The Oscar ceremony featured a lot of 'Everything Everywhere At Once', which marked a revival for theatrical releases in an year that saw Netflix still be the dominant streaming service.
If the Academy wanted a drama-free awards after last year's incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock, the group can breathe a sigh of relief over not needing to call upon the services of the crisis-public-relations team that it retained just in case.
Instead, they received a heartfelt, moving ceremony. Riz Ahmed, actor, observed the show about an hour in. He had presented best documentary to CNN Films' presentation 'Navalny'. 'It’s an emotional year.'
It was. It was.
The science-fiction idea was so unique that it won seven awards. This included writing and directing for Daniel Kwan (known as "Daniels") and Daniel Scheinert. This is the highest number of hardware ever for a movie, since 2009's 'Gravity' had that same total. It was a record last broken by a best picture nominee with 'Slumdog millionaire' 14 years earlier.
Although it didn't surpass the blockbuster of the year, "Everything Everywhere" was a theatrical surprise hit that grossed more than $100,000,000 worldwide. This record was set by A24, its independent distributor.
Brendan Fraser, who was also part of the movie's makeup crew, was rewarded with more tears. Michelle Yeoh, from 'Everything Everywhere, received her historic lead actress statuette for her role as an Asian woman. Halle Berry was there to kiss her award.
Ruth E. Carter, the costume designer for 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,' was the first Black woman to win two Oscars. She also asked Chadwick Boseman, the late Chadwick Boseman, to take care of her mother, who died recently at 101.
Lady Gaga's rendition of "Hold My Hand" from "Top Gun: Maverick" also included a tribute to Tony Scott. This was an evening that maximized entertainment by placing star-driven musical performances at the center.
After literally parachuting into ceremony, Jimmy Kimmel set the tone. He delivered an opening monologue that poked fun and humour at last year's event and the high-profile guests who were there (in this case, Tom Cruise and James Cameron), but didn't seem to be mean-spirited.
Kimmel still delivered the night’s most pointed zinger. He said, "Editors can transform 44,000 hours worth of violent insurrection footage to a respectful sightseeing tour to the Capitol," referring to Tucker Carlson's controversial presentation, which he culled exclusively from footage provided by Kevin McCarthy.
The awards were presented by Hollywood to promote its theater business. However, Netflix saw the benefit of its investment in movies and won seven awards. The German remake of 'All Quiet on the Western Front' won four awards - production design, international feature, music score, and cinematography. The other three were for best animated stop-motion film 'Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio', best song for RRR's buoyant Naatu Naatu', and the documentary short titled 'The Elephant Whisperers'.
The Oscars also reflect the commercial pressures. They featured what amounts to in-broadcast promo plugs for Disney's "The Little Mermaid" and a celebration Warner Bros.'s history, blurring distinctions between the industry and the show. (CNN is a Warner Bros. unit. Discovery.)
The Academy presented all 23 categories in a crowd pleasing manner, but that didn't help streamline an event that lasted over 3 1/2 hours. Kimmel was quick to add, "We now join Good Morning America, already in progress."
1 out of 36
The award season that built up to this year's 95th Oscars was a 'awards-season'. It gave the impression that 'Everything Everywhere All at Once" would win the most coveted prize. This prize was recognized by the Independent Spirit Awards and guilds representing actors, directors and writers. All constituents of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which votes on the awards.
The Oscars are presented in an industry in flux. It seeks to recover the theatrical audience that was lost to the pandemic, while also building streaming platforms that have thrived in terms attracting subscribers from all over the world, but are struggling to make a profit.
Streaming titles, "CODA" and "Nomadland," won best picture in each of the previous two cycles. However, Smith's appearance to slap Rock last year was somewhat overshadowed. Just before the pandemic, 'Parasite', a South Korean thriller, was named best picture.
The major studios plan to release a strong summer of theatrical films, hoping to capitalize on the box-office returns generated this year by two of the best-picture nominees, 'Top Gun: Maverick,' and 'Avatar: The Way of Water. Each of these sequels' global earnings dwarfed the eight other contenders.
One last thought: Hollywood's appreciation for blockbuster films only extends to the extent of awards. On Sunday night, 'Top Gun' and 'Avatar’ each won one Oscar for sound and visual effects.