Watching the Academy Awards is a cultural tradition for many households, but those of us who grew up in L..A have had a slightly different perspective on the local event. The Hollywood fantasy the show sold was bogus and we knew it because we grew up walking around and driving up and down the boulevard, fighting tourists, clubbers and the occasional drug dealer to get where we needed to go. From a young age we knew that movie magic happened elsewhere and celeb sightings were more frequent in WeHo. The Hollywood mystique is just that and natives know it.
Even when the Dolby Theater became the home of the show, all locals like us thought about was the mall it’s housed in -Hollywood & Highland- and the traffic treachery that the street closures would cause in the area. Pre-COVID, most people (who don’t want to be famous that is) in L.A. avoided the party scene on “entertainment’s biggest night,” if they could.
This year the show saw its lowest ratings ever, and that’s no surprise, it was pretty much a snooze. But there were some things to celebrate and be intrigued about last night, including the move to Downtown’s Union Station. The scaled down event was chosen for its outdoor areas and sprawling layout, but its vintage details provided an alluring backdrop and some whimsy for what was otherwise the most subdued presentation of its kind. With the date moved from February to April due to virus concerns, the event produced by director Steven Soderbergh, was probably the best we could hope for considering that California has not yet reached herd immunity.
As in past years there was no host, but opening presenter Regina King set an unfettered tone, emphasizing safety precautions, stating that everyone present was tested and vaccinated, and that masks were worn whenever cameras were not rolling, “just like on film sets” these days. There wasn’t a lot of fanfare during the announcements but having the best nominated songs performed during the pre-show via satellite from various locations (including what will be the new Academy Museum come this September) was a nice touch.
As for winners and losers themselves, everyone has an opinion and everyone shall share it on social media. It was a great night for older women and women of color and we can only hope this momentum continues. We have our faves and some of them won, but the reality is- it doesn’t matter if the Academy got it right or not. No one remembers the film that should’ve won from last year, but they will remember great performances and great stories all around for years to come. They’ll also remember a really revealing gown, a new “red carpet couple debut” and bad plastic surgery, so take that for what it is.
All this said, Michael Musto over at our sister paper The Village Voice, got a lot of the big awards right. Read our re-print of his piece HERE and see the full list of winners below with LA Weekly review links where applicable.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE– Anthony Hopkins in The Father.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE– Frances McDormand in Nomadland.
BEST PICTURE– Nomadland
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)– “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah (H.E.R., Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas)
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)– Soul (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste)
FILM EDITING– Sound Of Metal (Mikkel E. G. Nielsen)
CINEMATOGRAPHY– Mank (Erik Messerschmidt)
PRODUCTION DESIGN– Mank (Donald Graham Burt)
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE– Yuh-Jung Youn in Minari
VISUAL EFFECTS– Tenet (Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher)
DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)– My Octopus Teacher
DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)– Colette
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM– Soul
SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)– If Anything Happens I Love You
SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)– Two Distant Strangers
SOUND– Sound Of Metal (Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh)
BEST DIRECTOR– Chloé Zhao for Nomadland
COSTUME DESIGN– Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Ann Roth)
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING– Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson)
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE– Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM– Another Round (Denmark)
WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)– The Father (Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller)
WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)– Promising Young Woman (Emerald Fennell)