The 95th Oscars: The Academy Awards get back to normal . . . sort of.

| March 13, 2023

OSCARS PHOTOS: Best moments from the 95th Academy Awards

Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony went off without a hitch.  Nobody got slapped, and just to be sure, the Academy instituted a Crisis Team to make sure things didn’t get out of hand, so to speak.  Needless-to-say, neither Will Smith nor Chris Rock were in attendance.

Given the shock of last year’s incident, everyone minded their manners and ultimately there were few surprises.  Still, the event was an emotional ride given the troubled times we’re living in and the need to remind ourselves of the immersive power of the movies.

Given that, a pure cinematic experience walked away with the evening’s top honor.  The bizarre multi-verse adventure Everything Everywhere All At Once won seven Oscars including Best Picture, Director(s), Original Screenplay, both Supporting Actor awards, film editing and Lead Actress for Michelle Yeoh.  It may not have been the best film of 2023, but it was a reminder of the power of originality in an era when Hollywood persistently wades in the safer waters of sequels, reboots, remakes, rehashes and brand names (two of which were nominated for Best Picture).

Both supporting awards went as expected.  Ke Quay Kwan, a former child actor in films like Goonies and Indiana Jones the Temple of Doom thanked everyone including his wife and his former Goonies co-star Jeff Cohen.  Meanwhile Jamie Lee Curtis, who has been a movie star since her first film, Halloween back in 1978, thanked her family of actors and then broke into tears while thanking mother Janet Leigh and father Tony Curtis, both of whom have passed.

The sole acting award NOT given to Everything Everywhere All At Once went to a tearful Brendan Fraser, the year’s comeback kid who has climbed his way back from personal injury and public accusation to play a 600-pound man trying to reconnect with his daughter in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale.

Canadian writer/director Sarah Polley won the Adapted Screenplay award for her adaptation of Woman Talking, the story of a group of Mennonite women who realize that they are being drugged and raped in their sleep by the men in their community and gather together to decide what to do about it.  Polley, dressed in a tuxedo, thanked the Academy for bestowing a movie featuring the industries two dirtiest words: women and talking.

In a year when the list of total nominees did not lean in the ladies favor, the ladies that did win, made it count.  Aside from Polley, two-time Costume Design winner Ruth Carter (the first black woman to ever win two Oscars) won for Wakanda Forever and thanked her mother who passed away last week at the age of 101.  Carter is in her sixties and so is Lead Actress Michelle Yeoh who spoke out on the importance of hiring women of a certain age.

A bigger portion of the evening went to Edward Berger’s German-language adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front, a Netflix production that won four awards for International Feature as well as Best Score, Cinematography and Production Design – all of which were accompanied by the films signature Bwaahm Bahm Baaahm!

Overall the temperature of this year’s awards was light, breezy, evenly paced and generally heart-felt.  No one got too political.  Nothing controversial.  No one committed assault and battery.  Host Jimmy Kimmel kept things moving without giving an astounding performance.  It was one of those shows that won’t go down in the history books but, given the events that transpired last year, this is probably exactly what we needed, an evening that reminded us of what this evening was all about, being a global community, a community of unity and love bound up in the pure power of movies.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
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