This year's Academy Awards marked society’s return to movie theaters after the decrease in pandemic-related closures, giving the ceremony a special atmosphere that has been lacking in years past. Hosted by the hilarious Jimmy Kimmel, and featuring many spirited presenters, this year’s Oscars ceremony was not only home to many landmark moments in film history, but was also an entertaining joy to watch.
Even those who did not watch the Oscars are likely aware that A24’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” swept the ceremony. The film's accolades include Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Best Lead Actress (Michelle Yeoh, the first Asian woman to win the award), Best Editing (Paul Rogers), Best Directing and Screenplay (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) and finally, Best Picture. The film is a must-see of the year, and will undoubtedly go down as one of the strangest, but most moving pictures of the decade.
After years of physical ailments and unspoken ostracization from the mainstream film community, Brendan Fraser received his first Oscar for his leading performance in “The Whale,” which also won Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Despite the ongoing debate about director Darren Aronofsky’s choice to cast Fraser in the role of a fatally obese character, the general consensus is that Fraser’s award was well deserved.
Most of the technical categories, along with the award for Best International Feature, went to “All Quiet on the Western Front,” a multilingual film about the grizzly realities of World War I. Other category winners include Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” for Best Animated Feature, “Naatu, Naatu” for Best Original Song, and “Avatar: The Way of Water” for Best Visual Effects. “Navalny” won Best Documentary Feature for telling the ongoing story of the poisoning of an opponent of the Russian government, which was received with a moving tribute from the subject’s wife.
Aside from the awards section of the night, the red carpet was also a sight to behold. While many celebrities followed a subtle black and white trend, those who strayed from the conformists stood out even more, such as Best Supporting Actress nominee Stephanie Hsu with a soft pink ball gown and Janelle Monáe, who sported a stunning two-piece black and orange ensemble.
The evening's musical performances included a stripped-down ballad from Lady Gaga, who sang “Hold My Hand,” an original song nominee from “Top Gun: Maverick.” In the wake of her renowned Super Bowl Halftime performance, Rihanna delivered a bone-chilling and powerful rendition of her song “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Finally, Hsu and David Byrne of The Talking Heads covered the song originally performed by Mitski, “This Is a Life,” in an absurd and moving way that paid homage to the film it was written for, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.
The 95th Academy Awards was a wonderful event to watch and gives hope for the future of a diverse and exciting film industry.