The most astonishing thing about the Oscars last night was that everybody was unmasked.
The show made a big point of how many precautions were being taken, but it was obvious: the celebrities knew that the chances of getting the virus were very very low. All had been vaccinated.
But they had to keep up the appearances. They assured us that they only went maskless when the cameras were on. Otherwise, we peasants might get ideas. Thus, much was made of “precautions.” Attendees had not only been vaccinated but had been tested several times before the evening. LA’s ABC 7 took note of these precautions:
“According to a report from Variety, the Academy is not asking attendees to wear face masks while they’re in front of the camera. Academy representatives and nominees reportedly discussed it during a Zoom meeting Monday.
The mask requirements for Oscar Sunday are being slightly loosened because the show is being treated as a TV film production. However, guests are being asked to wear masks when they aren’t on camera, including commercial breaks.”
Because, of course, COVID can only strike during commercials.
The Oscars probably had to appear to be in compliance with Los Angeles County guidance. But didn’t it seem to you (if you watched) that we had caught out Hollywood in a charade? That Hollywood had been, so to speak, unmasked?
“Nomadland” walked away with the Oscar for Best Picture and Frances McDormand, who hauntingly played Fern, a sixty-something woman who joins the nomad culture, won Best Actress. The movie seemed like a more like a documentary than a regular movie. It took a look at the lives of the older men and women who join the nomad culture, living in vans. Several of the real-life nomads turned in brilliant performances playing themselves.
The movie didn’t have an as much of an overtly anti-American message as I had anticipated. There were a few snippets (an exchange between Fern and her brother-in-law, who sells real estate). It is clear that there is something in Fern, who has several opportunities to make a more normal life, that propels her onto the road.
Jessica Bruder, on whose book the movie is based, lamely attempted to rectify the lack of a clearly anti-American message with an op-ed in the New York Times. “People who live in homes-on-wheels should not have to be in constant fear of ‘the knock,’” Bruder wrote.
Bruder described “the knock” as “a visceral, even existential threat.” But “the knock” wasn’t from the gestapo. Sometimes people (or the police acting in their behalf) knocked on vans to say that the nomad could not park there. Nice try, Ms. Bruder.
I am afraid I did not watch the entire show. What I saw of the production was excruciating. New York Post film critic Johnny Oleksinski affirms my judgment. Hollywood (in its better years) was a place of dreams. It entertained us. This year, the entertainment was watching celebrities pretend to be in compliance with onerous COVID-19—you know, us peasants.