95th Oscars Recap
The Oscars came and went, and this time, there have been plenty of surprises and victorious breakthroughs, but no elements that became another Will-Smith-slapping scenario like last year.
First, two films that killed it on Oscar night were the German Netflix original, All Quiet on the Western Front and the indie masterpiece Everything Everywhere All at Once. I read All Quiet on the Western Front and saw the classic film released in 1930 in high school English. However, I am guilty of saying that I can’t recall much about that story outside of its horrific portrayals of World War I (or, as it was called back then, the Great War) from Germany’s point of view. Not to mention, of course, the German soldiers ogling the French ladies across the countryside borders.
With all this in mind, I better find ways to re-engage myself with the story and the film to prepare myself for what awaits me in the new movie.
And as for everything Everywhere All at Once, this was a trippy, mind-bending film for sure! Its explorations of using multiversal powers to achieve your end and end multiversal collapse amounted to a wild trip that still maintained the messages of humanity and love in the center. For what it achieved, this movie walked home with seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and…
Well, as Michelle Yeoh walked up to the stage and picked up her Oscar, when she said, “we’re making history,” she was right. Besides being the first Asian actress to win a Best Actress Oscar, her fellow co-stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Quan all won in their respective acting categories for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. So, it makes Everything Everywhere All At Once the third motion picture in Oscar history to win three acting Oscars. The first two were A Streetcar Named Desire and Network. Congratulations to the cast and crew of Everything Everywhere All At Once for pulling off such a momentous accomplishment!
However, let’s hop on over to the films that were in the running this year but lost out entirely to those more established that walked home with some gold on their hands.
First, The Banshees of Inisherin felt like a droll and nearly morbid film that relished in the unique nature of the Irish folk’s more witty and animated expressions and reactions over something weird yet mundane. And the technical, writing and acting qualities apparent throughout made me feel like it was destined to have a glimmer of capability in achieving some Oscar recognition. But nope, that’s not the case for Inisherin. That was a shock for me!
But I was nowhere as shocked as when I saw Austin Butler not get his Oscar for Best Actor for playing Elvis. I thought he did a tremendous job bringing the famed singer to life, yet he lost out on the Oscar to Brendan Fraser, who played a high school English teacher struggling with obesity in The Whale. From what little I’ve seen of him, I can tell that Frasier might have earned his Oscar for pulling off such a performance as in The Whale. And looking at how long he’s been absent from the acting industry until now, that’s quite remarkable. But to not see Elvis win any of its Oscars that night, not even one for its technical qualities? I feel sorry for that film.
Another snub I felt disheartened over was The Fabelmans. I found the movie to be a poignant and expertly crafted autobiography that only Steven Spielberg could’ve created. I hear this is supposed to be John Williams’ final film score outside of the score he’ll provide for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. But to see him not get his Oscar just felt like a massive snub on his end. And I was especially shocked to see Steven Spielberg not pick up his Oscar for Best Director since this movie is so personal to him. Instead, he missed out on that Oscar to Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
But I don’t know. I feel like, after seeing Spielberg and Austin Butler win their awards at the Golden Globes, perhaps there was more value to the films and technical elements of these films that won that night than we would’ve anticipated out of them once the Golden Globes came forth.
However, speaking of Steven Spielberg and Indiana Jones, the ending portion of the Oscars, with Harrison Ford announcing the nominees and winner for Best Picture of the Year, just felt sweet. I think it’s primarily because of seeing Harrison Ford in the same company as Ke Huy Quan. Knowing that these two starred together in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom three and a half decades ago and greeted one another as Quan joined the others in their Best Picture celebration, it felt like I was watching a nice little mini-reunion there.
I think the closest thing to an awkward moment at the Oscars that felt memorable the same way Will Smith slapping Chris Rock last year was memorable was when the quote “cocaine bear” walked around and went crazy all over Elizabeth Banks as she tried to announce the nominees and winner for Best Visual Effects and even among the audience beside Jimmy Kimmel. Considering the absurdity that can be sensed from that movie, this bear threw some awkward craziness into the cinematic mix. Even at the end of the Oscars show, after Everything Everywhere All At Once won the Oscar and Jimmy Kimmel said good night, he updated the sign that said how many Oscar incidents there have not been since the infamous slap last year. That was pretty funny.
At one point in the show, although it was just a moderate cameo, Jimmy Kimmel brought in a donkey to say hi to the audience. And if that donkey looks familiar, movie buffs would tell you that that’s Jenny from The Banshees of Inisherin. It was short, but it felt like a nice touch.
But I have some good news: plenty of other films still scored their share of the gold in the technical categories, and I’m convinced that 2022 was indeed the year for extravagant, worthy sequels. The costume designers for Black Panther came to claim their second Oscar for their work in the sequel, Wakanda Forever. Avatar scored once again on Visual Effects for its 13-year crafting of The Way of Water, and even Top Gun: Maverick dazzled audiences with its jets enough to earn itself the Oscar for Best Sound. Congratulations to all the technical artists for crafting greatness to enhance these well-established sequels to classic films.
Whether it’s history in the making or surprises and snubs in every corner, the Oscars once again established an engaging variety of cinema glory for those who earned it. Let’s see what 2023 can whip up, and I’ll see you next year, Oscar! :)