Steven Soderbergh defends Awkward 2021 Oscars Ending
The infamous 2021 Oscars ending left the event’s organizers, audience, and viewers all around the world startled. Everything about the award ceremony, the organization of the categories, and the build-up to the Best Actor Award hinted at a Chadwick Boseman win. However, at the very end, it was Anthony Hopkins who ended up winning the Oscar. Ever since, The Oscars ending has become pretty much a meme, attracting backlash from viewers online. However, one of the Oscars producers, Steven Soderbergh, has come out in support of the ceremony.
Steven Soderbergh defends 2021 Oscars Ending, saying he planned it for a Chadwick Boseman win
While talking to the Los Angeles Times, Soderbergh and co-producers, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins explained their decision to end the Oscars at the Award for Best Actor. And they fully disclosed that their motivation was inspired by the possibility of a posthumous win for Chadwick Boseman. And they made the decision in January, well before the nominations were made public. He said:
It’s our belief—that I think is not unfounded—that actors’ speeches tend to be more dramatic than producers’ speeches.
Along with this belief, the chance for an emotional speech by Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, was reason enough for the producers to go with this order at the 2021 Oscars ending. In the build-up to the awards, Chadwick Boseman was the favorite for his groundbreaking final performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. However, when the interviewer asked Soderbergh if they assumed Boseman would win, he didn’t answer forthrightly. Instead, he said it “would have been such a shattering moment,” further emphasizing that “to come back after that would have been just impossible”. As a result, the 2021 Oscars ending was organized in such order. Soderbergh continued:
I said if there was even the sliver of a chance that he would win and that his widow would speak, then we were operating under the fact that was the end of the show.
Her further said that this years Oscar ending was a bit of an experiment, saying:
You have to understand this show was very much viewed by us and by the Academy as an opportunity to try some really different stuff.
About the ending not going as planned
Of course, in the end, the experiment did not go as planned, with Anthony Hopkins winning the award for his performance in The Father. That may have contributed to this year’s ceremony receiving the lowest ever ratings in the Academy’s history. Perhaps the awkward 2021 Oscars may have played a role in that. However, Soderbergh did not take the criticism to heart. In fact, he didn’t even read the reviews, saying you can’t keep everyone happy. He said:
There are going to be some things that work and some things that don’t, things that people like, things that people don’t. That’s the point.
As far as the rest of the ceremony is concerned, Soderbergh really this year’s theme. The emphasis on story-telling and the intimate feel of he venue was in stark contrast of yesteryears. He said:
I like the stories, I like knowing more about the nominees. I think that grounds the industry in some sort of reality.