Oscar experts slugfest: Breaking down the highs and lows of the 2021 Academy Awards [VIDEO]

First-time Academy Awards producer Steven Soderbergh was not shy in the lead-up to the 2021 Oscars about his intention to turn the annual awards show into something more akin to a “movie.” But it’s clear even Soderbergh didn’t expect the ceremony to conclude with such a shocking twist ending. In the final moments of the broadcast, “The Father” star Anthony Hopkins upset “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” frontrunner Chadwick Boseman in the Best Actor race, a result that left audiences stunned — especially because Hopkins was not in attendance, leaving presenter Joaquin Phoenix to accept the Oscar on Hopkins’s behalf before the credits rolled. (Hopkins posted a gracious, heartening speech to Instagram on Monday.) 

The Hopkins-Boseman moment — engineered to be the cap to the ceremony after Soderbergh and producers Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins moved Best Picture (which was won by expected champion “Nomadland”) to the third-to-last spot — was but one of the unexpected outcomes at the 2021 Oscars that Gold Derby experts and editors Joyce Eng and Christopher Rosen were left scratching their heads over in the aftermath of the show. Eng and Rosen each missed both lead actor wins — Frances McDormand was the last actress standing in what had been the most chaotic Best Actress competition in recent memory — but even with those losses, it was Eng who finished with a 78% score in her predictions. (Rosen, thanks in part to his left-field Best Picture pick of “Promising Young Woman” was left with a 69% score.)

To celebrate the end of awards season, and to review the 2021 Oscars and recap the highs and lows of the ceremony, Eng and Rosen hopped on a video call in the wee hours of Monday morning to discuss the 93rd Oscars, the production tweaks and changes enacted by Soderbergh (no-limit speeches), and the likely reasons both Hopkins and McDormand won Oscars despite not being the favored picks among experts and pundits.

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