April 26, 2021

"The Academy believes in the movies so much, they made Best Picture the third-to-last category of the night ('Nomadland' won). The producers clearly assumed..."

"... the late Chadwick Boseman would win Best Actor, the final award presented, and it would be moving and historic. Well, he didn’t. The night ended without a winner’s speech from Anthony Hopkins ('The Father'). Imbeciles."

From "Oscars 2021 tortured viewers for more than 3 unbearable hours" by Johnny Oleksinski (NY Post). 

I used to follow the Oscars very closely. Used to simul-blog the whole show. But now I just assume it will be 3+ unbearable hours and don't even try to watch. So that NY Post headline jumped out at me. Even though it's not exciting. It's what we expect from the Oscars. Maybe we shouldn't say "tortured" like that. Torture is a serious matter in this world, and no one in the "viewers" category was victimized in any way, other than by their own failure to snap off the screen or — for those truly sapped of vigor — move on to another channel.

Anyway, the Oscars felt so predictable that they switched up the usual order of things and gave the Best Picture award before the 2 main acting awards. But then the one unpredictable thing that happened was the last award going to Anthony Hopkins, the elderly British white man, instead of to Chadwick Boseman, the American black man who died at the age of 43. 

And Hopkins wasn't there to accept the award. Not that Boseman could have been there, but the person accepting for Boseman would have been well-chosen and well-prepared to install the right thoughts and emotions in our head. No one was designated to accept for Hopkins on the off chance that he'd win, so the presenter of the award, just said thank you and winced an awkward smile: 

That's Joaquin Phoenix. I guess that means he won Best Actor last year. What did he win for? Had to look it up: "The Joker." Remember when that was a big deal? Remember that other time an actor played the Joker and won an Oscar? Heath Ledger. He played the Joker, then died, then won the Oscar.

You know, it's very sad that Chadwick Boseman died, but it is better that those who make decisions stick squarely to merit. It's an award for acting, not for dying. The movies make us feel, and death makes us feel, but those who vote on awards shouldn't give an acting award for things a person did that made us feel. 

Perhaps Boseman did deserve the Oscar. It's possible that the presumption — the presumption based on death (and race) — was so overplayed that Academy voters reacted and gave it to Hopkins.

Hopkins is a fine old actor, and here he is, getting around to thanking the Academy and giving a tribute to Boseman:

ADDED:  Someone emailed to tell me it's "Joker," not "The Joker." I feel the faint echo of things that felt important in the fall of 2019. Part of me is just annoyed, on the verge of derisive, like when people insist that you not call Ohio State Ohio State but The Ohio State. Because my name is Ann — pronounced the same as "an" — I'm rather sensitive to this matter. Why am I "an" Althouse instead of The Althouse? I guess the Joker in "Joker" was not the definite article, the definitive Joker, but just one of the man jokers out there. Is that what it mean, the leaving off of the "the"? 

I looked it up. Here's "It’s Just Joker, Not The Joker" (Vulture):

Joker is a movie about jokes and loneliness and jokes about loneliness, but it’s also about the absence of a certain “the.” So Vulture has put together a handy photo-essay guide to the name of the movie’s main character. Call him by his name — Joker — and hope he doesn’t call you anything at all.
The idea seems to be that his name is Joker. You don't put an article — definite or indefinite — in front of a proper name. I thought I was going to find a more philosophical answer to my question.