Trip to the Oscars a ray of sunshine for Canada’s Ben Proudfoot after ‘very dark year’

Ben Proudfoot’s limited documentary is headed to the Oscars, and so is he — in the midst of pandemic-related upheaval in the industry and a key change in how award shows link with their attendees and audiences.

The Halifax director is nominated along with co-director Kris Bowers for A Concerto is a Discussion, their thirteen-moment function about Bowers’s grandfather, Horace Bowers, and the discrimination he faced as he escaped the Jim Crow South.

And although the film noticed early achievements after debuting by means of the New York Times’ Op-Docs series in November, Proudfoot claims selling the film was a challenge. Even with attending virtual situations and festivals, the Oscars will be the to start with are living event Proudfoot has attended in additional than a year. 

He claimed that tends to make him experience quite grateful to lastly have the possibility to rejoice the project in individual.

“This was a tough year for me,” Proudfoot claimed in an interview with CBC News. “My father passed absent in May well, and with the pandemic … it is really been difficult for each human currently being on the deal with of the Earth.

“It is really been a quite dark year, and this has just been a ray of sunshine into my lifetime.”

Kris Bowers co-directed A Concerto is a Discussion along with Proudfoot. The limited documentary is about Bowers’s grandfather, Horace. (Breakwater Studios)

Proudfoot will be among a minimal range of in-individual attendees at this year’s Academy Awards, a host-significantly less, three-hour-very long show that requires a “demanding protocol,” he claimed. That consists of many COVID-19 checks in the weeks top up to the ceremony, and 1 on the day itself. 

But just what the Oscars will glance like on Sunday night stays a mystery, even to Proudfoot.

Producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh have exposed only some details of what the show will entail. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the three claimed all attendees at L.A.’s Union Station will be provided with masks, although it is really still uncertain whether attendees will be required to don them. 

Award winners will be offered a lengthier time to give speeches than in many years earlier, and the crimson carpet is currently being exchanged for an casual gathering of the nominees and their attendees.

“I don’t feel any individual is likely to identify the Academy Awards this year,” Proudfoot claimed, “as it’s likely to be quite diverse from an Academy Awards we have seen in the earlier.”

Ratings in free slide

The alterations appear at a hard time for award shows in basic. Even just before COVID-19 compelled them to adjust their structure, ratings have been plummeting. Both equally the Grammys and the Golden Globes noticed drops of additional than 60 per cent involving their 2020 and 2021 exhibits. Ratings for the Oscars dropped by nearly half from 2010 to 2020.

This year, that decrease could be compounded by the pandemic. Because of to theatre closures, big-title options these as the James Bond instalment No Time to DieDune and Marvel’s Black Widow pushed their releases from 2020 into 2021. That’s remaining the Oscars with additional understated movies to honour, which could draw an even smaller sized viewers.

Even now, Proudfoot claims he is happy the show made a decision to go ahead instead of cancelling as some critics suggested it really should. 

The possibility to celebrate successes is important, he claimed — both for the sector at substantial, and for folks pursuing their goals in a difficult year. 

“We have all been cooped up this year with not a large amount of hope or points to be energized about to rejoice. And this is kind of the final matter to rejoice.”