Remember the chaos in 2017 when the Oscars announced that “La La Land” had won Best Picture only for it to be revealed the envelopes had been switched and “Moonlight” was the real winner? Well, the 2021 Oscars seemed to take that as a challenge by reorganizing the award order, giving out gift bags containing NFTs in memoriam of Chadwick Boseman and having an anti-Zoom rule.
Saving the best for last?
Instead of ending with Best Picture, as usual, the Oscars this year ended with Best Actor. Why? The idea was it would be part of a larger in memoriam moment for Chadwick Boseman, who tragically died this past August from colon cancer. However, in one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history, Anthony Hopkins received the award for his role in “The Father” rather than Chadwick Boseman for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
The producers responded that this was a ‘calculated risk’ as many expected Chadwick Boseman to win. Some people felt that it was incredibly disrespectful to structure the entire award ceremony around him receiving Best Actor, only for someone else to win.
Chadwick Boseman’s family has issued a statement saying an “Oscar would have been an achievement but was never an obsession” for Chadwick Boseman and wishing Anthony Hopkins the best.
NFTs in goody bags
Further controversy surrounds the decision to give all nominees NFTs of a piece of artwork depicting Chadwick Boseman. One of the main concerns is the impression that the Oscars are capitalizing on his tragic death through commodification.
While the artist, Andrea Oshea, is donating 50% of his NFT sales to the Colon Cancer Foundation, even more controversy surrounds these digital images. Online sleuths have uncovered the 3D model for the head is from a royalty-free license available on CGTrader for $50. This discovery has resulted in Oshea issuing a statement describing this experience as “a huge learning experience” and announcing that the NFT will be redesigned.
No Zooming into the Oscars
Anthony Hopkins, an 83-year-old actor, was at home in the Welsh countryside during the Oscars. He offered to Zoom into the award ceremony, but the Oscars had a firm no video conferencing stance this year. The only option was to attend the ceremony in person at the main location or designated satellite locations worldwide. This made the Best Actor award moment even more chaotic as there was no acceptance speech or proxy acceptance. Anthony Hopkins accepted the award via a social media video from the Welsh countryside, in which he paid tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
The future of the Oscars
So what does this mean for the future of the Oscars? What can we learn from its repeated chaos? We may learn not to make big decisions based on unknown factors, such as the outcome of a big award. Instead, plan with room for different outcomes so you can avoid embarrassing and problematic situations if things don’t go as planned. We’ll have to wait for next year, but hopefully, we’ll see fewer of these types of mistakes going forward.
*** Philip Calabro contributed to this article.