Steven Soderbergh, pandemic guru, molds an Oscars show for 2021

There’s been a significant uptick in gratuitous hullabaloo surrounding the 2021 Oscars show and production. What will it look like, ponder the celebritariat with oodles of smart earnestness.  In its pandemic incarnation, there is much mystery about the show’s structure and the cutting to different locations (over 20) via satellite link due to the producers’ decision to eschew Zoom calls for offsite celebs to ungraciously accept their participation awards.

Many of the details of the ceremony have been shrouded in mystery by the show’s organizers: longtime film producer Stacey Sher (whose credits include many of Quentin Tarantino’s films), veteran TV producer Jesse Collins (who, among other things, has produced many Grammys and BET Awards ceremonies), and Steven Soderbergh (whose reputation as an innovative filmmaker led to his recent appointment to lead the Directors Guild’s Covid-safe production committee).

But what they have said to tease the Oscars — though cryptic — is also intriguing, at least to those of us who are used to standard-issue awards ceremonies.

“In terms of its visual approach, its cutting patterns, the way it sounds, everything is going to feel more like a film,” Soderbergh told the LA Times. “We’re shooting at 24 frames per second, we’re using a slightly wider screen format. As soon as it starts, it’s going to feel, look and sound different, and we hope we can sustain that throughout the evening and have it contribute to a sense of being inside a piece of cinema in which some awards happen to be given out, as opposed to just a typical award show.”

Yeah, kinda boring to people not deeply immersed in this stuff which is just about everyone.

The 2021 show promises to be even longer than normal. Excruciating, shall we call it?  For there is nothing I enjoy more in this life than offering a stage to self-indulgent egomaniacs so they can tout their spectacular-ness for a quarter of my precious day.

If you tune in at 6:30 pm ET/3:30 pm PT, you can watch a 90-minute special called Oscars: Into the Spotlight.

At 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, the main Oscars telecast will begin.

The ceremony usually wraps up around 11 pm ET/8 pm PT. Will it last that long this year? Maybe, maybe not. But afterward, there’s another special: Oscars: After Dark, hosted by actors Colman Domingo and Andrew Rannells. They’ll recap the ceremony and explore the post-show festivities, whatever those festivities are like in a pandemic year.

This would be light and amusing if it wasn’t for the inevitable Wokephilia that has possessed the entertainment industry and its out-of-touch elites. I predict there will be much self-indulgent virtuosity and the usual suffocating splurge of “we have so much to do’s” consternation and extreme mentions of recognition of injustice and perhaps patronizing quips about white privilege and vaccine hesitancy.

Righteous inspiration will be the tone of the evening and perhaps the participants may be at loss since Bad Orange Man is no longer Presidentially available for their scorn porn.

The cast of producers for tonight’s production includes Steven Soderbergh, anointed pandemic king. I’ll never understand how a film director became a pandemic “expert” other than the fact he made an entertaining but mediocre movie with a similar theme a decade ago. What better pandemic authority than Soderbergh to engineer the packaging of a 2021 pandemic-friendly version of the Oscars?

Contagion credits


It’s hard to get into new movies because the big screen sensation has gone AWOL. Unable to watch films in big theaters with big buckets of popcorn reduces their awe-inspiring sense of cinematic depth, for me anyhow.

I saw Nomadland and Sound of Metal in my living room which changed the context and experience significantly;  in my home on my small television, I observe the movie clinically and less emotionally. There is a layer of appreciation missing; a meta depth lacks that gives the film a larger than life context.

Besides, I’m positive that watching Frances McDormand take a steaming dump into a bucket would affect me on many levels in an AMC theater that I couldn’t comprehend on my Korean-made smart television.

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