Having grown up in Hollywood and by that, I mean I arrived on the scene in 1981 out of Northern California at an incredibly young age. The Oscars then made you want to join the, I was born to be a star. And the, there is something I want to be involved with a movement of other irrationals and star gazers who moved here about the same time. There are many who came and left. I stayed. The Oscars historically and from time to time has found a home in many locations. Founded by Louis C. Mayer founder of MGM as a non-profit the first Oscar was handed out in Banquet style, in the Blossom Room at the Hollywood Hotel. With an attendance of 297 and movies had just begun to talk. A room full of people who had lots to say. Douglas Fairbanks handed the statuettes out. The announcements were made to the public three months in advance ahead of the televised event. The drama we have now. Then. Not so. It was a day and evening of excitement. Glitter. Glamour. Drugs and I’m sure the sex, unimaginable after a win. It’s the time when the movies were at their very best and film was the ultimate seduction.
They gave the results to media outlets and newspaper publications at 11:00PM on the night of the Awards. That changed to the dislike of the Academy when the LA Times broke the mold in 1940 after announcing the winning achievements in its evening edition and made the information readily available to guest upon their arrival. That’s how the sealed envelope idea came about. The envelope has been in effect since then. The Oscars were so popular that the local Los Angeles radio stations announced live from the event for one-hour.
In my learning about industry with a long broom and an even broader sweep; is that in having a conversation with the emerging to the once we were greats; each time, I am always left with the feeling of what just happened. Did this conversation really happen or was I sitting in a bowl chocked full of delusion? They divided the press dissemination this year into two distinctive parts. The traditional walk the Red and Zoom rooms. We received alerts a few weeks in advance. Additional and security driven press information that was hush until the Academy Press office said so. It truly is an enormous amount of work for a one nighter. The link on the Zoom room opened promptly at 2:00PM as discussed. After four–six hours of sitting in the rooms and without the full-blown Red-Carpet experience it felt more like Zooming out from a prison than seeing a carpet rolled out. First if you moved you could miss raising your hand and getting called upon to ask a question to the winner (s) of the evening. Second the rules of engagement were to stay in the box and have yourself muted until asked to unmute. Oh, and only unmute when you are told and only if you’re called out of the around 445 other reporters and journalists. So, there I am sitting there thinking and unless they are psychic who tells the others in charge who and how to pick? And how can those journalists who really need the work guarantee that they did not have to turn down a paying gig high or low just to have the smug privilege of sitting in a box at the Oscars?
It’s demoralizing in some ways that a valuable evening wasted sitting in a Zoom box that was visibly labeled, “I’m raising my hand but don’t call me”. Insulting enough were the different colored hand icons that showed from your box just in case you wanted to wear your appropriate color or ethnicity for the day. I mean I’m proud and all of my culture but please, do I have to be reminded constantly of my color which I most happily get to see every day, for the rest of my life. No one has to say or act racist. The hands of various shades could very well mean that they may not call you based on the color of the little hand or something more subtle, they just don’t like the way you look or your vibe.
Truth be told, everyone was trying awfully hard to stand tall to support each other. A wonderful show of diversity but not as diverse in the dissemination of who talked to whom. They locked a full view full of distorted images including mine inside of the Zoom box although it was good to see and hear from global places. They called foreign reporters. If you could have seen the faces, including mine which spoke volumes of, how can I do a job, if there is nothing to do? I’m uncertain if no one is thinking or if everyone is still figuring it all out. In a city of 11 million one would think that there would be enough for all to do. Unlike some I have been to many red carpets and they are grueling on both the body and mind. If your ego is involved, lose it at the door. Nobody cares what you think or how you feel. Unless you are a celebrity or a huge influencer, numbers or not some may not care then. Then there is the cancel culture? Where did they come from and how long should we expect to have them here on this planet?
If you like the less glitz approach and more real, that’s cool. Happy clap in honor of Union Station stepping up to host the show. If you have never gone to Union Station, it is an extremely well laid out replica of what LA can be and often is for those who visit, a great metropolitan city. Stocked in this, that, and otherwise that’s what makes us and we can do that. That makes LA different we can do that Unlike New York we do have an accountable amount of space and we can do that. Transform a train station into a room full of shine.
Given time, the city may indeed become the sophisticate that it should. Union Station is right off the freeway. There were not thousands of cars fumbling over on a too crowded street. Driving in slow traffic for hours on the real Hollywood, Sunset boulevard. Hanging out the window letting the moonshine on the young behinds of many label advantage deals. A not too long-ago memory of a car filled with drunken and full of marijuana dust from the night before. It was surreal.
Then there is the age thing that we endure here. I know it’s silly because more young people are dying than ever before. So should it really matter how old someone is unless they are mentally unstable. Physically and visibly sick, feeble or dead. An idea would be to have local journalists bring the live broadcast news to their local area much like radio did back in the day when bringing the DJ’s straight into the record stores in the heart of their communities was so authentic it was sick, for real.
My personal favorites were Yuh-Yung-Jung and Tyler Perry. A mature woman like that winning. She was elegant. Sexy even. Up on her information and as she said she worked hard to make the money. Her expression of her not wanting to work not for the money but for the love of craft and family is what it’s all about. When maturity comes and trust if you are one so fortunate to last it will come. I would say that looking at it from Yuh-Yung-Jung’s eyes. The glass ceiling looks damn high. Tyler’s Humanitarian Award speech touched I’m certain, many more hearts than just mine. It gave a familiar call to arms and lets all stay together under the same sun and on the same earth.
Although it wasn’t like it used to be and what it could have been, it was still the Oscars. Some stars wanted to shine brighter than others. Some stars didn’t mind not shining at all as they have shined for many Oscars before this 93rd one. Covid-19 effect on Los Angeles inclusive of Hollywood is not a joke is an understatement. My coming from the semi-older version of Hollywood to the cookie cutter version, now showing at your local Zoom room is an enlightening experience.
Some were hoping the Best supporting actor award would have gone to Chadwick Boseman who will always be King and Wakanda Forever. However, in true Hollywood fashion, out of left field the list below is what the Wood had to say from inside the paper walls of the sealed envelope. And that’s a rap.
Best Picture Best Actress
Nomadland Frances McDormand Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producer
Music (Original Song)-(Original Score)“Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah
Soul -Trent Reznor,Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas
Film Editing Cinematography
Mank Sound of Metal
Erik Messerschmidt Mikkel E. G. Nielsen
Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale
Actress in a Supporting Role
Actor in a Supporting Role
Judas and the Black Messiah
Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher
Documentary Feature Documentary Short Subject
Colette My Octopus Teacher
Anthony Giacchino & Alice Doyard Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster
Animated Feature Film Animated Short Film
Soul If Anything Happens I Love You
Pete Docter and Dana Murray Will McCormack and Michael Govier
Live Action Short Film
Two Distant Strangers
Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe
Sound of Metal
Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh
Directing Costume Design
Nomadland Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chloé Zhao Ann Roth
Makeup and Hairstyling
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson
International Feature Film
Having grown up