Pardon me. I’m still slightly adjusting to the time change, and being in another time zone adds to that confusion. It is time to give brief thoughts on the 95th edition of the Academy Awards. The show itself wasn’t bad at all. For the most part, everybody got to say the entirety of their speeches, and the ceremony moved along considerably. Yeah, we got jokes about “the slap,” but thankfully, they didn’t run it into the ground (let’s put that situation in a box and never mention it again).
Here are some things from my mind and notebook about the Oscars.
1. First, let’s address the elephant in the room – the Best Supporting Actress award. That was a shocker to me (as it was to many people). I think Jamie Lee Curtis is a terrific actress and deserved all the accolades. However, I don’t feel she should have won for that particular role. Stephanie Hsu’s character played a more prominent and emotional heart within Everything Everywhere.
However, that was a tough category where multiple cases could be made. I know there has been a lot of discussion on Angela Bassett’s reaction to losing, and I’m sure she will gracefully address it in time. She wanted to win an award (and, to me, should have won), so we should allow people to be human. I hope that we don’t go through a number of these awards in the future and don’t recognize the greatness that is Angela Bassett. Maybe it’s a Marvel movie bias, but you can’t deny how powerful her performance was in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Given the immense emotional weight of that story, Bassett steals the film.
2. I’m extremely happy for Ke Huy Quan, Brendan Fraser, and Michelle Yeoh. How could you not be happy for Ke Huy? It’s one of the greatest comeback stories, and he should be getting calls for more roles. Given everything that Brendan Fraser has been through, this was a great success story. The legend of Michelle Yeoh can never be stated enough. In the 95 years that the Academy Awards have been going, this was the first year two Asian actors won in the same year. What? (I’ll get to this next).
3. There are a lot of insane statistics when it comes to the Academy Awards. It’s been 21 years since a woman of color won Best Actress and only two in its 95-year history. Ruth Carter was the first Black woman to win two Oscars in the Best Costume Design category. It was glaring that no women were in the Best Director category despite Women Talking winning Best Adapted Screenplay.
One of the beautiful throughlines of the ceremony was the mixture of immigrant stories and how these creators had amazing people in their corner who taught them never to give up on their dreams. That is the crux of the American dream that everybody should be able to partake in. With all these “firsts” still happening, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we still have so much road to travel. Especially given the specific attitudes of some Oscar votes out there.
Listen, if you do not like or resonate with a film, that’s perfectly fine. The beauty of art or cinema is that anybody can take different things from it. When you start being malicious because you can’t see the lack of diversity and take calling it out as an affront to your high horse, it’s wrong. Storytelling keeps going because the water draws from a well of different experiences and cultures. To not recognize there’s still an issue in who gets recognized is ignorance that needs to go away.
4. What a night for A24. The studio took away nine Oscar awards in further coordination with independent studios (including all four acting categories). A24 and Netflix are applying pressure on the “old guard” of studios.
5. I was surprised that Elvis, The Banshees of Insherin, and Tar didn’t win anything. The spirit of Elvis will dissipate from Austin Butler’s vocal cords any day now.