2021 Oscars
April 27, 2021

Glenn Close may have lost Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, but she still managed to win the night.

The Hillbilly Elegy star delivered one of the most memorable moments of Sunday's Academy Awards after hilariously dancing to "Da Butt" while showing off a surprising amount of knowledge about the song. She instantly went viral for it, and on Instagram, Close explained how this all came together, noting the larger bit was pre-planned — while revealing her dance apparently wasn't.

During the bit, Lil Rel Howery went around the room to quiz Oscar nominees on whether certain songs won Academy Awards, and when he got to Close, she was questioned about "Da Butt" from the soundtrack of Spike Lee's School Daze. Unexpectedly, not only did Close identify the song, she seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of it. As you might imagine, this portion of the segment was planned.

"I knew that Lil Rel was going to quiz me about 'Da Butt' and all three guys helped me run through what I was to say," Close wrote on Instagram, referring to her table mates Chris Terrio, Daniel Kaluuya, and Darrell Britt-Gibson.

But in an almost instantly iconic Oscars moment, Close proceeded to get up and dance to "Da Butt" as well, and that glorious part of the bit, according to Close, actually wasn't planned.

"I had googled 'Da Butt' and watched Spike's music video so when Lil Rel asked if I could do the dance ... you can actually see me think of the video," Close wrote. "That part was completely spontaneous. Daniel, Darrell and Chris egged me on!!! It was ALL their fault."

So there you have it. Can we finally get Close that long-awaited Oscar now? Brendan Morrow

April 26, 2021

The ratings are in for Sunday's Academy Awards, and they're about as disastrous as expected.

An average of 9.85 million viewers tuned into the Oscars on Sunday, down significantly from 23.6 million viewers in 2020, according to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. These numbers from Nielsen are preliminary, but at the moment, this is the first time in history the Oscars failed to draw more than 10 million viewers.

Last year's 23.6 million viewers for the Academy Awards, which was the previous all-time low, was already considered a disappointing showing. As recently as 2014, CNN notes, the Oscars managed to pull in over 40 million viewers.

But it had been widely anticipated that the Oscars' viewership would tank this year, considering previous awards shows also saw significant ratings declines amid the pandemic. The 2021 Golden Globes drew only 6.9 million viewers, down from over 18 million the year before, and the Grammys also lost about 10 million viewers. Viewership for awards shows has generally been in decline for years — although the 2019 Oscars unexpectedly improved in the ratings — but the plunges have been far more dramatic during the pandemic.

Sunday's Oscars saw Nomadland, an unusually small movie to become an Oscar frontrunner, take the Academy Award for Best Picture following a year in which many splashy movie releases were delayed as theaters closed. It was an intimate ceremony, with a relatively small audience gathering in person. Producers also sought to change things up with numerous format tweaks, not making much use of clips of the nominated films or comedic monologues, though the telecast ultimately drew mixed reviews.

As theaters re-open, the Academy can expect a number of major movies, including Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, to possibly be in contention for next year's Oscars, which could help the show bounce back in the ratings. Certainly, the total number of viewers can't get much lower than this — right? Brendan Morrow

April 26, 2021

The ending of Sunday's Oscars may have been the worst that viewers have ever heard of. But, one ABC executive might respond, you have heard of it.

The 93rd Academy Awards concluded with one of the show's most shocking endings of all time after producers surprisingly gave out the award for Best Actor, not Best Picture, last. Seemingly, the hope was to end with Chadwick Boseman posthumously winning that trophy. But instead, Boseman lost to Anthony Hopkins in a major upset, and Hopkins wasn't even there to deliver a speech. This made for a bizarrely anticlimactic conclusion, and the decision to reshuffle the awards based on the assumption that Boseman would win drew criticism, especially since this awkward finale somewhat overshadowed Nomadland's historic Best Picture win.

On Monday morning, ABC executive Rob Mills defended the decision in an interview with Variety while celebrating the fact that, well, at least people are discussing it.

"It was not meant to end on somebody who was not present," Mills said. "It was a calculated risk, that I think still paid off because everybody was talking about it."

Mills also said that the order in which the awards were given out was tweaked to create a sense of unpredictability.

"I think some people thought maybe they missed some awards," Mills told Variety. "'Why is best picture early?' or, ''What's happening, this is crazy,' almost like, 'How can this possibly happen? Best picture has to end it!' Some people were upset, some people loved it and that was really the point that there was no apathy."

Yes, one might think questions like "what's happening" and "how can this possibly happen" aren't feelings you'd want confused viewers to have at the conclusion of a three-hour awards show. But one thing's for sure: for better or for worse, this is one Oscars ending that, like the infamous La La Land flub before it, won't be soon forgotten. Brendan Morrow

April 26, 2021

The Chinese government is not celebrating Chloé Zhao's historic Oscar victories, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Zhao, who was born and raised in China before moving to the United States in high school, on Sunday night became the first woman of color (and only the second woman ever) to win Best Director at the Academy Awards for her film Nomadland, which also notched best picture. But most state-controlled media organizations in her country of birth did not spread the news, with two state media journalists telling The Wall Street Journal that they had received orders from Beijing's propaganda ministry not to report on Zhao's awards. Congratulatory messages directed at Zhao on Chinese social media sites were also reportedly taken down.

The clampdown isn't entirely surprising. As the Journal notes, when Zhao first began racking up accolades for Nomadland earlier this year, a 2013 interview in which Zhao referred to China as a place "where there are lies everywhere" resurfaced, sparking a backlash to the initial excitement.

The Global Times published the sole Chinese state-media acknowledgement of Zhao's big night. It was packaged in an English-language editorial calling on the director to become "more mature" and "avoid being a friction point." Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

April 26, 2021

Looking for more closure after the Oscars' shockingly anticlimactic ending? You'll need to head over to Anthony Hopkins' Instagram page.

The actor posted a video from Wales early on Monday to accept his Best Actor Oscar after not being there to do so during the Academy Awards' jaw-dropping conclusion. Hopkins become the oldest actor to ever win an Oscar.

"At 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award," Hopkins said in the video. "I really didn't. I'm very grateful to the Academy, and thank you."

Hopkins isn't just being humble there, as most awards prognosticators didn't anticipate this, either. Chadwick Boseman was widely expected to posthumously win Best Actor for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, so much so that the Oscars' producers took the unusual step of placing this award at the end of the broadcast after Best Picture was already presented. It seemed likely they were hoping to end the Oscars with an emotional tribute to Boseman, assuming he would win.

Instead, not only did Boseman lose, but the final award went to someone who wasn't even there to accept it, which was one heck of a deflating way for Hollywood's biggest night to conclude. Hopkins' agent confirmed to People he was asleep in Wales when he won the award, and he had to be woken up at 4:00 a.m. to be told about it. Hopkins' representatives had "pleaded for him" to be allowed to join the Oscars from Zoom because he didn't want to travel to participate in it in-person amid the pandemic, IndieWire reports. But producers had decided that no nominee would be permitted to Zoom into the Oscars, and, well, here we are.

Hopkins in his Instagram video paid tribute to Boseman, noting he "was taken from us far too early." Well, that might have been a nicer note to go out on during the actual Oscars, right? Brendan Morrow

April 26, 2021

Even after a year when a global pandemic sent audiences flocking to streaming, Netflix has again come up short for Best Picture at the Oscars. But that's not to say the streamer walked away empty-handed.

At Sunday's Academy Awards, Netflix scored seven Oscars, more than any other studio, according to Variety. Among its wins were for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which took home the Oscars for Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Costume Design, and for Mank, which won Best Production Design and Best Cinematography.

Netflix's haul was a big improvement on its showing last year, when it won only two Oscars. Still, the streamer's Best Picture contenders, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Mank, lost to Nomadland, which was released by Disney's Searchlight Pictures. Disney had the second-highest haul with five wins, per Variety.

This was the third Oscars in a row in which Netflix had at least one major film in contention for Best Picture — this year, The Trial of the Chicago 7 was thought to have some slight chance at an upset over Nomadland — only to fail to win the top prize. Famously, Netflix's Roma was the frontrunner to win Best Picture in 2019 but shockingly lost to Green Book. A streaming service could potentially have more of an advantage in an awards season where some major films were postponed as theaters closed due to COVID-19, but in the end, Best Picture went to a movie released by a traditional studio.

Netflix's head of original films, Scott Stuber, acknowledged in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal that Oscar nominations are "hugely beneficial" partially because they help with "recruiting artists" to work for the streamer. On that front, Netflix is surely satisfied as it adds another seven trophies to its pile. But when it comes to actually taking home Best Picture, well, there's always next year. Brendan Morrow

April 26, 2021

It wasn't long into the 2021 Oscars before a major criticism began to emerge: Where were all the clips of the movies?

Producers of Sunday's Academy Awards made some fairly surprising presentation decisions during a show already altered by COVID-19, not least of which was the shock move not to give out Best Picture as the last award and instead end with Chadwick Boseman's posthumous loss to Anthony Hopkins.

But the lack of clips at the show was one of the top criticisms of the Oscars all throughout. Indeed, with numerous major categories including acting awards, the broadcast didn't actually cut to footage of the work that was in contention, with presenters in some cases instead praising the nominees' work or telling viewers more about them. Clips were used in certain cases, including for the nominees for Best Picture, but they were far more sparse than in past broadcasts.

In "a year where awareness of the movies is so low, it's tough not to have clips around for context," wrote critic Scott Tobias. NPR said in its Oscars wrap-up that "walking away with no idea what any of a lot of the honored work even looks like seems like a failure."

Perhaps producers simply felt that the frequent use of clips would detract from their effort to create a more intimate and personal feeling experience this year. Regardless, those who came into the show knowing little about the nominated films and not understanding why the winning performances were so impressive may have left it with roughly the same level of unawareness. Brendan Morrow

April 26, 2021

Glenn Close is this close to being an EGOT, but has to wait another year for that elusive Oscar.

The celebrated actress has won three Emmys, three Golden Globes, and three Tony Awards, and has been nominated for eight Oscars. This year, she snagged a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her performance in Hillbilly Elegy, but the award went to Minari's Youn Yuh-jung.

The Los Angeles Times notes that with eight Oscar nominations and zero awards, Close is now tied with the late Peter O'Toole for having the most acting nominations without a win — although in 2003, O'Toole did receive a non-competitive honorary Academy Award. Close has been nominated four times for Best Actress (Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, Albert Nobbs, and The Wife) and four times for Best Supporting Actress (Hillbilly Elegy, The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, and The Natural). Catherine Garcia

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