REVIEW: CODA (2021)

Emilia Jones as ‘Ruby Rossi’ in Sian Heder’s CODA – Photo: Apple TV+.

Directed by Sian Heder – Screenplay by Sian Heder.

Whenever a film wins the Academy Awards’ Best Picture the spotlights start to assemble on top of it. People wish to poke holes in the film, call it overrated, and, in general, it suddenly has to live up to loftier expectations than it had to back when it was just a popular film. Moonlight was able to handle those spotlights, and it is still one of the previous decade’s great Best Picture winners (even though I preferred La La Land). Green Book, on the other hand, not so much.

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The 94th Oscars Ceremony was already problematic before Will Smith struck Chris Rock

A visibly-emotional Will Smith sits down after having slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Dolby Theatre – PHOTO: AMPAS, 2022.

Others may disagree but the Academy Awards ceremony — arguably Hollywood’s biggest night — is never boring to me. Some cinephiles think of it like their Super Bowl, their WrestleMania, but I don’t think anyone expected the ceremony to devolve into a contact sport as it briefly did in the Dolby Theatre at the 94th Academy Awards, when one of Hollywood’s last name-brand movie stars, the almost-always cool Will Smith, lost his temper. It was certainly one of the uglier moments in Oscar history, and it also topped what was previously the craziest moment in Oscar history.

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94th Academy Awards: Final Predictions

I get it. We’re almost in April. You’ve probably already started to think about this year’s films and whether or not films like The Batman can secure an Oscar nomination next year. But AMPAS nevertheless decided that the Oscars ceremony celebrating 2021 films was to be held this upcoming Sunday. It’s been a long awards season, and it feels like some of the original frontrunners — like The Power of the Dog — have fallen behind in the race for the biggest award of the night. Now it looks like the crowd-pleasing CODA has overtaken the spotlight from the truly cinematic Netflix flick directed by Jane Campion. In this article, I’ll give you my final predictions for the 94th Academy Awards, along with some longer explanations for the biggest categories. Hollywood’s biggest night is almost here, but who will win? Read below to find out what I think will happen.

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94th Academy Awards – Nomination Predictions – Mid-January

From Left to Right: Posters for The Power of the Dog (Netflix), Dune (Warner Bros.), West Side Story (20th Century Studios), Belfast (Focus Features / Universal).

The new year just started, and yet it feels like the first month of the year has almost come to an end. So, today, before the final major guilds (and the BAFTAs) share their film award nominations, I am ready to share my own predictions for the upcoming 94th edition of the Oscars (except for the short film categories). The recent SAG nominations really changed my thoughts on Best Actress, but they (and the BAFTA longlists) also focused my thoughts on Best Picture, which I feel pretty good about right now, even though the film I’m predicting to win may not be the most accessible film that I’m predicting to be nominated for the top award. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

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A Celebration or a Clusterfuck? My Thoughts on the 93rd Academy Awards

In honor of Thomas Vinterberg’s extremely moving acceptance speech last night, allow me to open with a reference to arguably his most famous film. There is a moment in Thomas Vinterberg’s Cannes Awards-winning Dogme-film Festen (international title: The Celebration), where the main character Christian (played by Ulrich Thomsen) asks his father, whose birthday is being celebrated, what speech he would like Christian to read for him — the green speech or the yellow speech? His father chooses the ‘green’ speech, and, as a result, the events of the unforgettable film take place. Sometimes a single decision can change everything. And, in the case of the 93rd Academy Awards’ ceremony, a decision was made that ultimately destroyed an otherwise decent ceremony.

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Who Will Win the 93rd Academy Awards? Final Predictions

In the memorable words of Billy Crystal: “It’s a wonderful night for Oscar. Oscar, Oscar. Who will win?” After a prolonged awards season, it’s finally time for the main course, the 93rd Academy Awards. This year, due to the limited studio output in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, AMPAS extended the eligibility window to include films from the first months of 2021, which is why a film such as Judas and the Black Messiah is nominated already this year.

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Reaction to the 93rd Academy Awards Nominations

The nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards were revealed a couple of days ago. As always, there were great surprises, disappointingly safe choices, and frustrating ‘snubs.’ I’ve now had some time to think about the decisions that the various branches of the Academy made, and I want to share with you a couple of thoughts that I have had over the course of the last two days or so. I’m going to talk about a couple of Oscar snubs, but, mostly, I want to talk about the Best Director-category. Or, rather, one of the nominees in that category. Continue reading “Reaction to the 93rd Academy Awards Nominations”

93rd Oscars: New Eligibility Requirements and a ‘New’ Category – Special Features #69

The coronavirus pandemic has had a serious impact on the film industry. Universal has pulled several films from their theatrical release schedule and made them available on-demand, and, allegedly, they have found a lot of success with the VOD release of Trolls World Tour. Meanwhile, we still don’t know when theaters all over the world will reopen. It could take several weeks, but it could also take several months. Your guess could be as good as mine. As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (AMPAS) Board of Governors has approved several noteworthy rule changes that, among other things, change which films are eligible for the 93rd Academy Awards. Continue reading “93rd Oscars: New Eligibility Requirements and a ‘New’ Category – Special Features #69”

Early 93rd Academy Awards Predictions – Special Features #63

I really enjoyed doing this for the last two years, so it’s happening again! It has become a tradition of mine. The 92nd Academy Awards ceremony was only just held a few days ago, and I’ve only seen, like, a handful of films from 2020 at this point. I think I have a pretty good idea of what is coming out this year, though. So, without further ado, let’s get to it. Continue reading “Early 93rd Academy Awards Predictions – Special Features #63”

Parasite Won Best Picture and Made History – Special Features #62

What happened at the 92nd Academy Awards was incredible. Just ask most Oscar experts and they will agree. This was, based on statistics and precursor awards results, supposed to be Sam Mendes’ and 1917‘s night. Though I desperately wanted Parasite to win all of the night’s biggest awards, my head was telling me no. Therefore, in my final predictions, I went with the safe bet and said 1917 would win Best Director and Best Picture. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong about an Oscar-prediction. In the end, the latest South Korean masterpiece — Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite — won the night’s two biggest awards (as well as two other prestigious golden statuettes). The Academy made the right choice. This time, in my opinion, the Best Picture winner is actually the best film of the year. The Academy finally got it right, as they say. Continue reading “Parasite Won Best Picture and Made History – Special Features #62”