By Owen Glancy
On Sunday, March 12 the Oscars held their 95th anniversary ceremony, celebrating the best films that came out the previous year. Some of the major awards included Best Director and Best Picture, to more niche awards like Best Live Action Short and Best Original Song.
Typically, the Oscars are very wrong in who they award the many illustrious trophies to. While there are certain years in which the Academy does select the winners correctly, these are rare occurrences. Often the ceremony is more an excuse for the film industry’s elites to celebrate themselves, not to recognize the hard-working people that made truly impactful films that year.
In contrast to previous ceremonies, the 95th Oscars was full of excellent moments.
It didn’t get off to a good start. Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony and his jokes felt AI generated. Many of his one-liners were either predictable or unfunny, leading to plenty of awkward moments of silence.
Thankfully, Kimmel wasn't the focus for too long - a clear improvement from the ceremony’s past.
The awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short have a long and tragic history of being looked down upon by the Academy. Last year’s ceremony made a mockery of the art form, claiming it wasn’t cinema, and that it is exclusively for children.
After that travesty of an award presentation, this year made massive improvements. The award went to “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” which more than deserved it. Presenter Dwayne Johnson started by making the statement that "animation is art," a massive turnaround from the ceremony’s attitude last year. Winner Guillermo del Toro’s speech praising animation as cinema showed a clear improvement over the past and made for one of the best moments of the night.
When it was time to present the awards for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Ariana DeBose and Troy Kotsur came to the stage as presenters. Kotsur’s speech about deaf representation in Hollywood and his experiences with the 2021 film “CODA” was moving and perfectly prepared me for the two awards to come.
First up was Best Supporting Actor. This award went to Ke Huy Quan, for his performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” This was an incredible moment. Seeing Quan burst into tears as he thanked everyone from his mother to Harrison Ford, was moving. His speech will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the best moments from an Oscars ceremony.
Many of the following awards went to equally deserving recipients. “Avatar: The Way of Water” won the award for Best Visual Effects. “Top Gun: Maverick” won the award for Best Sound Design. “The Whale” won the award for Best Make-up and Hairstyling. “RRR” won the award for Best Original Song. “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse” won the award for Best Animated Short.
But of all the films that won awards, one easily swept the competition.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” took home seven awards: Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Editing, Best Original Screenplay, Best Directing, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Picture. It deserved nearly all these awards, and I am elated that it got the attention it deserved.
The last major thing of note is the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. This was possibly the most stacked award of the night, with heavy hitters like Colin Farrell, Austin Butler, and Paul Mescal. Of all the promising nominees, it went to the best possible candidate, Brendan Fraser.
Fraser’s performance in “The Whale” was powerful and moving. Fraser’s acceptance speech was phenomenal, leading me to get a bit teary-eyed at seeing a childhood hero finally get the recognition he deserved.
Previous Oscar ceremonies were littered with annoying hosts, poor choices in both nominees and winners, and a lack of powerful speeches that focused more on politics than the films that won. Seeing nearly all of these issues get resolved in one swoop is incredibly promising.
The 95th Oscars ceremony is proof that when the Academy wants, it can improve. I am more excited than ever to be a film lover, and I can’t wait to see how well this ceremony holds up in the future.