An iconic member of the football world died this week. Rest in piece, Hennes VIII.
Hennes VIII, the mascot of Bundesliga side FC Köln, had to be put down at the age of 14 for health reasons.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 22, 2021
Rest in peace football's true GOAT pic.twitter.com/2npiDjcZJ9
Ramble of the Day
Almost 15 months after the last one, the time has come once again for the pre-Oscars ramble. I’ve caught almost all of the nominees in the major categories, which means I’m plenty prepared for a ramble but have a little bit of catching up to do before Sunday. Your refresher on the nominees is here, if you need it.
I’d like to the Academy for not including any films that I despise for the big prize this year. Mank is probably the weakest contender for me, but I managed to find each of them interesting. My favorites of the group are Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Promising Young Woman, and Sound of Metal, but it’s time to pick based on personal preference. (It’s the only way to narrow down great contenders!) I can’t beat a well done film with a point to make, so I’m going with Promising Young Woman. Writer-director Emerald Fennell was so precise in the messaging, and it made for a very deeply moving film.
I accidentally shared my compliments for Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell in the above section. I loved every choice she made — it was a very smart film.
There are a lot of moving performances in this category, making it extremely hard to narrow down. After much reflection, I will go with Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’s Chadwick Boseman — he played a character with a lot of varied layers, and did wonderfully. He also played a character that was different from many of his others, and I always enjoy watching an actor show a different side.
This is a very strong category, and I’d be happy no matter who won the award. The actor here that moved me the most came from the film that moved me the most, so Promising Young Woman’s Carey Mulligan gets my vote. Again, that film is emblematic of filmmakers with an acute understanding of the story they’re telling, and Mulligan is central to that.
Best Supporting Actor
Another great collection of performances, though I have a little comment to make. Lakeith Stanfield did put in a performance worthy of an Oscar nomination in Judas and the Black Messiah, but he was not a supporting actor in that movie. (If I had to kick one of the lead actors off that list, it’d be Mank’s Gary Oldman — he did well, but he’s not what made the movie interesting.) My two favorites here are Sound of Metal’s Paul Raci and Judas’ Daniel Kaluuya, and I will give the slight edge to Kaluuya. Playing Fred Hampton is a huge task in this movie, and he nails it.
Best Supporting Actress
Credit to the Academy for only making one nomination this year a truly horrible idea — Glenn Close for Hillbilly Elegy. She’s generally brilliant, but that was neither a good film or her best work and it would be insulting for an actress of her caliber to finally win her first Oscar for that performance. The only performance I haven’t seen of this group is Maria Bakalova’s in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, though I imagine she’s a contender and it’s possible I change my mind. As things stand, though, I’m picking Minari’s Youn Yuh-jung, who was just marvelous with the many tasks she was given. She was absolutely captivating.
tl;dr: Just some thoughts on who might win some Oscars this weekend.
Stay informed, read this: Erin Foley’s satire on the gender disparity on display during the NCAA March Madness tournaments for The New Yorker
Links of the Day
West Ham’s Jesse Lingard said he contemplated taking a break from football last year because of mental health struggles.
Zlatan Ibrahimović signed a contract extension with AC Milan, keeping him at the club until the end of the 2021-22 season.
YouTube will produce Raise Your Game with Gareth Southgate, a documentary about the England manager ahead of the Euros.
A longer read: Tariq Panja and Rory Smith report on how the Super League very quickly fell apart for The New York Times
Supplemental listening: The Wall Street Journal’s Josh Robinson talks the failure of the Super League on the Double Pivot podcast