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THR’s Awards Season Superlatives: The Good, the Bad and the Bathwater

Most Social Capital Lost in 10 Minutes: Jo Koy

Jo Koy
Jo Koy

Proverbial gun to head, few awards show aficionados could name a more embarrassing monologue than Jo Koy’s turn at the 2024 Golden Globes — a slow-motion car wreck that will live in infamy for the crickets and cringes he drew from his A-list audience. Fellow comics have pointed to the emcee’s absence of established rapport with the crowd as reason for his undoing, but the fact remains that his big moment at bat was so bad, it even broke Taylor Swift’s iron curtain of composure.

Most Categorically Confusing Categories: Adapted vs. Original Screenplay

Barbie and Leonard Bernstein
Barbie and Leonard Bernstein

The Film Academy left many scratching their heads when Barbie, a script based on a doll with no backstory, was deemed an adaptation in the Oscar race — while Maestro, a biopic drawing on the well-documented life of Leonard Bernstein, was permitted to compete as an original work. Judd Apatow called the Barbie decision “insulting.” Even worse, it’s inconsistent.

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Best Excuse to Stick to the Script: Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s Stationery

Da'Vine Joy Randolph
Da’Vine Joy Randolph

Memorizing a prepared speech? A little cocky. Consulting your Notes app on live TV? So gauche. Reading from different sheets of paper, each one with a funny, poignant and sincere speech, during your hot-streak road to presumed Oscar victory? One of the most charming themes to emerge this year.

Most Insufferable Online Conversation: “Snubs”

Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig

Sure, it would have been nice to see a few more Gretas in the Oscars mix — Gerwig for directing Barbie or Lee for her performance in Past Lives — but the snowballing snubs debate has gotten out of hand. Not all great work lands a nomination because film accolades, like all awards, live and die by their sheer scarcity. So if you’d prefer a race where participation trophies are in play, there’s no shortage of Westside elementary school soccer leagues to follow.

Most Hype to go Down the Drain: The Great Saltburn Debate

Barry Keoghan
Barry Keoghan

The overly sexualized discourse around Saltburn went from funny to tacky to sad real quick, with the Emerald Fennell film’s more shocking scenes (Bathwater slurping! Nude victory dances! That thing too obscene to even try to reference here!) devolving into endlessly awkward conversations on panels and red carpets. (None were as cringeworthy as the moment when the BBC reporter asked Andrew Scott, not part of the film, to speculate about the possibility that Barry Keoghan had donned a prosthetic.) In the end, it was all for naught. Saltburn finished the 2024 awards cycle with just one notable win — paradoxically, from the Costume Designers Guild.

Least Expected Streaming Coup: Peacock

Peacock
Peacock

Amazon, Apple and Netflix remain locked in a wildly expensive battle to subvert traditional studios and distributors in the quest for Oscar, yet the only platform to air two best picture nominees during the voting window was … Peacock. The wallflower of the streaming wars backed neither but scored post-theatrical windows from sister studios for The Holdovers and Oppenheimer, the latter setting in-house ratings records for a shallow-pocketed platform that technically has no horse in this race.

The Most Good Boy: Messi

Messi
Messi

Anatomy of a Fall’s breakout border collie took a 12-hour flight to Los Angeles (presumably without meds) just to endure a marathon junket to promote other people’s nominations? Messi deserves an award of his own. And meeting Ryan Gosling at the nominees luncheon doesn’t count.

The Bradley Cooper Award for Effort: Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper

Cooper was previously nominated for nine Academy Awards, before this trio for Maestro, and his lack of wins might be taking a toll. The man literally spent six years learning how to conduct an orchestra for six minutes of screen time. Even Daniel Day-Lewis never went to such trouble.

This story first appeared in the March 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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