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Steven Soderbergh Defends Awkward Oscars Ending, Admits He Planned to get Chadwick Boseman Win

Oscars producer Steven Soderbergh is sticking by the controversial decision to switch up the order of awards at this year’s ceremony. In a phone call with the Los Angeles Times this week, Soderbergh explained why he and fellow producers Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins decided to end the ceremony on best actor instead of the…

Oscars producer Steven Soderbergh is sticking with the contentious choice to switch up the order of awards at this year’s ceremony. ) In a telephone call using the Los Angeles Times this week, Soderbergh explained why he and fellow producers Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins chose to end the service on best actor rather than the conventional choice, best image, crediting their choice to the possibility of a posthumous win for Chadwick Boseman

Soderbergh said that he along with his coproducers discussed changing the order of the awards in January, well before nominations came out. “It’s our belief–that I think is not unfounded–that actors’ addresses tend to be more striking than producers’ speeches,” Soderbergh said. This belief, coupled with the capacity for a psychological language from Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, was enough to confuse the new running order. In accordance with Soderbergh, there could be nowhere for the show to go from that point. 

When asked if he assumed Boseman–that was the favorite going in the April 25 telecast, for his final operation in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom–would win, the Oscar-winning Traffic director did not exactly answer. Rather, he worried the way the Boseman best-actor triumph”would have been such a shattering moment” that”to come back after that would have been just impossible.” That is why the group decided to put the group last. “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,” Soderbergh clarified.

Soderbergh confessed that this year’s Oscars ceremony was somewhat of an experiment. “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,” he said. And though the ceremony acquired its lowest ratings in history, Soderbergh–that does not read testimonials –maintained a you-win-some-you-lose-some attitude. “There are going to be some things that work and some things that don’t, things that people like, things that people don’t,” he explained. “That’s the point.”  

Looking back on the 2021 ceremony, Soderbergh liked its emphasis on storytelling, and the intimate feel of this year’s telecast compared to years prior. “I like the stories. I like knowing more about the nominees. I think that grounds the industry in some sort of reality,” he said. As for whether he falsified the no-Zoom policy that apparently averted 83-year-old best-actor-winner Anthony Hopkins from accepting his award for The Father from Wales, Soderbergh had a one-word answer:”No.”

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