Sunday’s winners reflect our fractious times 

This year the shimmering, shimmying Academy Awards ceremony looked like it had hired Marie Kondo. The gags were gagged, the red carpet rolled up and there’s only that much shock and ‘Aww!’ you can fake to canned applause. But India did feature. Nah, I’m not referring to the In Memoriam segment mentioning our departed stars. What I want to show is how the Oscar-winning titles mirrored the way the blockbuster pandemic is playing out in India.

One film creamed off three of the top Bests: Film, Director and Actress. It’s based on the non-fiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. In the present script, our own survival looks bleak. There’s a more specific connection. The  ‘houseless’ heroine of ‘Nomadland’ wanders across the US after job losses. Isn’t there a parallel several thousand times over in the far-worse plight of our migrants last year? Those hope-killed lines staggering across the subcontinent were a slap in the face of official posturing. Sadly, this year’s figleaf-ripper is even more shaming: The desperate crush at hospitals, the rows of burning pyres.


‘The Father’ didn’t win all it hoped for. Not even Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Olivia Colman. However, Best Actor did go to Anthony Hopkins who plays the father who has ‘lost his leaves’ because of dementia, and now keeps blaming others. India has a towering father figure. But the surge now swamping us suggests that someone has lost the plot. And it is the beleaguered populace that’s losing its mind, unable to find drugs, oxygen, beds to save a parent, a child.

Or take The Best Documentary, ‘My Octopus Teacher’. Coronavirus has us in its tentacles, but clearly both netas and public are refusing to learn. For ‘Promising Young Woman’, my Oscar goes to Mohua Moitra; she has the Best Original Parliamentary play we’ve seen in a long time.

‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ has parallels other than pandemic. How many examples can you count here of peaceful protesters being charged with ‘conspiracy to cross state lines with (seditious) intention to incite riots’. Two significant differences. Chicago cops weren’t obeying political masters, and we didn’t have an openly biased Judge Julius Hoffman. Big mercy.

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Alec Smart said: “Twitter censoring, to stop the flames from spreading, or to create a smokescreen?”  



This article is intended to bring a smile to your face. Any connection to events and characters in real life is coincidental.


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