HOLLYWOOD—We have reached that moment of awards season that is culminates people. The 2023 Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars celebrated 95 years in the industry as the best in cinema were highlighted. Headed into the ceremony “Everything Everywhere All At Once” led all contenders with 11 nominations including Best Picture. It has dominated most of awards season so many expected the same coming into the night and maintained that relevance throughout the ceremony. More on that later.
Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel served as master of ceremonies kicking of the ceremony with skits from some of the top movies of the year including “Top Gun: Maverick” before kicking off his monologue poking fun at Nicole Kidman’s AMC marketing tool that is quite iconic. He joked about the medical drug Ozempic that has been the buzz of weight loss in America in recent months. Poked fun at some jokes involving Seth Rogen and Steven Spielberg. He took at dig at “Babylon” that earned an audible gasp from the audience. There were some jabs made at James Cameron, and it was honestly off the cusp just a bit. Some of the jokes landed, some did not for me.
He did poke slightly at that infamous slap from the 2022 Academy Awards more than once and it became stale after a while. I was stunned that Tom Cruise was not at tonight’s ceremony. He was not, and neither was Cameron. This monologue is slightly dragging people. The first award of the night for Best Animated Feature went to “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio.” Wow, the double presenting of Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress is different, something iconic in a way people. Those trophies were presented by last year’s winners Troy Kotsur and Arianna DeBose. As expected, the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor went to Ke Huy Quan for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Quan was filled with tears as he took to the stage chronicling his up and down career from child actor to resurging actor. He delivered a powerful message about preserving dreams even with all the odds against you.
Who would win, the nail biter for Best Supporting Actress it was either Angela Bassett or Jamie Lee Curtis, but in the end Curtis, who got her start as a starring role in the 1978 horror classic “John Carpenter’s Halloween.” Was it an upset, slightly, but I’m ok with Curtis taking the prize her career is just as eclectic as Bassett, all I can say is Angela Bassett’s time will come people. Curtis’ speech was short and sweet, but memorable people. I’ve been a fan of both women for years, so it is tough sometimes; you win sometimes you lose.
The Oscar for Documentary Feature went to “Navalny,” while the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Film to “An Irish Goodbye.” Moving to technical prizes, Best Cinematography was a victory for James Friend for “All Quiet on the Western Front.” “The Whale“ won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, I will admit about 90 minutes into the ceremony and the pacing is slowing down people. The bit with Jenny the Donkey from “The Banshees of Inisherin” was funny people; a laugh was absolutely needed. Best Costume Design was a victory for Ruth Carter for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Out of all the songs performed on the telecast “Naatu Naatu” from the film “RRR” had to be the most exciting and thrilling. Full of great dancing and just unforgettable energy. “All Quiet on the Western Front” won the Oscar for Best International Feature Film for Germany. Best Documentary Short Film and Best Animated Short Film were presented by Elisabeth Olsen and Pedro Pascal to “The Elephant Whisperers” and “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.”
I swear the Oscars telecast playing people off in the technical awards as they give their acceptance speech is so damn rude! These people are just as important as the actors and actresses who get way more time than anyone else. And why is that? Exactly, it shouldn’t matter. Now this was a performance that I was waiting for, Lady Gaga singing that unflinching ballad, “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick.” That woman can sing like no other. It was so raw and gut-punching I loved every single moment of it. I did want just a little bit more, but damn was that impressive people. If she loses the Oscar I will admit I will be upset people.
“All Quiet on the Western Front” is ranking in the Oscars people. I’m starting to wonder if an upset in the Best Picture race could be in the works tonight, after it collected another win of the night for Best Production Design and Best Original Score. A score does indeed have to be something that is memorable people. Yeah, I called at 2 hours into the ceremony this show is going beyond 3 hours people (it went 3 hours and 35 minutes to be exact). Elizabeth Banks had a funny bit poking out her horror film “Cocaine Bear” as she presented Best Visual Effects to “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Banks’ bit was funnier than what Kimmel did the entire ceremony people.
This bit of Kimmel asking celebrities questions from viewers at home was just awkward fodder that just did not click the way he hoped it would. You really thought you were going to get a laugh out of Malala? The final performance of the ceremony came from Rihanna singing “Lift Me Up” from the film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” slow, yet powerful America.
For Best Original Screenplay, no surprise to see “Everything Everywhere All at Once” writers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Sceinert” claim this prize for a script that is unlike anything I’ve seen. Originality is the key people. Now Best Adapted Screenplay, this is a nail bitter for me because I want to lean one way, but I suspect another movie should claim the prize. I was so happy to see Sarah Polley win the Oscar for “Women Talking” over “All Quiet on the Western Front.” That drama is so powerful and the dialogue is gripping.
The Academy Award for Best Sound went to “Top Gun: Maverick,” I really thought “All Quiet on the Western Front” might win that so kudos for the Academy giving some love to the film that may have saved movie theaters people. The Oscar for Best Original Song in a surprise upset went to “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR.” That is indeed a catchy tune that many people have been rooting for people and I was not sad that Lady Gaga didn’t win, even though I was secretly rooting for her.
Oh, that was such a moment watching John Travolta tear up as he introduced rocker Lenny Kravitz for the In Memoriam segment. It was such a realization that Travolta lost close friends Olivia Newton John and Kirstie Alley in the same year. Editing it is a complex technique when it comes to filmmaking and it is more important than people realize. Best Film Editing was a major win for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Bit of history on the Best Directing category that I did not know people at the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1928. In the end, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert won the Best Directing prize for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The big prizes for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Picture are upon us. I don’t love this dual presenting of the acting awards. Let the winner of those categories have their moment without that fear of feeling like they have to be rushed.
The first award Best Actor was a victory for Brendan Fraser for “The Whale.” I was so proud of Fraser for this win because his performance in the movie was fantastic. Fraser was caught in his emotions as he delivered his acceptance speech. For Best Actress, it was Michelle Yeoh’s moment as she made history becoming the first Asian-American to win an Oscar in the category for her performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Pretty clean sweep for the film in the acting categories, except for Best Actor (which didn’t have any contenders in the race). With that said the final prize of the night Best Picture I would have argued I would have been stunned if Harrison Ford opened the envelope and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was not listed, but we have seen surprises in the past people. With that said, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” walked away with seven prizes for the night. Pretty big sweep for the sci-fi, dramedy, action flick and with that said the 2023 Oscars is over people. Not the most entertaining ceremony, but some great wins and victories and now the race begins for those films that might be the front-runners or dark horses for 2024.