The Oscars back in Hollywood, a Swiss short film on the way

After a forced move due to the pandemic, the Oscars return to their traditional hall on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Sunday for a close competition. A Swiss short film is on its way.

A dark and psychological western about men not assuming their sexuality, “The Power of the Dog” has long been at the forefront, giving Netflix hope of a historic victory in this flagship category. But in a few weeks, “CODA”, a dramatic comedy full of optimism adapted to the French success “La Famille Bélier”, has returned at full gallop.

The film, which follows a high school student split between her newfound passion for singing and her family whose other members are deaf and dependent on her to communicate with the hearing world, swept up one after the other. of the unions in the American film industry.

On Friday, this low-budget film, whose journey began at Sundance in January 2021, rose for the first time to the top of forecasts for industry experts ahead of “The Power of the Dog.” In third place is “Belfast”, a black and white evocation of Kenneth Branagh’s childhood in the midst of violence in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s.

“It’s a race between two or three horses,” confirms Clayton Davis, film award specialist for Variety magazine, a reference in the field. For him, the “dynamics” played in the last days in favor of “CODA”. “The last two years have been very difficult for everyone. And ‘CODA’ is positive, uplifting. I think the voters are in the mood to feel comfortable,” he told AFP.

Netflix vs. Apple TV +

Many professionals raved about “The Power of the Dog” and noted its aesthetic prowess and the actors’ performances. Four of them (Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee) are in the running for this 94th edition.

But many others have also criticized Jane Campion’s film for a certain coldness. “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea,” said Scott Feinberg, columnist for the Hollywood Reporter magazine.

This may prove to be a handicap, because the strange multi-round preference voting system used at the Oscars for the Best Feature Film category generally favors the most consensual films.

But a surprise is always possible at the Oscars, and the competition “has never been so open,” said one of the voters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the prestigious trophies, on condition of anonymity.

Trump in the sleeve “CODA”, it is about an independent film with a low budget ($ 15 million), which this year is perceived as the outsider, and which as such could attract the sympathy of voters, even if it is broadcast by Apple TV +.

“Some members of the academy I talk to are still reluctant to vote for a Netflix movie in the best feature film category,” the voter explains to AFP.

Will Smith and Jessica Chastain?

Among the actors, the big favorite this year is the always very popular Will Smith, who plays the masters Serena and Venus’ father in “The Williams Method”.

One of the stars of “CODA”, Troy Kotsur, holds the rope for Oscar for best supporting actor. The deaf actor who plays the loving but at times helpless father of a hearing teenager has been a hit in the various film awards this season.

On the acting side, the competition is fierce, but Jessica Chastain, unrecognizable in her role as TV writer of “In the Eyes of Tammy Faye,” seems best placed. She could be threatened by Penelope Cruz, who seduced with her appearance in “Madres Paralelas” by Pedro Almodovar.

Ariana DeBose should win for the female supporting role with the remake of “West Side Story” by Steven Spielberg. But the latter seems to be on the wrong track to establish himself as the best director against Jane Campion, who has good chances of winning the second Oscar of her career as a director after “The Piano Lesson”.

The magnificent space opera “Dune” should stand out in several technical categories, from photography to sound and special effects.

Switzerland can also hope for an Oscar this year. The German-Swiss director Maria Brendle’s short film “Ala Kachuu” has been nominated for one of the world’s most coveted awards. The film, whose title means “pack and run”, tells of the robbery of a bride in Kyrgyzstan. About 12,000 women fall victim to this custom each year.

Reconnect with the public

The organizers and the television company ABC hope that this 94th edition will allow them to reconnect with the public and with their audience, which has been in free fall in recent years. The 2021 edition had attracted only 10 million viewers, a decrease of 56% compared to the previous year, which had already registered its lowest level in history.

To attract fans, the organizers this year launched a “fan award” called for voting on social networks. It’s about the Oscars “seeing how they can reach a new audience, this TikTok generation,” says Clayton Davis.

Pop queen Beyoncé and her young second-place Billie Eilish will also be fishing for viewers on the Oscar stage. They are both in the running for the Oscar for best song, respectively for “The Williams Method” and the latest James Bond.

This article has been published automatically. Sources: ats / afp

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