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And The Oscar Goes  To…Not Always To The Deserving




Diversity has now become  pandemic  at the awards. 

If you are  black, or  Hispanic,gay  or  physically disabled, you stand   a  better chance of  winning an Oscar  . If you are  white, straight and  physically fit  there is a  chance  that you may be  bypassed, as  Benedict Cumberbatch was .   Of course he  was  better  in The  Power  Of  The Dog than Will Smith in King  Richard,who, mind you,  was  not  bad at all. Smith was in  great shape(and  we don’t mean that  in the physical sense) imbuing the  bully dad’s  character with  a  sense  of  empathy  that  was  moving.

But as far as bullies go  Cumberbatch’s  toxically masculine  cowboy in Jane Campion’s  The Power  Of  Dog was  a class apart.

So  was  Jessica Chastain in  The Eyes  Tammy Faye. This was  the  only surprise winner  this year at  the Oscars. Everyone presumed  Kristen  Stewart would win in this  category.Why? Because everyone  loves Princess Diana and  Kristen Stewart, in that order. I had found Stewart’s  Di act surprisingly stilted,  and considering the  selfconscious  slouch, tilted.

I have a huge problem with  Coda  getting the Best Picture Oscar. Pardon my political  incorrectness   but this is sheer  playing to the galleries.The story of  a deaf couple  and their  not-deaf daughter trying to come to terms with the  reality outside selfinterest was, at best, a heartwarming  drama. In a year where there  were  such magnificent  odes  to  socio-political introspection as  Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, Adam McKay’s  Don’t Look Up   and Jane Campion’s   The  Power  Of The DogCoda  seemed  a distant  poor  cousin  hobbling behind  the formidable  competition.  As far as till-deaf-do-us-part  cinema is concerned,  Sanjay Leela Bhansali did  it much better than  Khamoshi The Musical.

No.  Coda did  not deserve  the Best Picture  award. Neither  did the  grossly  overrated elegiac  Japanese  Drive My Car. Its Oscar for  Best International  Feature. A  sluggish slow-motion  saga  of self-actualization Drive My Car  is  no more than a sumtotal  of all its quirky components. A much better choice was  Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Danish animation film Flee about two gay refugees seeking a commonground for asylum.

Drive  My Car  got it because, well, we  must not make  the Japanese feel  excluded.

don’t mind Troy Kotsur getting the Best Supporting Actor award for Coda. He is deaf. But he is also very  compelling as a possessive  parent. But   Ariana DeBose as  Best Supporting Actress for Westside Story! Really?  I am happy that a queer Hispanic woman(looks at how many boxes that ticks!)  got the award. But Ms DeBose, I am afraid, has done  nothing to her role as the  Anita in Steven Spielberg’s execrable awful  musical . Nothing in this  dud is awards-worthy. It’s like  honouring Kriti Sanon in Bachchan Pandey.

And why  on  earth did they  not give the Best Documentary award  to our Writing With Fire? It is  a far  superior  look at the rise-and-revolt theme  than  Summer Of Soul.

The Oscars this  year just about covered  all the niche communities,   from the gay to the   Hispanics. But  how long must these  niche harkatein continue for the sake of inclusiveness? Aren’t the awards somewhere  sacrificing    merit for minortyism?

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