Imagine: the ugliest Oscars ceremony in history was followed a year later by perhaps the warmest celebration in history.
The 95th edition, which took place on Sunday night, at a dangerous time for the film industry and the Academy, the latter now under the new CEO management team Bill Kramer and president janet yang – was dominated by Everything everywhere at oncea film that is certainly not for everyone, but apparently is so that enough of the 10,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prevail over formidable competition in the preferential ballot (read: weighted/ranked choice) that the organization uses to determine its best picture.
This movie of the twisted minds of the Daniels, as in, daniel kwan and daniel scheinertcolorful characters previously best known from 2016’s “fart corpse movie” swiss army man — was made by a diverse and lovable company of artists; it’s essentially a hybrid of the superhero movies audiences are increasingly loving and the art house fare the Academy is increasingly gravitating toward; and, when one looks beyond the “multiverse” of everything, it is really about the importance of tolerance, acceptance and kindness.
These are things also reflected and reflected in the acceptance speeches of everything everywhereOscar winners: the Daniels, who shared best picture (with jonathan wang), best director (making them the third duo to win, 61 years later Jerome Robbins and wise roberto won by West Side Story and 15 years later brothers Ethan Coen and joel coen won by No country for old men) and best original screenplay honors; michelle yeohthe veteran action star who became the first Asian winner for best actress; Ke Huy Quana former child star who returned to acting after a decades-long hiatus and won best supporting actor; Jamie Lee Curtis, scion of Hollywood royalty and beloved industry veteran; and paul rogerswho won the award for best film editing for only his second feature.
everything everywhere — which has grossed $106.7 million, the most of any A24 Films release to date — also exemplifies the strides the Academy has made in the seven years since the second consecutive #OscarsSoWhite installment. Although there was disappointment this year in some quarters because two films by black artists, Until and the king womanreceived zero Oscar nominations, it cannot be overlooked that the film with the most nominations (11) and wins (7) of the year had an Asian co-director and featured a cast that was almost entirely Asian, and that non-white people accounted for half of the performance wins.
The international audience was almost certainly buoyed by the Academy’s adoption of the work of the Asians, not just the team. everything everywherebut also the people behind a trio of projects from India: RRRthe sensational musical number “Naatu Naatu” won the award for best original song; everything that breathes it was nominated for best documentary feature; and the elephant whisperers won the award for best documentary short. People in Ireland also had plenty of reasons to worry about this year’s ceremony, as five of the 20 actors nominated, four of The Banshees of Inisherin and one of After the sun – and the team behind the eventual winner of best live action short film, an irish goodbyethey all hail from the Emerald Isle.
The positive and supportive vibe of this year’s broadcast was unmistakable: the results of all main categories received standing ovations, and I imagine this might have something to do with the fact that sixteen of the 20 interim finalists, including the four eventual winners (the everything everywhere threesome more brendan fraserwhose return to prominence in The whale brought him the best actor statuette), were nominated for the first time and visibly happy and excited to be there.
It was further boosted by the skillful hosting of jimmy kimmel, who was, as advertised, “unflappable (and unflappable)”, and was never particularly mean about anything; pleasant but not excessive musical performances from the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Lenny Kravitz; and acceptance speeches that were almost all short and sweet, with only one winning best documentary film. Navalnieven touching politics, and rightly so.
Groundbreaking independent film A24 is to be congratulated and respected for achieving something unprecedented in Oscar history: all six major Oscars (Picture, Director and all four acting categories) recognized contributions to the films it distributed.
It is especially notable that A24, which previously endorsed another film that won best picture, Moonlight – managed to keep everything everywhere in the conversation for over a year. The film premiered at SXSW on March 11, 2022, and was later released in the US on April 8, 2022; no eventual best picture winner had that early of a theatrical release from The silence of the lambs came out on February 14, 1991. And A24 seems to have spent less on everything everywherethan was spent on any recent best picture winner.
(Since champions in the media helped A24 overcome these challenges, it would have been nice if A24 had included the press in its big post-Oscar celebration, but, like Apple last year with codahe didn’t, which was a topic of discussion among my colleagues and competitors on Sunday).
While the 95th Academy Awards was dominated by an independent distributor (out of 23 categories, A24 films won nine), it was not a bad night for streamers who are increasingly central to the business. Netflix can claim responsibility for six wins: Best International Feature Film, Cinematography, Original Soundtrack, and Production Design for its German-language film. All calm on the west front; Best Animated Feature Film for Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro; and best documentary short film for the aforementioned elephant whisperers – while Apple took the only award it campaigned heavily for, best animated short, for The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse.
Inevitably though, other companies and movies left disappointed. Half of Best Picture Nominees Left Out Completely: Searchlight’s Banshees he went 0-for-9; Warner Elvis went 0-for-8 (with lead actor Austin Butler‘s loss likely in part as a result of voters assuming he will have more opportunities in the future than Fraser); universal The Fabelmans it was 0 of 7 (Steven Spielberg probably would have won his third directing Oscar and first in 24 years if it hadn’t been for the Daniels); Focus’ Tar went 0 for 6 (lead actress cate blanchett not helped by the fact that he already has two Oscars on his mantelpiece); and neon triangle of sadness it was 0 of 3.
Three other best picture nominees were dispatched with one win each: MGM-UAR’s women talking (sarah poley was awarded as best adapted screenplay); Paramount Top Gun: Maverick (only the best sound); and Avatar: The Path of Water (only better visual effects). top gun‘s tom cruise and Avatar‘s James Cameron he apparently saw the writing on the wall and opted to skip the ceremony entirely; It’s not the best thing to do when one’s studio has spent a fortune on the movie’s campaign, when one’s colleagues are up for a lot of awards, and when the Academy is desperate for big prizes. names to help attract viewers to the Oscars.
Historically, ratings for Oscar broadcasts have been tied to the popularity of the top contenders; for example, the ceremony a quarter of a century ago in which Titanic it was expected to dominate, and it did, was and remains the most watched ever, while the last two ceremonies, held during the darkest days of the pandemic, when movie attendance was decimated, drew the top two figures. history drops. Given the real-world popularity of this year’s top contenders: Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar, Elvis and if, everything everywhere — I would be very surprised and, frankly, concerned if this year’s ratings don’t pick up a bit from the last two. We’ll know in a few hours.
In the meantime, however, as we say goodbye to another Oscar season, I’d like to offer a few thanks: to my family, friends, and colleagues for their patience and support; contestants, particularly those who have been invited to my awards talk podcast, as well as their representatives who facilitate my coverage of them; and especially to you: I get to do a version of this stuff, which I still love, because you take the time to consume it, and for that I’m grateful.
Until next season (which has arguably already started), all the best to me.