Hollywood Stagnation Shines At The Sunny Pandemic Oscars

Hollywood Stagnation Shines At The Sunny Pandemic Oscars

Reviewing the Academy Awards remains worthwhile mostly for the sake of explaining why it soon will not. That has more to do with niche-ifying media than politics, but the latter hasn’t helped.

Sunday’s affair, produced for the pandemic era by Steven Soderbergh, captured Hollywood basking in daylight rather than the dim but familiar elegance of the dark Dolby Theater. It was brighter and smaller, hipper and maybe sleeker, gathering a small group of nominees in Los Angeles’s historic Union Station.

The ceremony looked like a self-serious Hamptons brunch; oddly casual, but with no additional accessibility or heightened immediacy. Julia Roberts’ Lancome commercial had more Hollywood intrigue than the entire broadcast. California daylight washed away the mystique. What was left of it, at least.

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Twenty years ago, “Gladiator” walked away with a Best Picture win. Soderbergh won Best Director for “Traffic.” Just ten years ago, James Franco and Anne Hathaway produced, perhaps, one of the last true watercooler moments as spectacularly

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