- The academy will put on as spectacular and entertaining a show as it can in the current circumstances. There will be quirky moments. There will be funny moments. There will be ‘put on our sad face’ moving moments when the show will recognise the suffering the world has gone through since the last Oscars and is still enduring. Maybe, they will add to the gravitas of this moment by wheeling in a safe, much loved pair of hands like Tom Hanks who was one of the first famous people to be those diagnosed with the virus.
- Most of all, there will be the magic moments. The Oscars will do what the Oscars does best:show us a montage of movie clips from over the years which will transport us to better times and more wonderful worlds. We will be reminded that in our darkest moments the joy of cinema has often sustained us.
- There will be an attempt to tone down the overt politics of the last few years which have caused so much division. Award shows are currently on their knees when it comes to ratings. The Golden globes and the BAFTAs suffered their lowest ratings ever this year. Smaller ceremonies like the SAGs passed without causing so much as a ripple in the public consciousness. The Oscars cannot afford to alienate more viewers.
- Where possible the golden statuettes will be given to a non-white nominee or a woman. Both lead actress and lead actor may buck this trend with wins for Carey Mulligan and Anthony Hopkins. Both will then get flack on Twitter from people who never watch the Oscars and will not have seen any of the films or performances.
- Both social media and the mainstream media will highlight the colour/ethnicity/sex of the non white/ female winners, thereby ensuring that their wins will be noted for this over their talent or filmic achievement. Chloe Zhao will be the poster girl for this kind of coverage.
6. So, instead, I’ll just congratulate the winners for their cinematic achievements or their performances. Hearing the magic words “and the Oscar goes to” will mean a lot to each winner, regardless of their background and heritage, so let’s celebrate that.
7. Friends of David Fincher will say, as friends of Martin Scorsese did for years, that no, he does not want an honorary Oscar. If he is to get one, he wants to win it competitively.
8. One nominee, at least, in a bid to be ‘quirky’ and ‘out there’ will wear a designer dress or Tuxedo that doubles as pyjamas. They will say this is ‘to recognise what we’ve all been living in for the past year.’ The outfit will be hideous but will make all the headlines the next day.
9. On Tuesday we will discover that the ratings were abysmal. The lowest since whenever. Across the Internet and even among film fans I’ve spoken to, I’ve detected an indifference towards awards ceremonies this year. Barely anyone has seen the films nominated and the usual buzz simply isn’t there. Unfortunately, the yellow Brick Road for award shows looks decidedly bumpy in the years ahead. As an Oscars aficionado, it saddens me to write that but the writing is on the wall.
10. The Oscars committee, like every other awards committee, will privately acknowledge that hindsight is, indeed, a wonderful thing. If they had known at the start of the pandemic what they know now, would they have postponed their respective ceremonies this year? Would it have been better to miss a year and then try to come back bigger and better in 2022? We will never know.