The triumph of Nomadland was expected, after a series of victories during the Hollywood awards season, and it did take place, without a blow, Sunday, April 25, during the 93e Oscars ceremony. The meeting was held for the most part in Los Angeles, with a few satellite dropouts around the world for some named, while the Covid-19 pandemic, has been shaking up the world of cinema for a year, has forced producers to adapt their device.
Nomadland was crowned Best Picture, Chloé Zhao won the Best Director statuette – awarded to a woman for the second time, only, in history – and her lead performer, Frances McDormand, is Best Actress, for the third time in his career (after Fargo, in 1997, and 3 Billboards, The Vengeance Panels, in 2018). She joins the club of three-crowned Meryl Streep, Ingrid Bergman and Katharine Hepburn.
The promise of diversity and co-education has been kept
In a strange ceremony, organized (too?) On the line by director Steven Soderbergh, in Los Angeles’ main train station, Union Station, and populated by films that very few people have had the opportunity to see in theaters – the obligation to leave Los Angeles to compete had been exceptionally waived due to the pandemic – Frances McDormand urged viewers to get off their couch as soon as possible: “Watch our film on the biggest screen possible. And one day, real, real soon, take everybody, you know, to a movie theater, side by side in this dark place, and watch all the movies that’s pictured here tonight. ”
In the end, in the competition between streaming platforms and the big screen, Netflix, which had accumulated 36 nominations, a record, can be happy with seven statuettes, another record for a video on demand site. The Californian giant has won technical Oscars (makeup / hairstyle and costumes for Ma Rainey’s Blues and sets and photography for Mank), the price of the documentary (The Wisdom of the Octopus) and finally that of the best short films (animation and traditional). It is ahead of all the traditional studios – but it must be said that the latter have often opted for a delay in the releases of their films while waiting for better times.
After years of controversy over the Oscar academy’s lack of openness to women and minorities, the promise of diversity and co-education has been kept, with women finally rewarded (Chloé Zhao, therefore, but also the Briton Emerald Fennell for the original screenplay of Promising Young Woman) and a parade of Black Hollywood stars on stage to award the prizes (Regina King, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Zendaya…).
Despite disappointments in the flagship categories, the many films devoted to the history of the African-American community have not been ignored, notably Judas and the Black Messiah (best supporting actor for Daniel Kaluuya, best song), on the life and the assassination of the leader of the Black Panthers in Chicago Fred Hampton. Actor-director-producer Tyler Perry has also received an honorary award for his humanitarian work.
A few days after the verdict in the trial of the murder of George Floyd, an African American, by a white policeman in Minneapolis, and after a year of protests against racism in the United States, the awards were the occasion to return to these events which are tearing America apart – despite the producers’ recommendations to put the pedal to the light on political speeches, which have become ubiquitous in recent years at the risk of scaring viewers away.
The evening was good for the French
Actress and director Regina King, who has been given the difficult task of opening the ceremony, summed up the paradox: “If things had turned out differently last week in Minneapolis, I might have traded in my high heels for shoes to protest. I know a lot of you at home are looking for your remote [pour changer de chaîne] when you feel like Hollywood is lecturing you. But as a mother of a black son, I know the fear that so many people live with and that fame and money don’t change. But tonight we are here to celebrate. “
“Please do not be indifferent to our pain”, urged for his part the comedian Travon Free, who came to receive the prize for the best short film for Two Distant Strangers, the story of a black cartoonist locked in a time loop who sees his day invariably end with his murder by a police officer.
Another winner of the evening, The Father, the adaptation of the play by Florian Zeller, for which the French novelist won the prize for best adapted screenplay and for which the main actor, Anthony Hopkins, was awarded.
The evening was good for the French, with a winner for best sound (Nicolas Becker, Sound of Metal), another documentary short, whose producer, Alice Doyard, concluded her intervention with a resounding ” Long live France “ after dedicating the award to the film Colette, on a French resistance fighter, “To women around the world, of all ages, who join forces and fight for justice”.
The ceremony almost without relief and humor – with the exception of an improvised “twerk” by actress Glenn Close – ended in a fishtail – with the prize for best actor rather than best film, as is usual, and what is more is attributed to an absent Anthony Hopkins, where we expected an emotional sequence around Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020, and present in the category.
The emotion, unexpected, had in fact come long before, during the poignant speech of the director Thomas Vinterberg (best foreign film for Drunk) referring to his daughter who disappeared in a car accident at the start of filming: “We ended up making this film for her, like her monument. So, Ida, a miracle has just happened. And you are part of this miracle. Maybe you pulled some strings somewhere. I do not know. But this one is for you. “
Movie : Nomadland
Director: Chloé Zhao (Nomadland)
Actress: Frances McDormand (Nomadland)
Actor: Anthony Hopkins (The Father)
Supporting female role: Youn Yuh-jung (Minari)
Supporting male role: Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)
Original screenplay: Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Screenplay (adaptation): Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller (The Father)
Original music: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste (Drunk)
Original song: Fight for you (Judas and the Black Messiah ; music by HER and Dernst Emile II; lyrics by HER and Tiara Thomas)
Foreign language film: Drunk (Thomas Vinterberg)
Animation Film : Drunk
Documentary: The Wisdom of the Octopus
Make-up and hairstyle: Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson (Ma Rainey’s Blues)
Costumes: Ann Roth (Ma Rainey’s Blues)
Sets: Donald Graham Burt, Jan Pascale (Mank)
Photography: Erik Messerschmidt (Mank)
Editing: Mikkel EG Nielsen (Sound of Metal)
Sound: Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh (Sound of Metal)
Special Effects: Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher (Tenet)
Short film : Two Distant Strangers (Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe)
Animated short film: If Anything Happens I Love You (Will McCormack and Michael Govier)
Short documentary film: Colette (Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard)
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Oscars 2021: behind the triumph of “Nomadland”, a ceremony under the sign of diversity