A stream of awards: On Oscars 2021

Oscars this year saw many firsts, and also a fair amount of continuity and predictability

In this year of pandemics and lockdowns, the old rules of movies playing for a certain amount of time in theatres to be considered for the awards was relaxed. Movies directly released on streaming platforms made the cut. David Fincher’s Mank got 10 nominations and won two — for cinematography and production design. Other favourites such as Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Sound of Metal, Pieces of a Woman, Hillbilly Elegy, One Night in Miami and The Trial of the Chicago 7 were also streamed. One gem of a film was Two Distant Strangers, which won for Best Live Action Short. The film effectively marries two burning issues — violence against black Americans by white policemen and being caught in a time loop. Black graphic designer, Carter James, just wants to get back to his dog and he is shot every time by a white policeman, Merk. The film brings alive memories of police brutality at home as well. Every time Carter wakes up after being shot, to live the day again, it is a reminder of the year of blursdays that passed by. One should, however, be thankful for blursdays — if one cannot distinguish one day from the next, it means nothing hideous happened to make the day stand out. That, in these days of shock and dread is definitely something to be grateful for.

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