The Oscars are a time when Hollywood's best and brightest dress up to walk down the red carpet and look utterly glamorous accepting awards. Unless you're Michael Shannon. He apparently decided that instead of attending the Oscars, he'd watch them on TV. And by watch, we mean the sound was off. Also, the TV was in a bar. It's an interesting place to see the movie you were in getting named Best Picture. Check it out.
The Old Town Ale House calls itself the "Best Dive Bar in Chicago" according to its website, and that was apparently high enough praise for Michael Shannon, a man who has been nominated for Oscars twice himself, to make it the place that he watched the biggest awards show of the year for his profession. He wasn't nominated this year but a movie he starred in was, and The Shape of Water had the biggest night of any film nominated, taking home awards for Best Director, Production Design, Score, and, of course, Best Picture.
One wonders if Michael Shannon had any regrets not being there with his fellow castmates when the Best Picture envelope was opened, once the announcement was verified as being accurate, of course. On the one hand, it's a once in a lifetime moment that you might want to share. On the other hand, in the picture above, Michael Shannon doesn't appear to be too upset, there are certainly worse places in the world to be than a good bar with cold beer and a good song on the jukebox. Besides, based on previous experience, perhaps this is where Shannon wanted to be if his movie lost.
Oscar night gets derided by some who view it as a night of Hollywood elites, and while they all clean up nice, at the end of the day they're just people, and some of them, who look perfectly good in a tux, would rather just chill in a friendly bar with people they know, dressed in whatever they feel comfortable in.
Still, one assumes Michael Shannon ordered himself a celebratory drink when The Shape of Water won the night. He might not have been nominated himself, but you don't win Best Picture if you have a weak performance in a major role, so Shannon certainly did his part in making Shape the best movie of the year in the eyes of the Academy. Making movies is a team effort, and he was a key part of that team.
The Oscars probably weren't being watched very closely in a lot of dive bars on Sunday night, but that's part of what makes this picture so perfect. One of the best actors in the world, clearly focused on the event, but from a place he'd rather be.