The 2021 Oscars were boring, to say the least. With the lowest viewership in the history of the Oscars, this year was my least favourite in recent years. I’m usually really excited for the Oscars, count down the days and watch them live. This year I just wasn’t really interested and didn’t care that much about any of the films that were nominated. Normally the Oscars have thousands of the best and brightest Hollywood has to offer, and this year there were only 200, which makes a big difference.
The problem with this year is I felt very unfamiliar with the films, and this is kind of how everyone felt. Without theatres, people didn’t have the same access to these movies that they normally would. Then the films that were available you had to pay upwards of $25 to rent the movies on your laptop or tv which really isn’t the same as seeing it in theatres. It doesn’t do these films justice. That’s why I felt really disconnected from the whole experience.
Additionally, there just weren’t a lot of good films being made. The pandemic put a lot of productions on pause or halted them all together, so it was no surprise the Oscars felt a little light. The only film I really would have liked to see get its moment at the Oscars was Malcolm & Marie.
The highlights at this year’s Oscars for me were Zendaya’s dress, Chloe Zaho’s win for best director, and Youn Yuh-Jung’s speech. I liked seeing Love & Monsters up for best visual effects even though it was obvious that Tenet would win and I also liked that Onward was nominated for the best-animated feature. In the end, I knew they both wouldn’t win but I really liked those movies so I'm glad they were represented.
The Oscars this year were in general just really boring. They were too talky and dragged out, asking questions to guests about their careers and past Oscars winners. Nobody really cares about watching people guess if a movie was nominated for an oscar or not from decades ago. Additionally, the different format was just not well executed. It felt like they started with it and then by the end gave up. They also changed around the order that the awards are presented in and it didn’t work. Best Picture closes the show, it wraps up the night in a perfect way, why go changing something that doesn’t affect viewership or literally anything, it just seemed unnecessary. Not only that but you know the most anticlimactic way to end the night? Present an award to a person who isn’t even in the building to accept it. So instead of ending with a whole cast and crew going up to accept an award for winning Best Picture, you had nobody go up at all.
At the end of the day, the Oscars was a big flop. I always say I hate the academy but I love the Oscars. I think the real honour is being nominated, being nominated means you are part of the best in Hollywood. But to me winning has become not about the art, but more about what makes the academy look best. They use diversity as a commodity. In Youn Yuh-Jung’s speech, she made a comment about how she is this year’s token Korean winner. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. I believe the people nominated and the people who won deserve their nominations and their awards, but is there more to picking the best than just being simply the best at what you do?
Finally, I would have loved to see Chadwick Boseman win Best Actor. I’m not going to say Anthony Hopkins doesn’t deserve it, I didn’t watch his film and so I won’t comment on if he was deserving or not. But as a fan of Chadwick, I would have liked to see him honoured in this year’s Oscars celebration more than what they did.
This year was a letdown but I have hopes that next year will be a lot better. They tried something new and it didn't work. They managed to drop 58% in viewership during a global pandemic when everyone is at home and bored. I think that really says something for the future of award shows in general. The reality is it is really long and bring and the majority of people I know never watch them anyway. It is much easier to look up who won the next day, watch highlight reels and lists of the best dressed all over the internet. That said, I still love watching the Oscars and am interested to see what happens next year. There are a lot of films that pushed their release dates to 2021, so there should be plenty of amazing films coming our way. Hopefully, theatres will open up again soon in Canada so I’ll actually be able to go out and watch a movie on the big screen and get back that experience I so dearly miss.