This year, I attempted to guess every winner of the “Oddscars”—or as they shall henceforth be known, the “total chaos Oscars”—and I did pretty okay. I got 15 categories out of 23 right, which Professor Calculator tells me is 65% correct. Of the 8 misses, 7 were from my “Upset/Dark Horse” category, such as both Best Actor and Actress winners—we’ll talk about it, don’t worry—and Erik Messerschmidt winning Best Cinematography for Mank and Mikkel E.G. Nielsen winning Best Editing for Sound of Metal. The only real shocker was H.E.R. winning Best Original Song for Judas and the Black Messiah. I did not have that pick at all. So, if you look at it a certain way, with the upsets/dark horses, I got 99% right, in that I saw almost all of the wins coming, in one way or another (GIVE ME THIS). One win I totally called was Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste winning Best Original Score for Soul. Jon Batiste is now an Academy Award winner, can we PLEASE free him from pretending he thinks Stephen Colbert is funny?
An interesting statistical note for the night is that Netflix is the most-awarded studio with seven wins, including Best Documentary for My Octopus Teacher—a film about a man who ran out of human women to harass, so he bothers an octopus—and two out of three short films. However, Best Picture once again eludes them, even though Netflix is, at this point, one of the major drivers of awards campaign spending. I have no problem with this because their Best Picture nominees were weak—should have backed Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey—but it is a fun fact that they are spending tens of millions of dollars a year in pursuit of a Best Picture Oscar and the Academy just will not give it to them. Plus, they have ridden to the rescue of the Academy’s fiscally troubled Death Star-shaped museum, and CEO Ted Sarandos is the chair of the museum board. How much money does Netflix have to spend before the Academy caves and gives them an Oscar?! Netflix is truly the Bobby Newport of Oscars.
Another statistical note is that Frances McDormand is now the only living actress with three Best Actress Oscars. (Meryl Streep has three Oscars, but one is for Supporting Actress.) McDormand joins Katherine Hepburn as the only actress to win three or more Best Actress Oscars. Will McDormand tie Hepburn with four wins? Maybe! She seems to be entering the Streep phase of her career where she gets nominated just for showing up, and her next film is The Tragedy of Macbeth, directed by her husband, Joel Coen. She will play Lady Macbeth. There is a very real chance we are right back here in ten months’ time talking about another Frances McDormand nomination and possible win. I would be fine with Frances McDormand being a four-time winner, but I would also be fine with Viola Davis just being a Best Actress winner. I’m not sure what she has to do at this point to win Best Actress. This category has been hyper competitive the last few years, which is definitely a factor, but I find it interesting how it seems like the supporting acting categories are “easier”—in that winning an Oscar is ever “easy”—for people of color to win than the lead categories. Halle Berry remains the only woman of color who has won Best Actress and that was 20 goddamn years ago. Food for thought!
Now let’s talk about the absolutely BONKERS ending of the show and Anthony Hopkins’ upset win. First of all, the issue is not that Hopkins won. He is phenomenal in The Father. To call it the performance of his career is not underselling it. It is a deserved win. BUT. As Lainey just wrote, the show was CLEARLY set up to end on a Chadwick Boseman farewell. The only reason to switch the order of the final awards, which traditionally end with Best Picture, is if you think Boseman is going to win and Simone Ledward Boseman accepting the award will be the farewell moment of the evening. But they ended on Best Actor, and Anthony Hopkins is not even present, in person or via satellite, to accept the award. Let me be clear, I do not blame Hopkins at all for not being there. I don’t blame him for winning. I just think it’s f-cked up that the producers clearly engineered the moment for Boseman and then couldn’t deliver it, which, not unlike the La La Land/Moonlight fiasco, cheapens the moment for everyone. Hopkins’ win will be seen as “stealing” Boseman’s moment, which he ONLY did because of the setup of the awards. Had that moment come even slightly earlier in the night, it’s just a shocking upset and nothing more. The show proceeds as normal and ends on Chloe Zhao’s uplifting remarks when Nomadland wins Best Picture.
People would shake their heads that Boseman—a true generational talent, that’s why his death hit everyone so hard—will go forever unrecognized by the Academy, and that will probably look dumber over time, but oh well, it won’t be the first or last time the Academy looks dumb, but at least the ending of the 2020 Oscars would not become synonymous with “fiasco”. Instead, we have a fiasco, and it is 100% an own goal. The whole deal with the Oscars is that no one knows the winners before they’re read live on stage, but if EVER there was a time to take a peep in advance, it was now. They should have gone ahead and looked, and knowing Boseman wouldn’t win, kept the traditional order of the show. It’s unfair to Hopkins, Boseman, and Simone Ledward Boseman to let things play out the way they did. It makes the moment unnecessarily dramatic, and now Hopkins’ win will forever be linked to Boseman’s loss—and the loss of Boseman—just as Moonlight can never escape La La Land. It’s not fair to anyone involved…
Although it did make an argument for chaos television. The Academy has been fretting about the ratings slide for years. Maybe the answer is just to introduce maximum chaos at every ceremony. People would watch just to see what happens, not even really caring about winners and losers. It is time to revive my idea of releasing a pack of ravenous wolves at the Oscars. Wolf Host 2022! This is the Oscars chaos we deserve.