Oscars recognize diverse artists, but broadcast struggles

Chloé Zhao, (pictured above) won best directing for Nomadland at this years Oscars.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Chloé Zhao, (pictured above) won best directing for Nomadland at this years Oscars.

Leila Usanovic, Staff Writer

The 93rd Oscars had some of the most diverse nominees and wins in Hollywood history, but the broadcast itself suffered from the pandemic restrictions producers had to put in place. 

This year’s lineup consisted of many phenomenal films and outstanding actors and directors — many of whom were people of color.

One of the biggest winners of the night was Chloé Zhao, who won the best director award for her film Nomadland. She is the second woman to win the directing award and the first woman of color to do so.

Her film ended up winning some of the most prominent categories, including best picture and best actress, which went to Frances McDormand for her leading role in the film.

Best costume design and best makeup and hairstyling were won by Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, who won makeup and hairstyling along with Sergio Lopez-Rivera, are the first black women to win in that category. Ann Roth’s costuming win made her the oldest woman to ever win an Oscar.

Yuh-Jung Youn is the first Korean woman to win best supporting actress. She won for her role as Soonja in Minari. Her witty speech was one of the more memorable ones of the night.

Many topical issues were addressed in the winning speeches, tackling the issues of gun violence and police brutality.

One notable speech was given by Kevin Durant and Mike Conley, the executive producers for the Oscar-winning short, Two Distant Strangers. They took time to acknowledge the current adversity and brutality that disproportionately affects black people and called for people everywhere to not be indifferent to their pain.

On the other hand, the winner of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, Tyler Perry, gave a controversial speech. He tackled popular topics of the night, including oppression and identity-based violence. While he called for people to refuse hate, many took to Twitter to express their disappointment with him mentioning police officers while talking about oppressed groups. 

Though many of the speeches were moving and handled the issues with respect, there were many instances where the speeches felt as if they were going on too long, which diminished the viewing experience.

Though many of the speeches were moving and handled the issues with respect, there were many instances where the speeches felt as if they were going on too long, which diminished the viewing experience.”

The 93rd Oscars also had issues with the format of the show. Instead of the typical previews shown when announcing the nominees, the producers decided to pan to where the nominees were sitting. This change led to an uncomfortable mood and made the show more boring overall. 

Though they decided to get rid of the previews, certain categories, such as best international film and best song, had short previews displaying what the movie had to offer. This led to the ceremony feeling quite thrown together, as if the producers did not have enough time to create previews for all of the categories. 

Another strange change was making Best Picture third to last instead of last. This led to Best Actor being presented last. Many viewers were not happy with this change, especially considering the fact that it is arguably the most anticipated award. 

Many fans thought this change would lead to Chadwick Boseman, who passed away last year, winning best actor. It was assumed that they would end with a tribute to him when he won.

This did not happen. Instead, Anthony Hopkins won for his role in The Father. The show abruptly ended, since he was not present for the ceremony and did not have anyone speaking on his behalf. 

While there were many changes to the typical Oscar format that made it less enjoyable, the award presenters managed to find the perfect balance between comedy and seriousness while presenting.

Presenters such as Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Brad Pitt, and Riz Ahmed were able to incorporate jokes while listing the nominees, which was well needed for a ceremony lacking a host and entertainment overall.

Every year, the fashion on the red carpet is filled with elusive garments and dazzling styles. Even though the pandemic dampered many spirits, it obviously did not affect the level of effort the nominees and their entourages put into their looks.

The 93rd Academy Awards were not a complete flop, but they were nothing to write home about. It is unfortunate that a year full of diverse nominees and wins had to be overshined by sloppy formatting.