Los Angeles (USA), Apr 17 (EFE) .- Goodbye to theaters, but only for a while. The Hollywood Academy a year ago joined the feelings of millions of moviegoers and exceptionally suppressed the sacred requirement of its regulation, the mandatory theatrical release, to celebrate Oscars in completely different circumstances.
Many of the films that will compete next week have not hit theaters or have done so anecdotally. But the absence of major premieres has also meant that two independent productions, “Nomadland” and “Minari”, appear as big favorites and that for the first time two directors compete for the prized statuette.
“Without events, this could be the purest awards season. Also the strangest,” anticipated Dave Karger, a veteran host of the cinephile channel TCM, to The Washington Post.
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The closing of the cinemas altered the calendar with two very different responses: The large studios decided to save their blockbusters for a better time, while the small films and without great commercial expectations found a way to reach the public during the confinement on television.
Thus, premieres such as the new James Bond installment “No Time to Die”, “Ghostbusters: Beyond”, “Top Gun: Maverick”, “Jungle Cruise” and the musical “In a New York neighborhood” were postponed until 2021 .
To the list of postponements were added titles that, by genre or by prestige, were even more likely to receive the applause of the Oscars, among which are the new “Dune”, by Denis Villeneuve, or “The French Chronicle”, by Wes Anderson, as well as the updated version of “West Side Story” by Steven Spielberg.
The void left by all these films contrasted with an audience that, confined to home, had one of its few forms of entertainment in the cinema and on television.
That explains how “Minari,” a film that simulates the arrival of a Korean family in the US, has gradually gained attention to become one of the great titles of awards season.
The case of “Nomadland”, the great favorite of 2021, is not far off. Rarely does an independent film, with a slow pace and with a political background about the abandonment of the elderly in the American economic system, achieve so many headlines.
Its director, Chloé Zhao, has suddenly achieved four nominations for best film, direction, screenplay and editing. The first woman to do it.
Something similar happens with other contenders: “Sound of Metal” is a journey, almost experimental, through the anguish of a drummer who loses the ability to hear; “The Father”, a French-British co-production, shows the cognitive deterioration of an old man and “A promising young woman” is a thriller with shades of black comedy about structural machismo.
Some of these titles may have crept into the nominations during a typical year, but others might have been dwarfed by the red carpet spotlights, franchises, and big names in the industry.
“With silent campaigns, no events and few exchanges of views, the possibility of building consensus has vanished and voters are left with what they really think,” tweeted Matthew Belloni, former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, after the announcement of the Golden Globes. .
And that change leaves as a curiosity that Netflix is responsible for the two most obvious candidates: “The Chicago 7 trial” and “Mank” when other years it signed the less commercial nominations, such as “Rome” or “History of a marriage. “.
MORE INDEPEDIENT FILM AND DIVERSITY IN NOMINATIONS
The absence of household names has also led to a milestone that was yet to come: For the first time in the 93 years of the Oscars, two female directors will compete for the best director award, Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell.
In almost a century of editions, only five women had received a nomination in this category, with Kathryn Bigelow the only winner for “In Hostile Land” in 2010.
And it seems that among the winners diversity will triumph.
Last year the winners of the Hollywood Actors Guild Awards (SAG Awards) – Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt, Joaquin Phoenix and Laura Dern – repeated at the Oscars. All of them Hollywood heavyweights.
In the 2021 edition, Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman (“The mother of blues”), Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the black messiah”) and Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”) were the winners. For the first time, the awards fell to African-American and Asian performers.
The need for the Academy to show its commitment to diversity and an altered season of premieres could lead to a repeat of that record, although the pools are not so clear in this section. Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) and Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) would also be recipients of the award.
The final result of all this earthquake will be known on Sunday, three months later than usual and with a gala that, to continue with the changes, will move from the mythical Dolby Theater in Hollywood to Union Station, the central station of Los Angeles. and headquarters of the Oscars of the pandemic.