but please: don’t take too long. Make it funny! But make it snappy. We want glamour, but no big production numbers, please. We can’t wait to hear what the winners have to say — as long as they agree with us and our political opinions. We really do want to know what it takes to be the best at the things we don’t understand; educate us, but don’t you dare school us. Cliff notes, please.
We want you to honor every single person who passed away last year, but again: we don’t have all night.
So, yeah: they failed.
They fail every year, because we all have a platform (so speaketh the person typing this for her own benefit), and we aren’t afraid to use it.
So I will be kind, because I know it is an impossible job.
The setting was stunning. Really: I want to have a party there. And Regina King’s walk into the show set us up for drama and glamour. Which we got — but not always how we’d liked to have had it.
I got a few texts during the show about how long it was taking. Keep in mind that they saved time in a ton of ways: having each presenter do two awards was smart. A more intimate venue meant walks were shorter (although I do miss the audience reaction shots). They didn’t show the songs or lots of movie clips or have any production numbers. Those last three things were negatives, IMO, even if they saved time.
The producers said they wanted to make the show more approachable to a younger generation. Ok. But if you want Gens Y and Z to pay attention, do it on the screen in their hands. Those cool personal tidbits about all the nominees, like about first jobs and favorite movies growing up? Release those as Insta stories or Tik Toks during the days leading up. Appeal to the college students studying to be cinematographers or actors or costume designers. And while I think it’s awesome to get the next generation involved, you can’t do it at the expense of the mainstays (like 50 something me).
A big complaint every year? The speeches. Every year I know my favorite speeches will not be form the big stars, but from the new people, who are so damn happy to be there. This year, two of the best speeches went to best supporting winners , Yuh-Jung Youn and Daniel Kaluuya. They were funny and sweet and gracious and grateful. Yuh-Jung Youn won hearts by both flirting with Brad Pitt and shaking her fingers at the many, many people who have butchered her name over the years. Kaluuya was joyful and his speech bounced around from exclamations of celebration to thankfulness for his parents for having sex. Watching his mom’s face when he said that? Priceless. That must’ve been a fun phone call later!
I wept when best international feature, Thomas Vinterberg, talked about Ida, his 19 year old daughter killed in a car accident days before shooting of the film began. It made me even more determined to see this movie, . Not seeing it was my one pre-Oscar regret I had.
Tyler Perry pulled no punches, saying what many have said, and what I firmly believe: “I refuse to hate someone because they’re Mexican or because they are black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope we would refuse hate.”
He dedicated the award “to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the walls. Stand in the middle, because that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens.”
The “In Memoriam” part is always controversial, as someone is always left out (this year Naya Rivera and Jessica Walter were the big omissions to most people). They tried to do a lot of people — but sadly, they went so fast many people, including my husband, complained they couldn’t read the names fast enough. This portion should be stately, not speedy. And coming on the heels of a year steeped in loss around the world, it made me uncomfortable. Were we skimming through this moment to replicate the many missed memorials and funerals last year? Is that a feeling we really want to replicate?
Looking away from what was, and looking towards what can be, Frances McDormand made a lovely speech when accepting the Best Picture award as a producer of Nomadland: “Please, watch our movie on the largest screen possible,” she said. “And one day, very, very soon, take everyone you know into a theater, shoulder to shoulder, in that dark space, and watch every film that is represented here tonight.”
I, for one, am very much looking forward to watching a movie in the theater again — even if it means I have to put on a bra.
Ok: enough chit chat. Let’s look at some pictures!
We might as well start with the biggest controversy — Best Actor. If you recall, I, like the rest of the world, thought Chadwick Bozeman was a lock — but I said Anthony Hopkins was brilliant (he was — and The Father was better than Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, IMO). Oscar was so sure that they changed the lineup and put Best Actor last. I actually had to rewind the show, sure I had somehow missed something when they announced Best Picture (they won’t make that mistake again). Anyway. Hopkins won best actor, but he wasn’t there so pics of his outfit (but google his acceptance speech released the next morning. Class). Here are our Best Actors in their finery:
Gary Oldman had fun with his ruffled blue shirt, Steven Yeun looked dapper (as expected), and Riz Ahmed looks yummy. The black turtleneck with the navy suit is fantastic.
I picked Viola Davis to win this one, but she lost to Frances McDormand — but not in the fashion wars. Some of the best and worst looks of the night were in this category. Frances McDormand didn’t walk the red carpet, so there are no great pics of her — but that hair. For the love of God. That’s Pandemmy hair all right. Couldn’t someone hand her a comb? Viola Davis looks stunning, as always. But Id didn’t love the hair with it. Vanessa Kirby looks dreadful. The dress washes her out, and the goth makeup looks like something she might have worn to piss off her mom in high school. Andra Day was close to greatness (and not just with the nomination). The dress needed to be tailored. Wanna see how to glow in gold? Carey Mulligan was one of my favorites. Gorgeous.
Best Supporting Actor:
All originals here, and they all looked great in their own ways. I picked DanieI Kaluuya to win this category, and he did, but in this style context he was probably the most underwhelming, but he looks classy and his personality shines through. Lakeith Stanfield is just hot in a crazy 70s throwback kinda way. Leslie Odom Jr embraced the gold trend with aplomb. Impeccable. Honestly, I can’t pick a favorite. Paul Raci is exactly what I would want from a “seasoned” rocker. Sacha Baron Cohen looks amazing — so opposite of what his roles usually are!
Best Supporting Actress:
Many said Amanda Seyfried was on the best dressed list. I disagree. The dress is a wowser, and the styling works great, but I feel like the dress could’ve been tailored to be more flattering. Yes: I know she just had a baby, and she looks amazing. So play up the curves: bring that waist in one more inch if you can. If you can’t then structure the hips one inch wider and curvier to balance and accentuate her voluptuousness. Glenn Close: the color is great, but why the gloves? And either lose the pants and make it a dress, or shorten the “dress” hem. I was worried Maria Bakalova would be a mess, but I was wrong. She looks lovely — nothing to put her at the tip top of the list, but awfully close. Olivia Coleman’s amazeball shoes saved her — and the color of the ensemble sings as well. But there is just something off about the tailoring of the dress, and I’m not digging the hair. Winner Yuh-Jung Youn looks wonderful. Frances McDormand: this is how you embrace your grey, and wear a dark frock that doesn’t try too hard. This woman tried — and still looks comfortable. And: I picked her, and she won!
Red and white were big color themes this year!
And don’t forget all the other colors (because I never will)!
Halle Berry’s dress was bright and fun, but was overshadowed by too-short bangs and dark circles under her eyes. Is she ok?
Zendaya wowed and was at the top of many lists. Rightfully (and expectedly) so. I loved the dress, until I saw it from the front. Then the midriff opening looked way too big, like a yawning mouth. Bit in these shots she’s a stunner:
One of my absolute favorites of the night had to be H.E.R., who just may be a Prince reincarnation in more ways than one:
Other color moments:
I wanted to do a special shout out to Emerald Fennell. I was sure we’d see a lot of florals, and I was wrong. I also said I wanted her in green, and she delivered — with floral AND green. And being pregnant to boot (gotta love these pandemic babies that people get to hide in quarantine!). She was charming!
But let’s not overlook the neutrals, if we can call them that:
This group ran the gamut. Chloe Zhou…I mean, I get it. She’s not fussy. She wants to keep it simple. I’m not asking her to change who she is, but this dress in another color would have been better. Or a different dress with tennis shoes (if this dress had been white, and a different length, the shoes would’ve been great with it. No makeup? Fine, but know that you will be super washed out on TV. And her hair loose would have been better. Doesn’t have to be super styled: put those braids in the night before, and let ’em loose for the show. A whole different look. Wear the braids with a black jumpsuit and the tennis shoes. That would’ve been cute, comfy and easy.
Nicolette Robinson is the best of the bunch here. She, like Amanda Seyfried, recently had a baby. THIS is how you do it. The rest of the ladies like good. Not great, not awful, but good.
Speaking of Robinson, she is one half of a stunning couple. I love the trend of couples dressing together!
But the best dressed couple of the night? These guys, right here:
I’d never heard of Martin Desmond Roe and Travon Free before they won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short for Two Distant Strangers. But I really wanna know them — and I want them to win more!
I also want to point out to “A”s that scored points with me: accessories, and architectural accents (is that three As?) Details can make or break an outfit. These two ladies had super cool purses:
A heart? And popcorn? I love it!
The following ladies stood out for design reasons — the construction of their garments felt almost architectural to me.
I know people hated Laura Dern’s feathery dress, but I didn’t. It wasn’t perfect (the top too austere for the fluffy bottom), but it was fun and classy to me. My two faves in the above group had to be costume designer Mia Neal’s amazing blue gown, and, of course, MISS Regina King. Or should we say Queen? Because she wore the crown. Hands down the best look of the night!
The men have turned it up big time in the past few years, and I almost look forward to seeing them more than the women. It is amazing how they have decided that the girls don’t get to have all the fun!
I thought I’d throw in a fun section: how it looked on the runway, vs how the stars wore it. Which ones were better?
Last but not least: the after parties. There weren’t as many this year, but let me leave you with some of the most memorable looks I found from those events. I hope you enjoyed my round up — I probably won’t have much to talk about regarding fashion for awhile. Looks like it’s back to doggies and date nights, lol!
Silver lining from the pandemic: every Oscar nominated movie I tried to see was available for me to watch from my couch.
Don’t get me wrong: I desperately miss going to the movies. I hope to feel comfortable with that again soon, but I’m just not there yet. So yeah, while I had to shell out $20 to stream a flick sometimes, I figure it’s not that bad. During a normal movie watching season, I am in theaters 2-3 times a week at the end, trying to ignore the popcorn, maybe smuggling in my own water. But there is always gas, and time. So over all I feel I have saved cash, and have probably seen more movies than usual.
But now I am ready for the glamour and glitz. Below I will give my predictions as always (what I liked best plus who I think will win) in the major categories. I am also going to give some fashion predictions along the way. I don’t know if you are aware, but there is a dress code this year, born out of so many zoom awards participants in athleisure. I am torn on the code, as stated on the website The Cut:
“We’re aiming for a fusion of Inspirational and Aspirational,” the letter reads, capitalizing Inspirational and Aspirational for inspirational and aspirational emphasis. “In actual words,” it continues, “Formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not.”
I expect at least one star to push this. I’d love to see joggers with a bustier, Christian Louboutins, and a cutaway coat with train (Zendaya could rock this, but I think she’ll go full on glam). But on the whole, I like the request to zhush it up. In solidarity, I will wear sparkly gems with my jammies. Maybe. But no promises on a bra. Let’s not go crazy.
And the winners will (maybe) be…
Best Picture (saw them all)
Nomadland continues to be the frontrunner, and will likely win. Every picture nominated is very different. My faves for this category are probably The Father and Judas and the Black Messiah. But I think this category tends to go to films that are not all about the acting performances, which those two films really were. Nomadland is message driven, with both sweeping panoramas and detail driven scenes, and has an overall best film vibe. Going with that theme, I also think Minari would fit, but I am going with Nomadland.
Best Director (haven’t seen Another Round yet): will be Chloe Zhao for Nomadland. She is just slaying all the awards this year, and deservedly so. She manages to get all of her actors to be fully fleshed out no matter how tiny their roles.
Fashion aside: I am looking forward to seeing Emerald Fennell! I fell in love with her in Call the Midwife, and she was wonderful in The Crown. She has such great coloring — I want to see her in something green, which is very much a trend color, and hard to pull off.
Best Adapted Screenplay (haven’t seen Borat, and have no desire to do so, TBH): I loved The Father in this category. I assume all of the films are adapted from books, except One Night in Miami which feels like a play. I don’t like when films feel like plays: it means that they weren’t very well adapted, IMO). The Father is just so well done. I can see how this was a book, and I would love to read it.
Best Original Screenplay (saw them all): this is tough. All are great premises. The ones based on history (Judas and The Trial of the Chicago Seven) don’t get my vote simply because, since they are based on real events, they’re not as “original” to me. I personally think the most original concept was Sound of Metal (please see this if you haven’t yet), but the momentum is there for Promising Young Woman(and I think Hollywood digs Emerald Fennell right now).
Best Actor (seen them all): We all know Chadwick Bozeman will win this. Like Heath Ledger, it’s fortunate that his last role was an excellent one. His talent will be missed. That said, I loved Riz Ahmed in Sound of Metal! Watching a heavy metal drummer come to terms with losing his hearing, and still maintaining his sobriety, was breathtaking. Anthony Hopkins was brilliant as well (duh), with a finely nuanced performance as a man struggling with dementia (yes, I cried, and thought of my dad).
Fashion aside: the men have turned it up so hard in the past year! I hope Ahmed shows a little bit of metal edge. Hopkins and Gary Oldman will likely stay old school, which is fine. Steven Yeun is a wild card, but I assume he will be understated.
Best Supporting Actor: this one is a toughie. They were all good, of course, but no one actor stands out as that much better than the rest. I’m going to go with Daniel Kaluuya for Judas, as he has been picking up awards all season.
Fashion aside: this category will BRING.IT. I’m picturing colors and brocades and metallics. And I am here for it!
Best Actress: collective wisdom says Frances McDormand, and I wouldn’t be angry if she won. But I feel like she has played this before. Viola Davis is a good, solid choice, but I didn’t love this role. Maybe I just didn’t love Ma Rainey? My fave performance of the bunch was Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman. Twisted, sad, smart, broken, vengeful. What more could you want in a date? So I’d like her to win, but am leaning towards Davis right now. Ask me in an hour.
Fashion aside: I hope McDormand wears Birkenstocks again. David will be stunning in something tight, architectural and brightly colored. I want sex appeal from Vanessa Kirby and frothy fun from Mulligan!
Best Supporting Actress: (didn’t see Borat or Hillbilly Elegy, which got wretched reviews): While I personally loved Olivia Colman in The Father, I think Yuh-Jung Youn will win for Minari. And she earned it for sure!
Fashion aside: Amanda Seyfried will be lovely. Olivia Colman can go either way, but I hope she pulls it off with some regal, deeply colored creation. I would love to see something dramatically elegant on Youn! Maria Bakalova could be stunning, but she might be the one to push the taste envelope. I don’t know whay I say that, but I feel it.
Best Cinematography (saw them all): News of the World was almost my favorite in this category, although sometimes teh green screen action seemed pretty obvious. But Hollywood does loves it’s sweeping westerns. Nomadland could win, though, and has more momentum than this overdone Tom Hanks film (that movie tried to fit too much in. Too bad. Was a good story). So I think it’s gonna be Nomadland. You see and feel every season in this film.
Best Costume Design (didn’t see Pinnochio): I’m a sucker for a period piece, so I am hoping it’s Emma, with its delicious colors.
Fashion aside: Please, let Anya-Taylor Joy be at the Oscars, just so I can see her. She is gorgeous, and makes such wonderful fashion choices.
Best Film Editing (seen them all): Either The Father or Sound of Metal, but I am leaning towards The Father. The editing makes this movie.
All the rest, even though I have seen none or very few of the movies, but I like to have a guess for all:
Best Animated Feature: Soul
Best Documentary Feature: My Octopus Teacher
Best Documentary Short: A Concerto is a Conversation
Best International Feature Film: Another Round
Best makeup and Hairstyling:HIllbilly Elegy
Best Original Score: Soul
Best Original Song: One Night in Miami
Best Production design: The Father
Best Short, Animated: If Anything Happens I Love You
Best Short, Live Action: The Letter Room
Best Sound: Sound of Metal
Best Visual Effects: Tenet
Fashion aside: there will be a lot of florals tonight, on men and women. I want to see risks (I miss Cher). I want glamour and color. I want to gasp. I want to see people fall flat on their faces for trying something daring — not because they had crappy tailoring or accessorizing.
People, you’ve had 12 months of zoom calls in sweatpants. We are all over it. Y’all better bring it.