Predictions Friday: The Show Must Go On – Awards Daily

Posted: March 20, 2021 at 3:18 am

Hollywood, and the media that revolve around it, is having a moment.

In Hollywood, during the Red Scare, the fear that crippled the industry, turned everyone against each other. The paranoid frenzy that led many to suspect that movies were somehow carrying dangerous anarchist messages was not only about exposing communists in their midst, but also about implicating anyone who might be associated with anyone who might be a communist. Communism was the thing, coming out of World War II, that scared Americans so much they were willing to turn in their friends, people they knew, because they had to turn on someone. They felt threatened by something they could not see or prove it could be anywhere, in anyone.

The era of paranoia would eventually produce some great art. But to get to the art they had to be able to face the truth, the dark truth, the hard truth about what was actually happening versus how people were behaving inside the bubble of hysteria.

Humans are built for this kind of dynamic: build a utopia, protect that utopia, purge undesirables. Were living through one right now not just in Hollywood, not just in the awards race, but on the Left overall. While most industry members and most Americans are not on board with what has come to be known as cancel culture, they will not speak out against it and, if given the chance, they will join in; if you are the person doing the accusing, then its likely you wont be one of the accused. But really, anyone is vulnerable. Every day there is a new sacrifice, with no apparent end in sight.

I bring all of this up because were heading right into the center of the storm as we barrel towards the Oscars. Can the awards race even survive this level of intense scrutiny, where guilt and crimes are decided in the moment and punishment is enacted immediately, without any sort of rational perspective or due process. One after the other they fall an old tweet, something said once, something worn once, even if you just defend people who have been cancelled you too will be targeted, as I have personally found out too many times on Twitter. They rationalize it and justify it as holding people accountable for the bad things they do, as though there are people who are walking around who have never said or done or thought a bad thing.

The Golden Globes and the BAFTA and the Oscars have all been exposed, dismantled, transformed. But have they been forgiven? Are they still seen as part of the systemic racism that the Left believes is everywhere in this country, in everything and in every person? As someone, a white person, said to me on Twitter yesterday, Whiteness is evil. Well, okay, so how do you come back from that? The answer from Twitter is always do better. That is supposed to be mean choose better, think better, watch better, read better, speak better uphold the high ideals that will offer up redemption instead of persecution.

Varietys Clayton Davis has written a scathing indictment of the Golden Globes that essentially says even making the hires they plan to make isnt going to fix their problem of systemic racism. He doesnt use that term but it is very much his point.

The organization has reportedly turned down press conferences for Black-led projects like Bridgerton, Girls Trip and Queen & Slim, giving various excuses that left some filmmakers with no real chance at attention from the Golden Globes, which are a strong precursor to the Academy Awards and the Emmys. Black artists and Times Up have called for radical change within the organization, calling for accountability from NBC Universal which hosts its annual show. Over 100 publicists have sent a letter to the HFPA stating they were instructing their clients to not work with the HFPA until lasting change to eradicate the longstanding exclusionary ethos is addressed.

Its infuriating how easily the HFPA could fix the problems, but transparency is something the HFPA does not seem interested in. They seem to be only concerned with what director DuVernay recalled during her press conference for Netflixs When They See Us more came in the room when the pix were to be taken, at which time two peddled their scripts. In fact, the grip n grin ritual of having the members take pictures with stars at the end of press conferences is another antiquated ritual that should be retired.

Message for the HFPA: If you want better press, then be better press. Simple as that.

I dont disagree with Davis on his premise, that the hirings alone will not solve the problem they want solved because I dont think any film awards can meet the new standards. The reason being, you are dealing with power as the desired goal but the road getting there is about something ephemeral and subjective as our relationship to film and art. But what is the problem they want solved? What is the end goal? What is the point of any of film awards? The problem is with the members and the membership, it has been said, but what happens if they make all of those changes, add new members, do whatever is required of them to justify their annual showcase of contenders en route to Oscar and they still dont pick the right nominees? Ill never forget when I was part of the Womens Journalist Film Critics groups and they chose Argo over Zero Dark Thirty. It is not always the case that voters will comply with a political desire for change. Why, because art is, well, art. It doesnt always or necessarily follow that black members will always choose black films or black-themed films. Will that be the requirement for new members?

Missing in this conversation, and in Davis piece, is what the end result would look like. What would be an idea Golden Globes? Or BAFTA? Or Oscars?

Its a reality that for decades Hollywood sold stories that ignored oppressed and neglected groups or even mocked them. But that isnt true anymore. Our art now has been cleansed of any kind of potentially offensive content, probably to the point of making it less like art and more like a corrective guidebook for how were all supposed to be. Art is a way to expose truths in ways people cant or dont expect, but it cant really do its job if it is being monitored and disciplined for correctness at the same time.

Ralph Fiennes talks about the aspect of monitoring or policing art in a recent interview with the Telegraph:

I get worried if its decided that certain classical plays are irrelevant. I think often theres a superficial reading Restoration drama is colonialist, hierarchical, quasi racist. But theyre just plays. You can turn them on their head. The danger is of labelling stuff. These texts are there so pull the humanity out of them, pull out the stuff thats relevant. If youre going it doesnt tick these boxes, youre lowering the portcullis of judgement before youve even got into the room with it. I think thats troubling.

He praises artistic free-spirits from other disciplines citing Picasso and Henry Miller. We need to have those voices that risk being offensive. How sad if we sat on any expressive voice that could shake the scenery, that could get inside us and make us angry and turn us on. I would hate a world where the freedom of that kind of voice is stifled.

There is a very high likelihood that Fiennes will be made to apologize for having said what he actually thought instead of speaking in a way that wont offend, which is how 99% of people in the public eye speak. Or maybe no one will care. Either way, he seems to be saying what a lot of artists probably are thinking but cant say. If we cant have a conversation how can we ever reach agreement or anything?

Another piece from Persuasion talks about how the book world is changing too, called Beware of Books! A new moralism is gripping the literary world, treating grownups like children.

It starts this way:

Literature used to be a place for transgressive ideas, a place to question taboos, and seek naked insights into humanity. It no longer is.

Critics, writers and publishers are today enforcing a new vision that treats books less as a vehicle for artistic expression than as a product to be inspected for safety and wholesomeness. In the past few years, this has only gained momentum, with much of what is written about literature, old and new, becoming a series of moral pronouncements.

And it ends this way:

None of this is to say that the inequities of our time cant be addressed by other meansthrough economics and elections, through debate and compromise. But we must ask ourselves: Is this frenzy for censure, moralizing, and a seemingly endless expansion of the definition of harm, how well correct current disparities and historical wrongs? Is this how we intend to talk about art from now on? Which is to say, wed just talk politics, and hardly mention art at all.

The Oscars, the Globes, all of film awards are, for the foreseeable future, in the grips of a new moralism. There is no doubt about that. It springs from the need to be good. Goodness is the currency. But no human can be good all of the time. Sooner or later, their badness has to come out one way or another. Right now, that way is in chasing down anyone who commits a thoughtcrime, or says something offensive, or disagrees with the status quo. This is everywhere on the American Left right now, from politics to art and yes, to the Oscars.

Art has survived through phases of persecution, paranoia and great social upheaval. It survives because it has to. Humans will always need it as a way to relieve pressure, to expose hidden truths and to point out hypocrisy. I worry that so many young ones are growing up now believing they can and should police art the way they police their favorite influencers: watching everything they do to make sure it is 100% correct.

The broad prediction is that it is probably going to be a painful next two months. It will be painful in a lot of ways for a lot of different reasons, not the least of which is that so many of us are still trapped inside with only social media algorithms to bounce ideas off of.

And now, onto the reason you clicked on this link. Oscar predictions.

Predicting the Oscars is probably not going to be hard this year. The choices are limited as it is. There is a frontrunner and likely that frontrunner will carry through to the end of the season, April 25. I expect, when the Oscars are finally done, there will be a heavy sigh of relief that they (the awards community writ large) will be off the hot seat. Hopefully by this time next year we will have more than Twitter to shape our world view, our conversation, and our community.

Best Picture1. Nomadland (Globe/Critics Choice winner Picture and Director, Scripter winner, PGA/DGA nominee)2. Minari3. Promising Young Woman4. The Trial of the Chicago 75. Judas and the Black Messiah6. Mank7. Sound of Metal8. The Father

Best Director1. Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (DGA)2. David Fincher, Mank (DGA)3. Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (DGA)4. Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman (DGA)5. Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Best Actor1. Chadwick Boseman2. Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal3. Anthony Hopkins, The Father4. Steven Yeun, Minari5. Gary Oldman, Mank

Best Actress1. Andra Day, The United States v. Billie Holiday1. Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman3. Viola Davis, Ma Raineys Black Bottom4. Frances McDormand, Nomadland5. Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman

Mulligan is coming in with more nominations, Andra Day only has the one for Best Actress. But Days work is powerful enough that it could pull an upset, potentially. She won the Globe already but is not nominated for the SAG or the BAFTA. Mulligan is nominated for the SAG but not the BAFTA. So its a mess. And if it aint, itll do til the mess gets here.

Best Supporting Actor1. Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah2. Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah3. Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami4. Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 75. Paul Raci, Sound of Metal

Best Supporting Actress1. Youn Yuh-jung, Minari2. Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm3. Amanda Seyfried, Mank4. Olivia Colman, The Father5. Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy

Best Adapted Screenplay1. Nomadland2. One Night in Miami3. The White Tiger4. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm5. The Father

Best Original Screenplay1. Promising Young Woman2. The Trial of the Chicago 73. Minari4. Judas and the Black Messiah5. Sound of Metal

Best Costume Design1. Ma Raineys Black Bottom, Ann Roth2. Mank, Trish Summerville3. Emma, Alexandra Byrne4. Mulan, Bina Daigeler5. Pinocchio

Best Original Score1. Soul, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste2. Mank, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross3. Minari, Emile Mosseri4. Da 5 Bloods, Terence Blanchard5. News of the World, James Newton Howard

Best Sound1. Sound of Metal2. Soul3. Greyhound4. Mank5. News of the World

Best Film Editing1. Sound of Metal2. Nomadland3. The Trial of the Chicago 74. Promising Young Woman5. The Father

Best Cinematography1. Mank2. Nomadland3. Judas and the Black Messiah4. News of the World5. The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Makeup and Hairstyling1. Ma Raineys Black Bottom2. Mank3. Hillbilly Elegy4. Emma5. Pinocchio

Best Production Design1. Mank2. Tenet3. Ma Raineys Black Bottom4. News of the World5. The Father

Best Visual Effects*1. Tenet2. Love and Monsters3. The Midnight Sky4. Mulan, Sean Faden,5. The One and Only Ivan

*No clue. No Best Picture nominees. But Tenet is the only one with both Prod and VFX.

Best Documentary Feature1. Crip Camp2. Collective3. My Octopus Teacher4. Time5. The Mole Agent

Best Animated Feature Film1. Soul2. Wolfwalkers3. Onward4. Over the Moon5. Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Best International Feature Film1. Another Round, Denmark2. Better Days, Hong Kong3. Collective, Romania4. The Man Who Sold His Skin, Tunisia5. Quo Vadis, Aida?(Bosnia and Herzegovina

Best Documentary Short Subject1. A Love Song for Latasha2. Colette3. A Concerto Is a Conversation4. Do Not Split5. Hunger Ward

Best Animated Short Film1. If Anything Happens I Love You2. Burrow3. Opera4. Genius Loci5. Yes-People

Best Live Action Short Film1. Feeling Through2. The Letter Room3. The Present4. Two Distant Strangers5. White Eye

Best Original Song1. Speak Now, One Night in Miami2. Fight for You, Judas and the Black Messiah3. Hear My Voice, The Trial of the Chicago 74. Hsavk, Eurovision Song Contest5. Io Si, Seen, The Life Ahead

See the rest here:

Predictions Friday: The Show Must Go On - Awards Daily

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