Midday Movies: Pandemic Oscars Sees Format Shakeup And Push For Inclusivity
Speaker 1: 00:00 The 93rd Academy awards are taking place this Sunday. And the pandemic has forced the ceremony to make some changes, including moving to a later time in the year to discuss the event, as well as the slate of nominees, we had KPBS, cinema junkie, Beth OCHA, Mondo and movie Wallaces podcast, or Yazdi pathology joined midday edition. Here's that interview the golden Globes and the BAFTAs that's the equivalent of the British Oscars. I have both taken place online. Beth, what is the Academy doing to be different for its award ceremony? Speaker 2: 00:35 Well, of course the Oscars want to be different and special. So for this year's Oscar ceremony, they're doing a way with the in-person parties and kind of those events, but there will be nominees and guests in person at the traditional Dolby theater and other locations as well. And there seems to be a no sweatshirts, no PJ's rule in place for the people who do attend. And there's not going to be a host this year, but multiple presenters and the official word from the Academy is we are going to great lengths to provide a safe and enjoyable evening. And we feel the virtual thing will diminish those efforts. But the four of the five best songs will be recorded and not done live. So we'll have to see, maybe it'll be designer masks will be the thing to talk about, Speaker 1: 01:21 Oh wow, don't be jewel. Then all we shall see and Yazidi, you think these pandemic ceremonies will be entertaining enough to draw an audience. Speaker 3: 01:31 I'd hope so anytime they do something differently, there is a greater probability of things going wrong. And that makes for good entertainment. And this year filmmaker, Steven Soderbergh is one of the three main producers for the Oscar telecast. And while sort of work is not exactly renowned for being the most technically rigorous filmmaker. He more than makes up for it with his creativity. So I'm eager to see what he brings to the show and especially with the ceremony being planned to be jointly telecasts between the parking lot, outside the union train station in Los Angeles and the job, the theater, Speaker 1: 02:03 Um, and you know, the Oscars have been dealing with criticism of being too white, but this year they seem to be moving in a more diverse direction. Uh, what do you see as promising about the list of nominees Beth? Speaker 2: 02:16 So there is a marked increase in women and people of color being nominated across the board, but it's shocking to have to point out that Steven yen is the first Asian American nominated as best actor for Minari. And looking back on Oscar history, apparently they never bothered to nominate the great Japanese actor to share them a funy. And we also have Riz Ahmed for sound of metal, and he's being touted as the first Muslim and first person of Pakistani descent to be nominated in the best actor category. So they joined other actors of color that have been nominated this year. So the acting category is definitely diverse. Speaker 1: 02:52 Okay. And Yazdi that diversity also extends to the directors. What's exciting about these nominees. So let's look at the five Speaker 3: 03:00 Nominees for best director this year. So Chloe Zhao and first-time director Emerald Fennell, they're both female. And this will be the first time. Shockingly first time the two female nominees are simultaneously nominated for best director. Uh, the Isaac chunk is the third person and he's a first-generation Korean American Thomas winter. Berg is a Danish filmmaker and that leaves out David Fincher as the only white American director on the list. So it is pretty good. Speaker 1: 03:28 Yeah. And, uh, do you feel this is true progress? Speaker 2: 03:32 Well, I would say it depends on who wins. So as Yazdi pointed out, David Fincher is the only white American male there. And if he ends up winning for best director, or if let's say Anthony Hopkins wins for best actor, then this may feel more like a promotional attempt to appear more diverse. But if we see some of these diverse nominees actually win, then I do feel that progress is more genuine and is being made. Speaker 3: 03:57 Yeah, I mean, uh, for the first time it would seem that, uh, if you believe the prognosticators best actor, best female actor, best supporting the Lateran best female actor could all be individuals who make up for the Oscars. So white controversy. And I think the distinction that is often lost is that when people raise for more diversity, nobody's ever implying that diversity should Trump merit. Of course, the person who did the best job should always win period. But those are those who are raising for diversity are pushing Hollywood and the larger film industry to create content with more racial diversity and to hire acting and craft personnel who are more diverse so that we have a more balanced creative output from which to pick nominees Speaker 2: 04:41 And to follow up on what Yazdi said, Judas in the black Messiah is the first film nominated for best picture that has an all African-American producing team behind it. And I think that goes to show how diversity behind the camera can create content that is also more diverse. Speaker 1: 04:57 True. Indeed. The documentary category is one that you both feel strongly about. Beth, are you happy with the nominees there? Speaker 2: 05:05 Yes and no. So time and the collective are both incredibly good documentaries and are well worthy of being nominated, but this was a year of truly brilliant and innovative documentary. So I was a little disappointed that the more conventional and kind of emotionally pleasing documentaries, like my octopus teacher and the mole agent got nominated over what I think are more original films like Dick Johnson is dead or the truffle hunters or the one about Danny Trey hoe called inmate number one. Speaker 3: 05:36 Yeah, I agree with bet. This is a highly competitive category every year and particularly this year. And at some level I can understand why the octopus teacher and the moral agent got nominated because they have a much greater emotional impact. And folks unfortunately tend to go for sentiment or innovation. And exactly like that said, Dick Johnson's dead is so brilliant in terms of how it, you know, just, just completely reimagines the structure of a documentary. So we'll see how that plays out. Any final thoughts. Speaker 2: 06:07 Well, again, in terms of the nominations, there were a lot of smaller films that were very innovative, darker films, films, like a possessor and St. Maude. And those films are still not being recognized because I think one thing we forget about diversity, it's not merely about people of color and gender equity. It's also about the diversity of creativity that's out there. So one of the things I always want to see from the Oscars and rarely do is supporting more of those indie films that are truly daring and pushing the envelope. Speaker 3: 06:45 Fortunately, those films would shout a lot, get hurt the most and this little smaller films who have no one to shop for them, kind of get overlooked and, and, you know, my list of smaller movies this year, which definitely deserves some recognition into the nest, the 40 year old version, first cow, Palm Springs and black bear. But I take some solace in knowing that a smaller film, like the white tiger at least got a best adapted screenplay nomination. Speaker 1: 07:10 All right. I've been speaking with KPBS Sinema junkie, Beth Huck Amando and movie podcast, or Yazdi pathology. Thanks. You both. I appreciate it. Thank you.