Here Are The Winners of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival


2021_Cannes_Film_Festival

When it comes to Cannes, it’s often a fool’s errand to try to predict what will win.  The critics and the viewers will definitely have their opinions of the films that they see but, in the end, it all comes down to the members of the Jury and the Jury almost always seems to go their own way.  Probably the easiest way to sabotage a film’s chances at Cannes is to announce, early-on, that the film is a lock for Palme.

For all of the acclaim that greeted The French Dispatch, Red Rocket, Flag Day. and a few others, the 2021 Cannes Jury, led by Spike Lee, gave the Palme d’Or to Julia Docournau’s Titane.  I can’t wait to see Titane as I absolutely loved Ducournau’s previous film, RawAnnette, which was kind of the love it or hate it film of the festival picked up the award for Best Director.  As much fun as some of us had imagining a world where Simon Rex was named Best Actor for Red Rocket, the jury went with Caleb Landry Jones for Nitram.  

What does this mean for the Oscars?  Probably not much.  Of course, winning at Cannes can help a film’s Oscar chances.  Most recently, it probably helped out both Tree of Life and Parasite.  I could imagine Caleb Landry Jones maybe getting a boost as far as a possible Best Actor nomination is concerned, depending on how Nitram is received in the States.  But, in the end, Cannes is usually viewed as being a bit too quirky and unpredictable for it to be a dependable precursor.  When it comes to film festival acclaim, the Oscars tend to pay more attention to Telluride and Venice.  In the end, it’ll probably be films like The French Dispatch and Red Rocket that benefit the most from being acclaimed (if not awarded) at Cannes.

With all that in mind, here are the winners!

Official awards

In Competition

The following awards were presented for films shown In Competition:

  • Palme d’Or: Titane by Julia Ducournau
  • Grand Prix:
    • A Hero by Asghar Farhadi
    • Compartment No. 6 by Juho Kuosmanen
  • Jury Prize:
    • Ahed’s Knee by Nadav Lapid
    • Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
  • Best Director: Leos Carax for Annette
  • Best Actress: Renate Reinsve for The Worst Person in the World
  • Best Actor: Caleb Landry Jones for Nitram
  • Best Screenplay: Ryusuke Hamaguchi & Takamasa Oe for Drive My Car

Un Certain Regard

  • Un Certain Regard Award: Unclenching the Fists by Kira Kovalenko
  • Un Certain Regard Jury Prize: Great Freedom by Sebastian Meise
  • Un Certain Regard Ensemble Prize: Bonne mère by Hafsia Herzi
  • Un Certain Regard Prize of Courage: La Civil by Teodora Mihai
  • Un Certain Regard Prize of Originality: Lamb by Valdimar Jóhannsson
  • Un Certain Regard Special Mention: Prayers for the Stolen by Tatiana Huezo

Golden Camera

  • Caméra d’Or: Murina by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović

Short Films

  • Short Film Palme d’Or: All the Crows in the World by Tang Yi
  • Special Mention: August Sky by Jasmin Tenucci

Cinéfondation

  • First Prize: The Salamander Child by Théo Degen
  • Second Prize: Cicada by Yoon Daewoen
  • Third Prize:
    • Love Stories on the Move by Carina-Gabriela Daşoveanu
    • Cantareira by Rodrigo Ribeyro

Honorary Palme d’Or

  • Honorary Palme d’Or: Jodie Foster and Marco Bellocchio

Independent awards

FIPRESCI Prizes

  • In Competition: Drive My Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
  • Un Certain Regard: Playground by Laura Wandel
  • Parallel section: Feathers by Omar El Zohairy (International Critics’ Week)

Ecumenical Prize

  • Prize of the Ecumenical Jury: Drive My Car by Ryusuke Hamaguchi
  • Special Mention: Compartment No. 6 by Juho Kuosmanen

International Critics’ Week

  • Nespresso Grand Prize: Feathers by Omar El Zohairy
  • Leitz Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film: Lili Alone by Zou Jing
  • Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award: Sandra Melissa Torres for Amparo

Directors’ Fortnight

  • Europa Cinemas Label Award for Best European Film: A Chiara by Jonas Carpignano
  • SACD Award for Best French-language Film: Magnetic Beats by Vincent Maël Cardona
  • Carrosse d’Or: Frederick Wiseman

L’Œil d’or

  • L’Œil d’or: A Night of Knowing Nothing by Payal Kapadia

Queer Palm

  • Queer Palm Award: The Divide by Catherine Corsini

Prix François Chalais

  • François Chalais Prize: A Hero by Asghar Farhadi
  • Special Mention: Freda by Gessica Généus

Cannes Soundtrack Award

  • Cannes Soundtrack Award:
    • Ron Mael & Russell Mael for Annette
    • Rone for Paris, 13th District

Palm Dog

  • Palm Dog Award: Rosie, Dora and Snowbear for The Souvenir Part II

Trophée Chopard

  • Chopard Trophy: Jessie Buckley and Kingsley Ben-Adir

Here are the Emmy Nominations!


I’ll just be honest and admit that the Emmys snuck up on me this year. It’s been a busy few weeks and I still haven’t gotten to sit down and watch all of the contenders so my opinions on what got snubbed and who deserves to win probably aren’t worth much.

I will say this: I am stunned that Small Axe was pretty much totally snubbed. (It did get a cinematography nominations but that was it.) Under last year rules, Amazon could have submitted at least three of the Small Axe films for Oscar consideration — Mangrove, Red, White, and Blue, and Lovers Rock. It chose not to, announcing that Small Axe was only going to be submitted for the Emmy awards. You have to wonder if there’s any regret about that decision because all three of those films were superior to many of the films that were Oscar-nominated earlier this year. (Mangrove has been described as being “the good version of The Trial of The Chicago 7.”)

Though it never got the critical love that Small Axe received, I was a fan of Hulu’s A Teacher and it’s a shame that neither it nor Kate Mara received nominations this year.

I’m happy to see Cobra Kai get some love. And I’ll be happy when the inevitable Ted Lasso backlash kicks in because gooddamn, if there’s any series that I’m sick of hearing about….

Here are the major Emmy nominees!

Outstanding Drama Series

The Boys

Bridgerton

The Crown

The Mandalorian

Lovecraft Country

Pose

The Handmaid’s Tale

This Is Us

Outstanding Comedy Series

Black-ish

Cobra Kai

Pen15

Emily in Paris

Hacks

Ted Lasso

The Flight Attendant

The Kominsky Method

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Regé-Jean Page, Bridgerton

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Billy Porter, Pose

Jonathan Majors, Lovecraft Country

Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason

Josh O’Connor, The Crown

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Emma Corrin, The Crown

Olivia Colman, The Crown

Uzo Aduba, In Treatment

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Jurnee Smollett, Lovecraft Country

Mj Rodriguez, Pose

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Michael K. Williams, Lovecraft Country

Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale

Max Minghella, The Handmaid’s Tale

O-T Fagbenle, The Handmaid’s Tale

John Lithgow, Perry Mason

Tobias Menzies, The Crown

Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian

Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gillian Anderson, The Crown

Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown

Emerald Fennell, The Crown

Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale

Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid’s Tale

Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale

Madeline Brewer, The Handmaid’s Tale

Aunjanue Ellis, Lovecraft Country

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

William H. Macy, Shameless

Kenan Thompson, Kenan

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Aidy Bryant, Shrill

Jean Smart, Hacks

Allison Janney, Mom

Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant

Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Bowen Yang, Saturday Night Live

Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live

Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso

Brendan Hunt, Ted Lasso

Nick Mohammed, Ted Lasso

Jeremy Swift, Ted Lasso

Paul Reiser, The Kominsky Method

Carl Clemons-Hopkins, Hacks

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Cecily Strong, Saturday Night Live

Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live

Rosie Perez, The Flight Attendant

Hannah Einbinder, Hacks

Hannah Waddingham, Ted Lasso

Juno Temple, Ted Lasso

Outstanding Limited Series

Mare of Easttown

I May Destroy You

WandaVision

The Queen’s Gambit

The Underground Railroad

Outstanding Television Movie

Uncle Frank

Sylvie’s Love

Oslo

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia

Dolly Parton’s Christmas on The Square

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Paul Bettany, WandaVision

Hugh Grant, The Undoing

Ewan McGregor, Halston

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown

Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You

Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

Elizabeth Olsen, WandaVision

Cynthia Erivo, Genius: Aretha

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Jean Smart, Mare of Easttown

Julianne Nicholson, Mare of Easttown

Kathryn Hahn, WandaVision

Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

Renee Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

Moses Ingram, The Queen’s Gambit

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Daveed Diggs, Hamilton

Jonathan Groff, Hamilton

Anthony Ramos, Hamilton

Thomas Brodie-Sangster, The Queen’s Gambit

Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown

Paapa Essiedu, I May Destroy You

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Courtney B. Vance, Lovecraft Country

Charles Dance, The Crown

Don Cheadle, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Timothy Olyphant, The Mandalorian

Carl Weathers, The Mandalorian

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid’s Tale

Mckenna Grace, The Handmaid’s Tale

Claire Foy, The Crown

Phylicia Rashad, This Is Us

Sophie Okonedo, Ratched

Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Chris Rock, Saturday Night Live

Dave Chappelle, Saturday Night Live

Daniel Kaluuya, Saturday Night Live

Dan Levy, Saturday Night Live

Morgan Freeman, The Kominsky Method

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live

Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

Issa Rae, A Black Lady Sketch Show

Jane Adams, Hacks

Bernadette Peters, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Yvette Nicole Brown, A Black Lady Sketch Show

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

A Black Lady Sketch Show

Saturday Night Live

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

Conan

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Outstanding Competition Program

The Amazing Race

Nailed It!

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Top Chef

The Voice

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

RuPaul, RuPaul’s Drag Race

Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness, Queer Eye

Nicole Byer, Nailed It!

Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons, Top Chef

Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions for June


2013 oscars

It’s the end of the month and that means that it’s time for me to post my monthly predictions!

What has chanced since I last made my predictions in May?  Though it was acclaimed by critics, the box office failure of In The Heights has probably ended that film’s time as an Oscar contender.  For all the musicals that are coming out this year, only Spielberg’s West Side Story really seems like a good bet to emerge as a major contender.  Dear Evan Hansen was pretty much eliminated from consideration as soon as its trailer dropped.  Tick, Tick …. Boom seems to be destined to be loved by theater kids while being dismissed by everyone else.  I’d love to see Joe Wright and Peter Dinklage nominated but my instincts are telling me that Cyrano will probably not be a huge contender.  In the end, West Side Story seems like the most likely musical nominee.

I’ve been reading up on Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which is set to premiere at Venice and then be released via Netflix.  Based on a novel by Thomas Savage, this sounds like the type of film that could potentially be a strong contender, depending on what approach Campion takes the story.  The main character of Phil Burbank is the type of bigger-than-life role that could lead to Oscar glory.  (The closest recent equivalent to Phil would probably be Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.)  Phil is a sharply intelligent but cruelly manipulative Montana rancher, the type who brags about castrating cattle while quoting Ovid and who goes out of his way to bully anyone who he considers to be effeminate.  Of course, there’s a secret behind all of Phil’s cruelty and how the film handles that secret will have a lot to do with how strongly the film comes on during awards season.  Phil is being played by Benedict Cumberbatch, which is …. interesting casting.  (Personally, I probably would have begged Michael Fassbender to take the role.)  Still, it seems like Phil could be the type of change-of-pace role that, should Cumberbatch’s casting pay off, could lead to Oscar glory.

Coming up in July, we’ve got Cannes and we’ll be getting our first look at contenders like Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch.  Though Cannes is hardly a reliable precursor, the Oscar race should start to become a bit clearer as the festival start up and the contenders — many of which we’ve been waiting to see for over two years — will finally start to be released.  Until then, take all predictions with a grain of salt!

If you’re curious to see how my thinking has developed, check out my predictions for March and April and May.

Best Picture

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

A Journal for Jordan

Nightmare Alley

Parallel Mothers

Passing

The Power of the Dog

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of MacBeth

West Side Story

Best Director

Pedro Almodovar for Parallel Mothers

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog

Ridley Scott for House of Gucci

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Power of the Dog

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal for Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Penelope Cruz in Parallel Mothers

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Tessa Thompson in Passing

Best Supporting Actor

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Bill Murray in The French Dispatch

Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress

Kirsten Dunst in The Power of the Dog

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Ruth Negga in Passing

 

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions For May


It’s that time of the month again! It’s time for me to go out on a limb and attempt to predict what will be nominated for the Oscars. Of course, trying to do this early in the year is a fool’s errand. We all know that. That’s actually part of the fun.

As of right now, the list below is full of familiar names, a few films that were acclaimed at Sundance, and a few random guesses. A lot of the predicted nominees are films that were expected to be Oscar contenders last year but which were delayed due to the pandemic. (Looking at you, West Side Story.) Some of them are contenders that I personally would just like to see nominated, even though it probably won’t happen. (I’m not going to jinx anything by pointing out which nomination about which I’m specifically thinking. You’ll probably be able to guess for yourself.) Over the next few months, the Oscar picture will become a bit clearer. Many of the contenders listed below will be forgotten about. Meanwhile, new contenders will emerge. My point is, take it all with a grain of salt and don’t put down any money just yet.

Two big developments to keep in mind:

First off, the Academy is officially going back to having a set a number of nominees. Next year, ten films will be nominated for best picture. Not seven. Not nine. Ten. Personally, I’m thrilled by this development. Nothing irritated me more than when they used to announce those weird, seven-picture lineups. (As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like odd numbers.)

Secondly, the Academy is going back to the old eligibility dates. Yay! What that means is that only films that are released between March and the end of this year will be eligible to compete for the Oscars. More importantly, it means that the best film of 2021 will not be released in 2022.

Anyway, here are my predictions for this month! Don’t take them too seriously. If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, check out my predictions for March and April.

Best Picture

CODA

The Duke

The French Dispatch

House of Gucci

A Journal for Jordan

Nightmare Alley

Passing

Soggy Bottom

The Tragedy of Macbeth

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Guillermo Del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Ridley Scott for House of Gucci

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Jim Broadbent in The Duke

Clifton Collins, Jr. in Jockey

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal For Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Ana de Armas in Blonde

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Nicole Kidman in Being the Ricardos

Tessa Thompson in Passing

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Bradley Cooper in Soggy Bottom

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Al Pacino in House of Gucci

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Best Supporting Actress

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Marlee Matlin in CODA

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of MacBeth

Ruth Negga in Passing

Lisa Marie’s Way Too Early Oscar Predictions For April


Well, now that the latest Oscar ceremony is out of the way, I guess it’s time to focus on predicting what will be nominated next year.

(Well, it’s not really time but if you’re an Oscar-obsessive like I am, you really have no choice. Oscar speculation is an addiction that’s easily shaken off.)

Below, you’ll find my predictions for April. As always, these should be taken with several grains of salt.

First off, I haven’t seen any of these films and some of them might not live up to expectations.

Secondly, I’m not even sure whether the Academy is going to go back to the old rules of using the end of December as their eligibility cut-off or if they’re going to continue with the extended release window that they used last year.

Third, the Oscar picture is never anywhere close clear until November or December rolls around. Right now, I can only predict what I know is going to be released between now and December 31st. Obviously some of the movies below might have their release date changed and several movies will be picked up from the various film festivals. In all probability, next year’s big Oscar winner isn’t even on anyone’s radar right now. (Let’s not forget that, up until February of this year, most people were still predicting that Da 5 Bloods would be a huge Oscar player.)

Also note, the Academy is finally going back to having a set number of best picture nominees so no more of this stupid 7 or 9 nominees nonsense. In theory, that’s good news for film like Dune, which will probably get a lot of technical nominations but which probably would have struggled to make the final best picture lineup under the former rules. Of course, the Academy is also about to institute their inclusion requirements so it will be interesting to see if any of the expected contenders are disqualified from competing for best picture.

If you want to follow how my thinking has developed, be sure to check out my predictions for March!

Best Picture

Dune

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

The French Dispatch

A Journal for Jordan

King Richard

The Last Duel

Nightmare Alley

Respect

Soggy Bottom

West Side Story

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Soggy Bottom

Wes Anderson for The French Dispatch

Guillermo Del Toro for Nightmare Alley

Steven Spielberg for West Side Story

Denzel Washington for A Journal For Jordan

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper in Nightmare Alley

Peter Dinklage in Cyrano

Adam Driver in The Last Duel

Michael B. Jordan in A Journal for Jordan

Will Smith in King Richard

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Nightmare Alley

Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Rachel Zegler in West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor

David Alvarez in West Side Story

Willem DaFoe in Nightmare Alley

Andrew Garfield in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Bill Murray in The French Dispatch

Forest Whitaker in Respect

Best Supporting Actress

Chante Adams in A Journal for Jordan

Judi Dench in Belfast

Vera Farmiga in The Many Saints of Newark

Audra MacDonald in Respect

Marlee Matlin in CODA

A Few Late Thoughts On Last Night’s Oscars


Footage of viewers doing what they had to do to make it through last night’s Oscar ceremony

This morning, I woke up and I thought about the cult of Steven Soderbergh.

Soderbergh is a filmmaker who is fervently adored by some film and cultural critics. They eagerly devour his every thought. They examine his annual list of the things that he watched during the year with the intensity of theological scholars studying an ancient-but-just-discovered religious text. The Cult of Soderbergh reacts with excitement whenever it’s announced that Soderbergh has secretly filmed an improvised comedy on his phone and that he’ll be releasing it on HBOMax. The fact that the movie itself will probably turn out to be a self-indulgent mess never really seems to concern them.

Don’t get me wrong. Steven Soderbergh has directed some very good movies. There are quite a few Soderbergh films — Out of the Past, The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant!, Logan Lucky, Magic Mike — that I really, really like. However, Soderbergh has directed and otherwise been involved with some truly mediocre films as well, films that would probably be totally forgotten if not for the fact of his involvement. Even his worst films tend to get good initial reviews, if just because people tend to assume that anything Soderbergh directs has to be good even when it’s not. But, in retrospect, many of his films are stylish and ultimately empty. Haywire is a mess. The Laundromat was self-indulgent and pretentious. Let Them All Talk was so dull that it felt as if it was specifically made to troll the type of people who proudly proclaim that they will watch Meryl Streep in anything. Contagion may have predicted a pandemic but that doesn’t make it any less of a drag to sit through. When Steven Soderbergh is good, he’s very good. When he’s bad, he’s incredibly bad. He’s one of the most frustratingly inconsistent filmmakers around. That’s something that many film fans and critics have yet to come to terms with.

It’s also why I kind of groaned a little when, last month, I read that Steven Soderbergh would be producing the Oscars this year. Everyone knows that the Oscars are struggling to stay relevant and that the ceremony needed to be jazzed up a little and, if nothing else, that seemed to be something that Soderbergh could deliver. But, even while the Cult of Soderbergh was celebrating, I was thinking about how the Oscars seemed like just the type of event that would draw out Soderbergh’s worst tendencies.

Now, at this point, I should make clear that Soderbergh did not direct last night’s ceremony. He was strictly the producer and, in fact, he was just one of three producers. That said, from the opening scene of Regina King walking through Union Station to the decision to allow the winners to ramble on for as long as they wanted (almost as if they were Meryl Streep and Candice Bergen shooting an improvised film during an ocean cruise), this definitely felt like a Steven Soderbergh production. Even more importantly, it felt like a bad Soderbergh production. This wasn’t Traffic or even Ocean’s 11. This was Solaris. This was Full Frontal. This was one of those terrible movies that he agreed to executive producer as a favor to George Clooney. This was the type of train wreck that could only have been put together by a genius who no one was willing to double guess.

We all knew that last night’s Oscars were going to be a bit different, of course. And I guess we should be glad that they didn’t make the same mistakes that the Golden Globes made. That said, the ceremony was an endurance test. Last night’s ceremony did away with a lot of the things that have been criticized about previous ceremonies but, in doing so, it only made us realize that an awards show actually does need a host. It does need a cheesy montage. It needs spectacle. It needs live performances of the nominated songs. It needs humor, even bad humor. (Glenn Close twerking after her record-setting eighth Oscar loss does not count.) And, perhaps most importantly, it needs a band that’s willing to start playing the exit music whenever a winner goes on for too long. Who didn’t want a full orchestra to drown out the Documentary Feature winners? Do we really need a filibuster from someone who probably had sex with an octopus? That’s what the Senate’s for.

As I watched the ceremony, I thought about something one of my creative writing teachers once told me. Seriously, this is one of the most important lessons that I’ve ever learned and anyone who knows how much I hate learning anything will understand that’s high praise coming for me. If you want your reader to truly feel as if they know your characters, show. Don’t tell. Show. If you want your readers to understand that someone is good at their job, don’t just say, “She was good at her job.” Instead, write a scene that shows she’s good at her job. For the most part, last night’s ceremony eschewed showing clips of the nominated films and instead, we were provided with trivia factoids about the nominees, the type of stuff that you typically find on the imdb or Wikipedia. But hearing that someone worked in a movie theater when they were a teenager doesn’t tell us anything about why they were nominated. Last night, the lack of clips made it seem as if the Academy ashamed of the films they had nominated. They kept telling us the nominees were good but, at the same time, they refused to show us.

At least they avoided this….

Finally, there was the weird choice to move around some of the categories. It’s obvious what the show’s producers — and I won’t lay the blame squarely on Soderbergh because there were two other credited producers on the show — were trying to do. They assumed Chadwick Boseman would win best actor. They assumed it would be a huge emotional moment, the 21st century’s equivalent of Judy Garland introducing herself as “Mrs. Norman Maine” in the 1954 version of A Star is Born. And so, they moved the categories around.

Chloe Zhao, only the second woman in 93 years to win Best Director

As a result, Chloe Zhao won Best Director in the middle of the show. Zhao is only the second woman to win best director and the first woman of color. It should have been a great Oscar moment but instead, it was just randomly tossed in there, with no build-up or anything else. Best Picture, which is traditionally the joyous end of the ceremony, was moved so that the final award could go to Chadwick Boseman. Of course, that didn’t happen. The final award went to Anthony Hopkins for The Father. When presenting the award, Joaquin Phoenix read the name of the winner so quickly that it actually took a few minutes for me to realize that Hopkins had won. Phoenix read the name and the end credits rolled so quickly that you got the feeling someone in the control room panicked. It was an odd moment. Obviously, Hopkins couldn’t come to L.A. for the ceremony but he was also apparently so convinced that Boseman was going to win that he didn’t even bother to stay up for the ceremony. (According to People Magazine, he was asleep when his name was called. Actually, that was true for a lot of people in America as well.)

It was an anti-climatic end to the ceremony but, putting aside the question of who should have won best actor, it was hard not to feel some schadenfreude. The show’s producers basically messed up the show’s entire momentum for a big moment that they assumed was going to happen and then it didn’t. They got a bit too clever for their own good. As more than one person pointed out on twitter, last night was proof that the producers do not know, ahead of time, who is going to win. I know some would say that it’s easy to be critical in hindsight but that if Boseman had won last night, we would be talking about what a moving moment it was. Yes, we would but it would been just as moving if Boseman had won at the end of the ceremony or at the beginning of it or in the middle. Instead, the producers took a risk that only succeeded in making Boseman’s loss the defining moment of the 93rd Academy Awards.

(Incidentally, I watched The Father on Sunday, before the ceremony. Hopkins is amazing in the film and I feel he deserved the award. At the same time, I’m also very aware that Boseman was very good in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and that this was literally the Academy’s last chance to honor both his performance and his legacy. So, when I say that it’s unfortunate Boseman loss, that should not be taken as criticism of Hopkins. Nor should my praise of Hopkins be viewed as criticism of Chadwick Boseman.)

Many of the changes last night felt less like they were the result of seriously considering what would improve the ceremony and more like change for the sake of change. It felt like the people in charge basically said, “This is our show and we have to do something to show that we know better than everyone who has come before us.” There was a lot of hubris involved in last night’s ceremony. There was a definite lack of understanding of why people watch the Oscars in the first place. Watching the ceremony, I was reminded of the experiencing of listening to countless Steven Soderbergh commentary tracks where he got so caught up in discussing dry technical details that he didn’t actually bother to comment much on what it was like to actually make the film and work with the actors. (One gets the feeling that Soderbergh is more comfortable talking about lenses than about human emotions.)

I’m not going to get into an argument about what the Oscars are “supposed” to be. Obviously, there’s no set rule that says the Oscars have to take place in a giant theater or that there has to be a host or a live musical performance. But I will say that, for me, the most memorable Oscar ceremonies have been entertaining to watch, even if they did inspire a bit of snarkiness on the part of many viewers. (The snarkiness, let’s be honest, is a part of what we all look forward to.) The show’s producers were so busy patting themselves on the back for not being tacky that they failed to consider that shameless tackiness is actually one of the things that makes the Oscars the Oscars. Last night’s show was boring. And beyond everything else, that was the main problem. People want to have fun. They want to escape for a few hours. They want a little spectacle. If the Academy and Hollywood at large can’t remember how to deliver that, I don’t know how much longer this yearly tradition of watching the Oscars will continue.

The Shattered Lens Live Tweets Oscar Sunday


Patrick, I think, had the right idea. While Doc and Epoch slept and he read, Leonard, Jeff, and I watched a live tweeted this year’s Steven Soderbergh-produced Oscar ceremony. That it was an odd ceremony should not have come as a surprise, all things considered. Still, the three of us found ourselves shocked by not only the strange placement of the categories (i.e., putting Best Director in the middle of the show) but also by just the entire style of the entire ceremony. It was very Soderberghian, in that it was occasionally interesting but overall rather uneven. We were especially surprised when Best Picture was given out before the acting prizes but then we realized that they were obviously building up to the emotional moment when Chadwick Boseman would win his posthumous Oscar. Of course, for that to happen, Boseman would have to win Best Actor and …. well, here’s a few of our tweets from the very odd ceremony:

Here Are The Oscar Winners!


Best Picture — Nomadland

Best Director — Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor — Anthony Hopkins In The Father

Best Actress — Frances McFormand in Nomadland

Best Supporting Actor — Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress — Yuh-jung Youn in Minari

Best Adapted Screenplay — Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller for The Father

Best Original Screenplay — Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman

Best Animated Feature — Soul

Best Documentary Feature — My Octopus Teacher

Best International Feature Film — Another Round

Best Live Action Shot Subject — Two Distant Strangers

Best Animated Short Subject — If Anything Happens, I Love You

Best Documentary Short — Collette

Best Original Score — Soul

Best Original Song — “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Cinematography — Mank

Best Costume Design — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Editing — Sound of Metal

Best Makeup and Hair Styling — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Production Design — Mank

Best Sound — Sound of Metal

Best Visual Effects -Tenet

The Best Picture Race In Review: The 2010s


Ah, the 2010s. Social media made anxiety the norm and Americans became obsessed with “red states” and “blue states.” Americans fetishized politicians and the Academy decided that it would be cool to do away with the idea of having a set number of best picture winners. One bright spot, for me at least: Arleigh invited me to write for this site! And the rest, as they say, is history!

2010

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

Won: The King’s Speech

Should Have Won: Ah, The King’s Speech vs The Social Network. On the one hand, The King’s Speech was a far more conventional film than The Social Network. On the other hand, The Social Network‘s supporters tended to be so obnoxious about it that you kind of wanted it to lose just to spite them. Personally, I liked The King’s Speech on an emotional level. The Social Network holds up fairly well, though I still find it to be overrated. Inception is still exciting to watch and Winter’s Bone gets better every time I view it. In the end, though, my vote still goes to Black Swan, a film that gave me an asthma attack the first time I watched it.

2011

The Artist

The Descendants

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Help

Hugo

Midnight in Paris

Moneyball

The Tree of Life

War Horse

Won: The Artist

Should Have Won: The Artist isn’t bad but its victory was still more about its novelty than its quality. The Tree of Life is visually stunning but the scenes with Sean Penn are a bit too heavy-handed for me. My vote goes to Hugo, a film that gets better each and every time that I see it. (My favorite film of the year remains the unnominated Hanna.)

2012

Amour

Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Miserables

Life of Pi

Lincoln

Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty

Won: Argo

Should Have Won: “Argo fuck yourself!” Yes, I can see why this won! Actually, Argo‘s victory has always struck me as weird. Argo is a rather forgettable winner. My vote goes to Life of Pi.

2013

12 years A Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club

Gravity

Her

Nebraska

Philomena

The Wolf of Wall Street

Won: 12 Years A Slave

Should Have Won: This was a good year and I can make an argument for why American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, and The Wolf of Wall Street all deserved to win. In the end, though, the power of 12 Years a Slave cannot be denied.

2014

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

Whiplash

Won: Birdman

Should Have Won: We all love Michael Keaton but Birdman was a pretentious film that thought it was more profound than it actually was. Of the nominees, Boyhood is my pick. (My favorite film of the year was — and I make no apologies for this — the terrifically entertaining Guardians of the Galaxy.)

2015

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Won: Spotlight

Should Have Won: Spotlight is a well-acted, visually flat movie that feels like it belongs on television as opposed to playing in theaters. Of the nominees, I really love Brooklyn but Mad Max: Fury Road is a masterpiece of the pulp imagination and that’s the film that gets my vote.

2016

Arrival

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Lion

Manchester By The Sea

Moonlight

Won: Moonlight

Should Have Won: This is one of the stronger best picture line-ups and the fact that I would pick a film other than Moonlight should not be taken as a criticism of the Academy’s decision. Moonlight is a worthwhile winner. La La Land would have been a worthy winner, as well. In retrospect, 2016 was a better year for movie than a lot of us realized a the time. Back then, I would have voted for Arrival but today, I would probably vote for Hell or High Water. “We ain’t got no goddamned trout.”

2017

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Won: The Shape of Water

Should Have Won: Considering how much I love Guillermo Del Toro, it pains me that I didn’t particularly care for The Shape of Water. But I have to admit that the film lost me as soon as the Fishman ate that cat. Of the nominees, I would have voted for Lady Bird.

2018

Black Panther

BlackKklansman

Bohemian Rhapsody

The Favourtie

Green Book

Roma

A Star Is Born

Vice

Won: Green Book

Should Have Won: My favorite film of the year, Eighth Grade, was not nominated. In fact, a lot of good films weren’t nominated in 2018. What a strange year that sees both Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody nominated but not Eighth Grade or First Reformed. Spike Lee finally got his first nomination but it was for one of his most conventional films. It was a strange year. Of the nominees, I would vote for A Star is Born.

2019

Ford v Ferrari

The Irishman

Jojo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

1917

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Parasite

Won: Parasite

Should Have Won: My favorite film of the year was The Souvenir, which barely got any distribution at all in the States and went unnominated. Parasite‘s victory was a great moment and it’s certainly a good film. That said, I still would have voted for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

And that’s it for our look back at all the previous races for Best Picture! Later tonight, a new film will join these previous winners! The big show starts in about 30 minutes!

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019, dir by Quentin Tarantino)

The Best Picture Race In Review: The 2000s


Lost In Translation (2003, dir by Sofia Coppola)

Ah, the aughts. The new century started out with the terror of 9-11 and it ended with the collapse of the world’s economy. In between, a lot of films were released. Some of them were really good. A few of them were nominated for Best Picture. Most of them were not.

2000

Chocolat

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Erin Brockovich

Gladiator

Traffic

Won: Gladiator

Should Have Won: I’m in a minority here but I’ve never particularly cared for Gladiator. Joaquin Phoenix is a good villain and I can certainly understand why some people have adopted it as a sort of a life manual but, for the most part, Gladiator just falls flat for me. If I was voting, I would have voted for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There was a time when I would have voted for Traffic but Crouching Tiger has aged with a bit more grace the Steven Soderbergh’s look at the war on drugs.

2001

A Beautiful Mind

Gosford Park

In the Bedroom

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Moulin Rouge!

Won: A Beautiful Mind

Should Have Won: A Beautiful Mind gets criticized for being too Oscar bait-y but it’s not a bad film. What it does, it does well. That said, I would have voted for Todd Field’s haunting In The Bedroom.

2002

Chicago

Gangs of New York

The Hours

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Pianist

Won: Chicago

Should Have Won: As much as I love Chicago, this is the year that I would have selected to honor Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Two Towers is the darkest chapter in the saga and it’s also the best.

2003

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Lost in Translation

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Mystic River

Seabiscuit

Won: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Should Have Won: Even while it was sweeping the Oscars, it was understood that Return of the King was being honored as a way to acknowledge the entire trilogy. Since I already honored the trilogy with The Two Towers, that frees me up to vote for Lost In Translation this year. Lost In Translation is a film that haunts me in a way that few other films ever have or ever will.

2004

The Aviator

Finding Neverland

Million Dollar Baby

Ray

Sideways

Won: Million Dollar Baby

Should Have Won: Million Dollar Baby is good but The Aviator is Scorsese at his best. It also features Leonardo DiCaprio’s first legitimately great performance.

2005

Brokeback Mountain

Capote

Crash

Good Night and Good Luck

Munich

Won: Crash

Should Have Won: Oh God, don’t get me started on Crash. What should have won? Anything other than Crash. I’ll go with Brokeback Mountain.

2006

Babel

The Departed

Letters From Iwo Jima

Little Miss Sunshine

The Queen

Won: The Departed

Should Have Won: Martin Scorsese finally won his first Oscar for The Departed. Sadly, The Departed is actually one of his weaker films. (Of course, a weak Scorsese film is still better than an average film from any other director.) Back in 2007, I thought Babel should have won but that’s just because I was going through a pretentious phase where I thought any film with multiple storylines was automatically brilliant. Today, I realize that The Queen was the proper winner.

2007

Atonement

Juno

Michael Clayton

No Country For Old Men

There Will Be Blood

Won: No Country For Old Men

Should Have Won: No Country For Old Men. The Academy got it exactly right.

2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Frost/Nixon

Milk

The Reader

Slumdog Millionaire

Won: Slumdog Millionaire

Should Have Won: Of the nominees, I have to go with Slumdog Millionaire. This, of course, is the year that The Dark Knight was not nominated and the internet lost its mind as a result.

2009

Avatar

The Blind Side

District 9

An Education

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Precious

A Serious Man

Up

Up In The Air

Won: The Hurt Locker

Should Have Won: This is the year that the Academy went back to ten nominees. The idea was that this would lead to a more diverse best picture lineup and it certainly worked the first year they tried it. This is one of the strongest best picture lineups in Oscar history and I say that as someone who really disliked Avatar and who thought The Hurt Locker was a bit overrated. I could make an argument for honoring Up In The Air, Up, District 9, A Serious Man, and Inglourious Basterds but my final vote would go to the underrated but wonderful An Education.

Coming up in an hour, we wind up our look at the history of the Best Picture race with the 2010s!