The big question at the Oscars last year was whether Hollywood recognized the new ‘status quo’ imposed by internet platforms. In the end, ‘Roma’ had to settle for three statuettes for Alfonso Cuarón, photography and the non-English language film category (best international film in its new meaning). The jackpot of the night went to ‘Green Book’, a pleasant trifle that we have all already forgotten.
This year Netflix is once again the protagonist by becoming the studio with the most nominations (24) and two feature films among the nine candidates for best film. Better said, two movies like ‘The Irishman’ and ‘Marriage Story’. In the first, Martin Scorsese concludes his portrait of the gangsters who have populated his cinema by revealing their cruelty and pathos, without an iota of glamour, in a twilight masterpiece that no ‘major’ wanted to produce; in the second, Noah Baumbach signs the ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ of our generation and documents the disintegration of a couple with a tone that jumps from comedy to drama as only a few directors can achieve.
However, neither ‘The Irishman’ nor ‘Marriage Story’, despite the nominations they garner, are favorites in the awards being presented tonight at the Dolby Theater (start of the ceremony at 2 in the morning, Spanish time, on Movistar Plus). The great paradox is that the Hollywood Academy still does not dare to award the Oscar to a film that has not been in theaters (and if it has done so it is in a purely testimonial manner), even though it recognizes the merits of a film like the by Baumbach, which in another era would have hardly had any viewers and has now been seen by millions around the world when it appears on Netflix’s schedule.
Another paradox. All day long we talk about streaming, and American theaters break box office records. Four of the nine best picture nominees had grossed more than $100 million when the nominations were announced: ‘Joker’, ‘Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood’, ‘Le Mans ’66’ and ‘Little Women’. It also went like a shot ‘1917’which waited to receive the Golden Globe for best drama to be released massively in theaters.
The triumph at the British Bafta of this immersive experience in World War I shot in a single (false) sequence shot, in the manner of a video game, placed the film as Sam Mendes as a probable winner tonight. ‘1917’ has dazzled audiences around the world and performed wonderfully at the box office: in Spain, it started as number one and is approaching one million viewers. The absence of a political or historical discourse ensures that, with the permission of the Germans, no one bothers in this dizzying tracking shot through the mud and blood of the trenches.
A controversial tweet
‘1917’ was, therefore, the clear favorite… until a tweet from the Hollywood Academy published shortly before voting closed last Tuesday caused confusion. Under the title ‘My Oscar predictions’, the official account with almost 3 and a half million followers gave ‘Parasites’ as the winner for best film, Sam Mendes best director, Joaquin Phoenix best actor for ‘Joker’ and Renée Zellweger best actress for playing Judy Garland in ‘Judy’. The institution was quick to delete the tweet and claimed that everything had been a mistake, but many already think that the “prediction” is the definitive result of the awards.
That ‘Parasites’ won the Oscar for best film is not so far-fetched, despite the fact that only twelve films in a language other than English have been nominated in that category over 92 editions and none have achieved it. The South Korean Bong Joon-ho has captivated viewers who have never seen a film of this cinematography with a satire on the class struggle in their country that jumps from dark comedy to drama, terror and even disaster cinema.
‘Parasites’ is a surprising film that has been accumulating awards that a Korean film had never received and that aspires to six Oscars. It was assumed that the foreign film category was his, in contention with Pedro Almodóvar who cannot dream of obtaining the 33 million dollars that Bong Joon-ho has grossed in the United States. If the controversial tweet comes true, we will only have to congratulate ourselves because ‘Pain and glory’ triumph and its director collects his third Oscar after those won for ‘All About My Mother’ in 1999 in that same category and the script for ‘Hable con ella’ in 2003.
Antonio Banderas, the first Spaniard nominated for the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the Tony and the Emmy, has a very difficult time facing Joaquin Phoenix, the irresistible winner of all film events thanks to ‘Joker’. The second highest-grossing film in the US after ‘The Lion King’ may be too subversive for academics, who will view ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ with better eyes. Quentin Tarantino has gone from being a rebellious boy to becoming a defender of a conception of cinema that is in danger with the emergence of platforms. Reclaim the free and wild cinema that Hollywood took over in the late 60s and early 70splaying with something as gruesome as the murder of Sharon Tate, is a statement of principles.
The third Spanish joy comes from the hand of ‘Klaus’, which will try to snatch the animation Oscar from Pixar-Disney itself and ‘Toy Story 4’. Its director, the Madrid native Sergio Pabloswhich conceived the original idea for ‘Despicable Me’, has produced in Madrid this dazzling Christmas story starring a postman sent to an inhospitable town that Netflix has released worldwide.
The death of Kirk Douglas will undoubtedly mark a gala that will once again do without a presenter after in 2019 the comedian Kevin Hart resigned from being master of ceremonies after the publication of some homophobic tweets.