DECRYPTION – Ultra-favorite until recently, The Power Of The Dog could get outdone by CODAthe remake of The Aries Family.
Will the Americans be back in front of their screens to admire the winners, this Sunday evening in Los Angeles, of the 94th Academy Awards? Nothing is less sure. But for those who attempt this long crossing of sequins, statuettes and speeches of thanks broadcast in France on Canal + from 2 am, they will undoubtedly see a new page of the seventh art being written before their eyes. Both in terms of scenography and awards. The 2022 Oscars are the most unpredictable since the mid-2010s and the night that lives Moonlight triumph over La La Land . The Academy of Oscars has so diversified and internationalized its ranks to respond to accusations of racism and discrimination that none of the prior ceremonies, long considered heralding, is able to predict the winners of the queen categories: best picture, Best Direction and Best Actress.
The Power Of The Doga hare who tires in front of the tortoise CODA
Launched this fall at the Mostra, Jane Campion’s western, with Benedict Cumberbatch, seemed irretrievable. Arrived at the top of the Oscars with 12 nominations, this portrait of a virile cowboy repressing his homosexuality took control of the Critic Choice Awards, the English equivalent of the Oscars, the Bafta and the directors’ guild. But the machine jammed in the home straight. The Power Of The Dog broke his teeth on the remontada of Tom Thumb from Sundance, CODA . The American remake of The Aries Family, which relies on deaf and hard of hearing actors unlike the original, won the Actors Guild Best Cast Award and the Producers Guild Grand Prize.
This trophy uses the same preferential voting system as that of the Best Picture Oscar. In order of preference, the nearly 10,000 members of the Academy of Oscars with the right to vote are led to classify the ten films in the running. Does not necessarily win the feature film that has won the most votes in first position. The ballot favors the work with the best average. Off the Sympathy Coast of CODA, film praising the family and living it together, is immense. Its actors Marlee Matlin, Oscar winner more than thirty years ago for The Children of Silence, and Troy Kotsur, likely Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, symbolize the relentless struggle of deaf talent to break into Hollywood and represent the richness of sign language. Yes CODA won the Best Picture Oscar, it would be a historic day for the representation of people with disabilities.
“The last two years have been very difficult for everyone. CODA is positive, comforting. I believe voters are in the mood to feel good,” emphasizes in his analyzes the specialist in variety Clayton Davis. Its counterpart of HollywoodReportercolumnist Scott Feinberg repeats the same thing in his papers: “While many have sung the praises of Jane Campion’s film, the film has displeased others, who criticize it in particular for its clinical coldness and its lack of emotion. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea”.
The trophy for best film finally for a platform?
Assuming the game is played between CODA distributed by Apple TV+ and The Power Of The Dog the jewel of Netflix, the winner will be the first online content platform to win this coveted trophy.
Netflix has been chasing since its debut in 2018 with Rome, the black and white childhood memories of Alfonso Cuaron. If the members of the Academy are still as reluctant to dub productions that do not bet on dark rooms, they could fall back on another story of youth in black and white, in the running for seven statuettes: Belfast of Kenneth Branagh. This vision of the Northern Irish Community Troubles at the height of a child, rewarded with the public prize in Toronto, has poetry and tenderness to spare to get out of the game of the preferential ballot.
The Unknown for Best Actress
None of the precursor ceremonies named or designated the same actresses. The Golden Globes chose Nicole Kidman who played cathodic legend Lucille Ball in Being The Ricardos. The Actors Guild and Critics Choice Awards have crowned Jessica Chastain unrecognizable as a televangelist in Tammy Fayes eyes. The Bafta dubbed a 100% British choice Joana Scanlan.
Could everything be possible? Jessica Chastain, who has always come back empty-handed until now, has a slight advantage over Nicole Kidman and Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), already Oscar winners. The transformation of Kristen Stewart into Lady Di in spencer is prodigious but divisive. Several voters interviewed on condition of anonymity by variety and The Hollywood Reporter announced to vote Penelope Cruz in contention with the Spanish melodrama Parallel Mothers by Pedro Almodóvar.
Steven Spielberg in the shadow of Jane Campion
New Zealand filmmaker The Piano Lesson and The Power Of The Dog should, if we are to believe the intermediate ceremonies, add to its shelf the Oscar for best direction. But the confidences of several voters showed an increase in Steven Spielberg for his creativity and fluidity of his camera in his remake of the cult musical West Side Story. As such, the best adaptation category will be a cut-throat between Dunes by Denis Villeneuve CODA by Sian Heder West Side Story and The Power Of The Dog.
Still some certainties
Among the actors, the big favorite is the always very popular Will Smithwho plays the self-centered father and demiurge of champions Serena and Venus in The Williams Method. He has always beaten his direct rivals Benedict Cumberbatch hands down. (The Power Of The Dog) and Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick… Boom!). Being nominated already seems like a reward in itself for Denzel Washington (macbeth) and Javier Bardem (Being The Ricardos).
In supporting roles, Ariana DeBosetwirling in West Side Story, left nothing to his opponents. revelation of CODA, Troy Kotsur, holds the rope for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The deaf actor, who plays the loving but sometimes helpless father of a hearing teenager, has been a hit in the various film awards this season.
In absolute number of Oscarsit’s space opera Dunes who should be the winner on Sunday evening thanks to his nominations in multiple technical categories, from photography to sound and special effects.
The pampered TikTok generation
After two years of health restrictions, the Oscars ceremony returns to its traditional Dolby Theater on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The organizers and the ABC broadcaster hope that they will find at the same time their audience, in freefall. The 2021 edition had only attracted 10 million viewers, a 56% drop compared to the previous year which had already recorded its lowest level in history.
To attract young fans of action films and superheroes, the organizers launched this year a “fan prize”, called to vote on social networks. The Academy, which reserves a surprise with the presenters of the Oscar for the best film, also invited influencers very popular at the ceremony for them to create content. More controversial measure, organizers decided to hand out a handful of technical awards before the start of the broadcast during red carpet coverage. The goal: to make the show more dynamic. The presentation of the prizes to the winners will be recorded and slipped live.
queen of pop Beyonce and his young runner-up Billie Eilish will also come fishing for viewers. One from a tennis court and the other on the Oscars stage. They are respectively in the running for their song of The Williams Method and the latest James Bond Dying can wait.
The Academy has promised a joyful and festive ceremony but a moment will be set aside to discuss the war in Ukraine. Will we see, as proposed by one of the mistresses of the ceremony, the president and former actor Volodymyr Zelensky appear on the screen? To be continued.
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