Oscars 2021: right on trend or too PC?

After a year dominated by coronavirus, Donald Trump and the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, the Academy Awards ceremony on 25 April was all about diversity. More women and non-white artists were nominated than ever before. Europe's press welcomes this development, but also warns against too much politicisation at the expense of art.

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The Independent (GB) /

At last in the here and now

The central themes at the ceremony couldn't be more relevant, says The Independent:

“To hear [actors like] Regina King, Travon Free, Tyler Perry, and Angela Bassett talk about the Chauvin trial, racial injustice, police brutality, and the Jim Crow South lent the ceremony an urgency and authenticity it's often previously lacked. It helped that these voices and sentiments also seemed to arise naturally from the movies in contention - films that explore the right to peaceful protest, Black liberation, violence against women, and economic displacement.”

Webcafé (BG) /

Humourless and detached

This was the most boring Oscar ceremony ever, Webcafé criticises:

“The problem was that this show about the entertainment industry was simply not entertaining. Instead, cinema and talent took a back seat to the issue of racism. ... But audiences need a good laugh. What other reason would there be to sit in front of the television for three hours? To watch everyone pat each other on the back and give thank-you speeches to people whose names you've never heard?”

Krytyka Polityczna (PL) /

Holding a mirror up to the US

Krytyka Polityczna says it is vital that the film industry keep up with the times:

“It will be difficult to stop certain changes that have made their mark on this year. America is becoming less and less white. The film industry must find a way to reflect this and depict non-white audiences on the screen with stories that reflect their own experiences. If they don't want to fall behind, the Oscars must take account of these changes.”

Berlingske (DK) /

Room for artistic freedom

The Oscar for Best International Feature went to Another Round by Thomas Vinterberg, a Danish-Swedish-Dutch co-production. Berlingske says the film absolutely deserved to win:

“The film is free of the mechanical political correctness that currently pervades many films and series. Another Round was cast with four white men in the leading roles; clearly free of demands for ethnically balanced representation on screen. ... We are reminded that we must be careful not to force art in any political direction. Great art needs freedom to unfold in surprising and unpredictable ways.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Losing their magic

Editor-in-chief Jordi Juan explains in La Vanguardia why the Oscars are generating less and less interest:

“Nowadays, almost all the films in the competition have been available for everyone to see on the various TV platforms for months. The only uncertainty is which platform will offer the preferred film. We live in the paradoxical situation of being able to watch all the films we want at the touch of a remote control, but as a trade-off, we are slowly losing the old magic of first screenings, the liturgy of rushing to the cinema to watch the new movies. It's as simple as admitting that things that are easy to get and accessible lose their value.”