A Reflection on the 2023 Oscars
Last night was the 95th Academy Awards, and I think it's safe to say that it was one of the most highly anticipated in recent years. I've been watching the Oscars every year for as long as I can remember and I've never been so excited for the ceremony as I was this year, and I wasn't alone in that regard. 2022 was an extraordinary year for film, and that was reflected in last night's show. So let's take a look back on what happened at the 2023 Oscars.
The 95th Academy Awards was a big night for international film. "Naatu Naatu" from the Bollywood film, RRR, became the first Indian song to win the Oscar for Best Original Song. In addition to India, Germany also got a considerable amount of attention with All Quiet on the Western Front being nominated for nine awards, winning four. Ireland also had a significant presence at the ceremony, with Best Live Action Short Film going to An Irish Goodbye as well as a plethora of Irish actors being nominated in acting categories including Paul Mescal, Colin Farrell, Kerry Condon, Brendan Gleeson, and Barry Keoghan.
Last night's Oscars also proved to be a big night for diversity. Ruth Carter won the award for Best Costume Design for her work in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, making her the first Black woman to win two Oscars. Ke Huy Quan became the second Asian performer to win Best Supporting Actor, Michelle Yeoh also became the first Asian actress and second woman of color to take home the Oscar for Best Actress, the first since Halle Berry in 2001.
It's safe to say that this year had an Everything Everywhere All at Once sweep, with it being the most nominated film of the night, winning seven of the ten awards, including Best Picture, Screenplay, Editing, and Directing. Not only did it succeed at the Oscars, but Everything Everywhere All at Once is now officially the most awarded film of all time with 404 nominations and 264 accolades.
Due to her nomination for Best Original Song, Lady Gaga performed "Hold my Hand" from Top Gun: Maverick. In a shocking display of her talent and star power, Gaga came out wearing a grey t-shirt, jeans, and no makeup. It was an incredibly moving performance because it made the mega pop star seem more humble and relatable while she was performing a song about depression and suicide. The performance was dedicated to Tony Scott, the director of the original Top Gun, who unfortunately lost his life to suicide in 2012. Lady Gaga's stellar performance was definitely one of the night's major highlights.
Above all, the 2023 Oscars was a night of comebacks, with Ke Huy Quan and Brendan Fraser taking home both male acting awards. Both of whom were blacklisted from Hollywood for years before returning to the screen again. It was hard not to tear up at Ke Huy Quan's speech, thanking his 84 year old mother and telling his story about starting out at a refugee camp and making it all the way to the Oscars. This year, Brendan Fraser was easily the fan-favorite to win Best Actor, and it's no surprise that he ended up taking home the trophy after giving the performance of a lifetime in The Whale.
While Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Brendan Fraser all recieved their awards to rapturous applause from audiences, Jamie Lee Curtis was a different story. This awards season, Jamie Lee Curtis has been consistently recieving Best Supporting Actress awards for his performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once, and last night was no different. This win was highly scrutinized by viewers on Twitter who all insisted that Hong Chau, Angela Bassett, Stephanie Hsu, and Kerry Condon, were all more deserving of the award than Curtis. Although I love Jamie Lee Curtis I am inclined to agree, quite literally every other nominee gave a more compelling performance while she played the comic relief in about 1/4th of the film she starred in. It makes virtually no sense to give the award to her instead of Stephanie Hsu who had 10x the role and gave a much more heartfelt, complicated performance. Regardless on how you feel about the situation, I think we can all agree that it was nice to see Jamie Lee Curtis so happy and overjoyed to win her first Academy Award at 64 years old.
Because 2022 was such an amazing year for film, there were a lot of snubs. The Banshees of Inisherin was nominated for nine awards, The Fabelmans was nominated for seven, and Tár was nominated for six, all winning zero. In any other year, these films probably would have swept the competition. While it's absolutely a shame that none of these amazing movies took home any awards, all of last night's winners were incredibly deserving of their trophies.
Unlike past years, the 95th Academy Awards wasn't plagued by an infamous slap or Best Picture mixup, it was simply a night of celebrating great film and appreciating the art form at its best. Needless to say, I'm excited to see what next year' ceremony has to offer.