EFE.- No film could predict the level of change, stress and bankruptcy that could be caused by a virus that, out of seeming nothingness, was born and spread throughout the world without leaving any healthy bone. Nor did any screenwriter imagine the level of corruption, stupidity, blackmail and money war that would be unleashed, while World “leaders”, laboratories, biosafety and telecommunications companies are multiplying their capital.
In the interim, movie theaters were closed – many forever – but movies found platforms to keep circulating. Thus, although two months late, the Oscar gala will be held next Sunday 25, quite possibly with a low television audience.
What if there were no box office, launch parties or red carpets -variables that usually influence the prizes-, this time there is supposed to be more room for quality and sobriety. Is it so?
The obvious first major achievement in the 2021 nominations was the space open to justice and minority issues, very in tune with the anti-police protests that ignited the United States these months, many legitimate, but also generating demagoguery, looting, manipulation and political gain to the right and left. What’s more, female filmmakers and “foreigners” continued to score well deserved advances.
In that panorama, Who will win the Oscar this unusual year? Did voters see the movies to a greater or lesser extent this time, due to the lockdown? Does looking at them at home allow evaluate better than in a movie theater? As Bob Dylan would say, “the answer is in the wind …”
It is always more difficult, mathematically, to be nominated than to win, but everyone is yearning for the trophy. For now trends point to these “vaccinated” results:
ACTRESSES: Viola Davis had no competition until a few weeks ago, but the auction has been complicated with Andra Day, both interpreting Legendary singers who suffered from racism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey and Billie Holiday. If the African American vote is divided, Britain’s Carey Mulligan could surprise. While Frances McDormand rides strong as she is practically the only character in “Nomadland.” It will be a photo ending.
In secondary roles, a war between grandmothers: the tragicomic of Korean Youn Yuh-jung represents the vote of “minorities” and lovers of independent films, and its triumph would be the most viable way to reward “Minari” and countering Asian xenophobia in vogue in United States. But Glenn Close continues to be the actress with the most nominations (8) without having won the Oscar. Will they leave her seated again? Some think her grandmother on “Hillbilly Elegy” was masterful, while others have thrown tomatoes at her, including a sour nomination. Razzie as “horror of the year” with Rudolph Guliani. Such a dichotomy had never happened with the same performance (Sandra Bullock had both Oscar and “worst actress” wins in 2010, but with different movies.)
ACTORS: between protagonists, Chadwick Boseman looks like the safest prize of the night. His brilliant short career interrupted by the Cancer had an exceptional close with his role as a frustrated musician on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Not honoring him would be a very irresponsible mistake.
Among the supporting actors, it is very likely that another African American will also crown: for the first time the “minority” is the majority. There are three nominated black characters, all biographical roles. And although those coincidences could generate a mathematical problem for indecision among voters, the Londoner Daniel Kaluuya He has the advantage as the hero of the movie “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and he is the only one of the group with a prior acting nomination. In the other corner, the whites Paul Raci and Sacha Baron Cohen are now a “minority” and they do not stop praying.
DIRECTOR: Chloé Zhao She is the great favorite and in 2017 she won at Cannes. Will make history like woman, young and foreign by taking this award for “Nomadland” in the anti-China climate? So it seems, inheriting the Korean Bong Joon-ho, winner last year for “Parasite”.
SCRIPTWRITERS: Among the adapted stories, the union scale is in favor of Sacha Baron Cohen and his mega team in “Borat”. Meanwhile, Chloé Zhao seems to have a better chance as filmmaker of the year. And in the original script, the British Emerald Fennell -equally nominated as director- looks unmissable with her mixture of romance and revenge in “Promising Young Woman”. Unless Aaron Sorkin (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) ruins your night.
MOVIES: “Nomadland” leads solid. It’s a human epic a kind of Iliad with a widow, of high quality and low budget, in tune with the introspective gaze and material detachment that the pandemic imposed on the community, in the midst of the unemployment and forced exodus that the 2008 bank lust crisis. The other finalists are lost in oblivion, although the theme of social justice drives “Judas” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, and the sweat of immigrants floods “Minari”.
In animated tape, “Soul” He looks without competition: he has swept other awards and has 3 Oscar nominations.
In international production, there is more room for surprises because it is a separate committee, few voters, and this year there were quirky rules to ensure they would see the productions still in lockdown. La danesa “Another Round” He has a pedigree, earning a highly sought after nomination for his well-known director Thomas Vinterberg. But very close they run Hungary la “Quo Vadis, Aida?” that it has the advantage of touching on a topic of international history – the war in the former Yugoslavia-; and “The man who sold his skin” (Tunisia) on refugees from Syria. That helps in this category.
In short, the Oscar is one more award. It is not worth crying. Much more has been lost with the coronavirus.
Andrés Correa Guatarasma is a Venezuelan correspondent and playwright residing in New York, corresponding member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language.
(The Tribunes express the opinion of the authors, without EFE necessarily sharing their points of view)