2021 Oscars: Most Memorable Moments

The 93rd Oscars happened last weekend, and it was a wild ride. For those of you who didn’t watch (either because you didn’t have three spare hours on a Sunday night, or because you didn’t want to pay the outrageous cost for YoutubeTV, HuluLive, or another $69.99 service), do not fear. As a seasoned Oscars watcher, I would like to present my top five most memorable moments, the good, the bad, and the downright weird. 

5. Daniel Kaluuya mentioning his parents having sex in his acceptance speech. 

Many expected Kaluuya to win for his fantastic performance in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” and when he did, he gave a beautiful speech on what the role meant to him. However, he ended his speech with “We’re enjoying ourselves tonight … We’ve got to celebrate life, man. We’re breathing, we’re walking, it’s incredible. It’s incredible, like, it’s incredible. My mum and my dad, they had sex, it’s amazing, do you know what I’m saying? Like, I’m here.” The cameras then panned to his very confused mother and embarrassed sister. It was an unexpectedly hilarious twist. 

Shout out to Youn Yuh-Jung for another memorable acceptance speech

4. The new location and lack of orchestra 

The Oscars moved from their normal location of the Dolby Theater to Los Angeles’s Union Station. There was a pared down attendance list, with only a select few making the guest list, and the event did not have a formal orchestra. Perhaps the biggest difference, besides the obvious visual ones, was Questlove DJing. It led to a much fresher  playlist of songs , and no one was played off stage during longer speeches. I, for one, was a big fan, because Questlove’s music choices were way more fun and upbeat than a stuffy orchestra. I also think playing people offstage as they celebrate what is a massive accomplishment is rude and unnecessary. Let the people have their moment!

3. The lack of comedy bits, movie clips, and music

Generally, even in this hostless Oscars era, someone has opened with a traditional monologue in which they gently (or not so gently) roast the nominees. This year, the show opened instead with the fabulous Regina King listing facts about the nominees and the year in film. The rest of the show followed in a similar very sincere fashion, with very few of the normal comedy bits, except for Glenn Close dancing to “Da Butt”.While an iconic moment, it stood alone in what was otherwise a very serious, heartfelt event that has in the past featured comedic bits such as delivering pizzas to the audience, magic tricks, multiple costume changes, and more.

There was another departure in the tone — there were no movie clips. Normally, for all acting awards, clips of the performances are played, and each Best Picture nominee is individually introduced by their trailers. This was not the case with the exception of a brief clip before the Best Picture award. Some were fans, some hated it. I feel a little mixed. It would have been nice to learn more about the movies I knew nothing about, but I do feel like the trailers can drag the show.

Lastly, there were no music performances. Usually a few, if not all, Best Song nominees perform. Instead, they were relegated to a pre-show performance. This was a massive mistake, as the songs are often the best part of the ceremony and help break up three hours of talking. BRING THEM BACK NEXT YEAR PLEASE!

2. The Best Actress award

I did not expect Frances McDormand to win. I’m not sure who I thought would win. And for sure she gave an amazing performance. It just was a surprise to me and many Oscar predictions. 

1.The Best Actor award.

Oh boy, this was bad. The Oscars took a big bet by moving the Best Picture award, traditionally last, to the middle of the night. They ended with the Best Actor award with many expected to be awarded to the late Chadwick Boseman for his performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” By moving the Best Actor award to last, the producers assumed he would win and they could pay tribute. Instead, Anthony Hopkins — who wasn’t even there — won, and the show was abruptly ended by presenter Joaquin Phoenix. It was utter chaos. 

Combined with the very short in memoriam, many felt this was ultimately disrespectful to Boseman’s memory and that the Oscars were using him for attention without actually honoring him. While Hopkins, who is the oldest Oscar winner ever, accepted his award the next day, the damage had already been done, and this might go down in history as the worst Oscars ending ever. I didn’t think they could top the Moonlight-La La Land mix up, but somehow, they did. 

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