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Post #3

Thoughts on 2021 Oscar Nominations (Date: March 19, 2021)

“I feel it is important to precede comments about the recent Academy Award nominations with these recollections.

A year ago the introduction of coronavirus disease prompted the closure of most movie theaters in this country.  Those closures caused film distributors to alter release schedules—relocating titles months ahead of their original playdates.  April, May and June came and went, theaters remained shuttered and release dates continued to be pushed forward.

In June, the Motion Picture Academy saw the handwriting on the wall and made some unprecedented changes.  The 93rd Oscar ceremony was moved from February 28, 2021 to April 25, 2021.  The eligibility period for award consideration was extended beyond the standard December 31 deadline to February 28, 2021.  The Oscar nominations would be announced on March 15th.

There was another major alteration to long standing rules: a film which skips a theatrical release and is introduced to audiences on streaming services will be eligible for an Academy Award nomination.

Then, on March 15, Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra provided the 2021 list of  Oscar nominations—which, as usual, produced random thoughts about snubs, surprises and confusion in my mind.

More signs of diversity within the nominations surfaced this year but it wasn’t extended to Spike Lee’s DA 5 BLOODS.  There was no love for Tom Hanks and Helena Zengal in NEWS OF THE WORLD.  THE MAURITANIAN (with Jody Foster) failed to achieve any recognition.  THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 earned 6 nominations, affording Aaron Sorkin a nod for his screenplay but zip for his direction of the film.

With both Danial Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield landing in the supporting actor category for performances in JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, a question arises: is Hampton or O’Neal the lead character here?

Netflix, who has been in the forefront of supplying many of us with entertainment during the past 12 months, picked up 35 nominations.  MANK and TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 accounted for 17 noms and one of those titles may provide Netflix with it’s first, highly desired BEST PICTURE award.

What do those 10 nominations for MANK indicate?  Is it the front runner?  If you recall MANK had 6 Golden Globe nominations and won absolutely none, you may challenge its importance.  Will Academy members (about 9,900) value MANK differently than the Foreign Press Association (87 individuals) did?

Chadwick Boseman is the seventh actor to receive a nomination posthumously–joining James Dean, Spencer Tracy, Peter Finch, Ralph Richardson, Massimo Troisi and Heath Ledger with that status.

When SOUND OF METAL garnered 6 nominations including BEST PICTURE, I emailed Chris Stinson (born and raised in Concord), who was the film’s line producer, a congratulatory note.  I mentioned it would be great if he (and anyone associated with the movie) could attend a special showing of SOUND OF METAL when Red River reopens. Chris accepted the invitation!

I have seen 5 of the 8 BEST PICTURE nominees—with THE FATHER, MINARI and PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN yet to be watched.  That fact limits my willingness to offer winning predictions at this moment.  But before April 25, I hope to do so.

And that’s the way I see it.

Click here to read more about Barry Steelman!

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