There are always surprises at the Academy Awards, but the 2021 version of the show closed with two absolute stunners.
- Best Actor was the last category announced instead of Best Picture.
- The late Chadwick Boseman didn’t win Best Actor.
Sir Anthony Hopkins instead won his second statuette for The Father, going with his win for Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of The Lambs in 1992. He closed as a +550 underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Boseman the overwhelming favorite at -1250 for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
It was clear the producers of the show were just as shocked as the audience, Twitter, and everyone with a passing interest in cinema because having Boseman’s family sitting there to accept an award he didn’t win to close the show got almost awkward. Joaquin Phoenix seemed to take it in stride while presenting the award... wait, he didn’t present the award, because Hopkins wasn’t even there to give a speech.
Boseman was the last picture shown in the In Memoriam montage, colloquially nicknamed “The Hammer” for the biggest movie loss of the past year. Let’s give props to that accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, because they clearly kept a secret when an entire Oscars production team would have appreciated a tip.
There were other upsets as well.
Fight for You by artist H.E.R. from the film Judas and the Black Messiah was +2500 before the ceremony at DK, but knocked off a field that included favorite Speak Now from One Night in Miami, listed at -134.
While Nomadland did take home Best Director for Chloe Zhao and Best Picture as expected, it did lose the cinematography award despite being a -335 favorite. The winner was David Fincher’s Mank at +275.
Best Documentary Short Subject
The favorite was A Love Song for Latasha at -177, but Colette at +800 came through with the win at the end. The story of a former French Resistance fighter returning to the concentration camp that killed her brother had some late buzz, but it was still a big surprise.
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