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Oscars analysis: First-timers lift the show’s spirits and emotions at the old-school Cannes Academy Awards in a good way


As far as this year’s Academy Awards go, it was undoubtedly a year counting.

It was huge counting To Best Actor and Supporting Actor winners Brendan Fraser and former child actor Ki Hui Kwan, ironically co-starring in 1991 Encino Man who have – finally – risen to the pinnacle of their profession in 2023.

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It was also huge counting For actresses in their sixties, Best Actress Michelle Yeoh and Supporting Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who have trodden genre pictures for most of their careers only to find unexpected industry respect in a quirky indie hit shot three years earlier, before the pandemic.

She was counting For comedy itself in a new form that proves that you don’t always have to be serious to sweep the Oscars.

It was also a file counting At the time, the tradition of the solo comedian to host the Academy Awards was honored, as well counting For the third time and first since 2018 for Jimmy Kimmel.

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It was also nice to see the counting For the Oscars presentation that celebrated, front and center, the return to theaters.

Finally, it was a counting To present the same Oscar, back to the comfort zone, a little angst, a little controversy, good vibes, heartfelt speeches, old school but in an elegant way to stage the ceremony with all 23 categories back. He lives After last year’s disaster.

I’m not sure how it’s shown on TV, but after a pandemic and slap it was nice to see an Oscar show so committed to tradition. The past year has been incredibly tense. This year we all got snack boxes under our seats thanks to Kimmel, who gave everyone lunch boxes the last time he hosted. tasty.

The big guns of the two best movies of the year weren’t there. Tom Cruise was filming in the UK James Cameron could not attend due to personal reasons (eulogy) but everyone else was in the room and for the party which can sometimes feel overwhelming it was nice to see the real excitement of not only the first time winners in the major categories , but also each one first time candidate. This just made it all that much more special.

Political talk was at a minimum, and cinematic talk and clips were back at a high level. And there were those sermons, all sincere and directed, about family. Much talk is about the mothers, present or distant, or in Curtis’ case, the fathers of mega-movie stars who once ran but never won.

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At the ball, just as I was about to leave, Kimmel suddenly appeared and walked by. I congratulate him on a great job landing most of the jokes, and ask him how he feels about it all. It was the speeches that made her special. “The speeches you always remember in these performances,” he told me modestly. There was no mistaking the group of acting winners, than Jamie Lee’s thanks to all who have honored her life and career with the repeated line, “we She won an Academy Award”, particularly her poignant mentions of her mother and father, to Yoh and Fraser and Chuan’s heartfelt impassioned talk about never giving up, no matter the odds.

In fact, producers Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner made good use of their host, getting him in and out of proceedings with ease. It also felt authentic because this is a host who really bothered to watch movies. At times, he was so excitable, at one point just before the anniversary segment, that he surveyed the audience to see if Robert Blake should be included in the Recently Deceased reel (he wasn’t).

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Another big plus was the elegant and powerful performances of the five nominated songs, from Diane Warren’s chorus-filled “Applause” to Rhianna’s sexy “Lift Me Up,” to the eventual winner. RRR’s An exciting dance on “Nato-Nato”. One of the biggest dramas at this year’s show was whether or not Lady Gaga would perform her nominated song, “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick. In a press conference on Wednesday, he put Weiss to bed and told reporters that he wouldn’t be on the show, and Gaga was unable to do so due to her filming commitments on the show. joker sequel. However, on Sunday morning suddenly word came out that it really was He was You sing it in Dolby. I met Weiss after the show and asked him when they knew he had changed. After a slight pause, he admitted that around Thursday they found out she was coming, but kept it a well-kept secret. It turned out to be one of the highlights of the show, a simple, stripped-down ensemble that paired Gaga, sans makeup and formal attire (to say the least) for a richer turn that really worked.

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The only thing that was not a file counting At this particular Oscars presentation, were there any surprises, and that was the only real surprise as many thought there could be a shock or two. But don’t we always think that at least there will be something Unexpected, then, with critics’ precursors abounding and syndicated offerings rarely there. I ventured out on a limb to be the only one expecting a surprise Best Picture win All Quiet on the Western Front, A feat that would have been historic since no remake of the previous Best Picture winner in Academy history won. My reasoning was that this movie was probably #2 in the top 10 picture races, and it turns out it has four wins including Best International Film (then, Everything is everywhere at once With only 7 wins Whale with 2 won more than one Oscar). I thought it was probably polarizing enough, especially for the older members, to lose enough space that it could be crossed out by a consistently mentioned favorite like all is quiet, or even Top Gun: Maverick Which has been getting buzz in the circles I’ve been to all weekend and even the pre-show in the lobby, but obviously Everything is everywhere The goods were. A former studio head told me over the weekend that he felt like it The best It should be voted Best Picture to show the Academy’s alignment with moviegoers. It ended up winning only Best Sound.

Everything is everywhere at once It clearly spoke to a large, likely younger group of voters who appreciated its bold incarnation, “something new,” as one producer who was a fan of the film put it to me. You’d still hope voters could pop it up a bit more, especially with a stellar cast of movies in full Close that included Elvis, Tar, Enchirin Tree, Triangle of Sorrow, And Steven Spielberg Fablemans The latter is a front runner after premiering in Toronto and winning the Audience Award there, proving once again that it’s a very long season and you don’t want to be the front runner right out of the gate. The Critics’ Choice Awards seem to have made a real turnaround in fortunes EEAAO And it didn’t get stuck after that. Still, Sunday night was not a big feast, but rather famine To filmmakers whose name is not Daniel.

Edward Berger, “All Quiet On The Western Front” Photo:

Hammond House

I thought we might be ripe for a surprise, especially with the preferential Oscar Best Picture balloting in search of consensus, but that wasn’t the case. You should still celebrate the triumph of a movie that has a very good heart and centers around the love of family, no matter how bizarre, the reason so many voters I spoke to had a hard time understanding it. Younger audiences weaned on multiverse stories don’t have this problem at all. I’m also not sure which movie to cast, but I still get the idea that this is one of only three films that have won three out of four Oscars, which is a really rare and amazing feat. The other two were in 1951 A Streetcar Named Desire and 1976 network. Very strong company. Entertaining and innovative EEAAO Is that I find it difficult to put it in the category of these two approved classics, but here we go. Considering its four nominations for acting overall, the film’s Oscar victory owes a lot to the Academy’s largest branch of actors, which no doubt catapulted it into the stratosphere to such an impressive triumph.

It’s also proof positive that you can never ignore the power of unions that signify an Oscar win. For the second year in a row, SAG has rounded the board with all film winners winning Academy Awards in the corresponding category. The PGA, DGA, and WGA (even with some disqualified headlines) also accurately predicted this outcome. On the other hand, BAFTA is almost ignored EEAAO With just a win tweak in favor of a sweep AQOTWFhas an increasingly outrageous track record of matching Best Picture to an Oscar, now only once in the past nine years has both agreed to Bedouin. The only problem, as usual, is that the season is too long, the other awards show too much, and there’s a sense that many Oscar voters are following the pack, rather than being on top.

Pinocchio in black tie at the Governors’ Ball, Photo by Pete Hammond/Deadline

I was very happy for a few of these gains, and especially for the sake of it Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro As the first Netflix movie to win Best Animated Feature. So happy to see one of Del Toro’s stop-motion models in attendance at the ball, wearing black tie. I was also thrilled to see Fraser win. I honored him this year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and no other nice guy or person deserves this award.

At the governor’s party, I was already navigating what this year might bring. The senior Apple and Paramount executives I spoke to there somewhat dodged my inquiry about whether Martin Scorsese’s Western epic, Moonflower Killers He was heading to Cannes, but I felt like he was. I’m also weighing in with a Universal executive about Christopher Nolan’s upcoming apocalyptic drama, Oppenheimer And that seems almost certain to be talked about a year from now, but you never know. Who would have thought we’d be looking at him EEAAO As a massive Best Picture winner just a year ago this week when it premiered at SXSW, it was hardly the launching pad for the Oscars campaign, right?

To A24’s credit, they kept this thing in theaters across the country, waiting months to get it digitally out and broadcast. This is a company that believes in the theatrical experience and we have to pay tribute to that. What’s also remarkable is that A24 spent the fewest campaign dollars compared to the other Best Picture nominees this year, which can be disheartening for studios and multi-million dollar Oscar campaigns, especially when you’re talking about a movie that’s been released for a solid year and managed to get that all-important momentum. Very just in time. You can’t beat “Big MO”. coda He pulled it off in a similar fashion late in the half last year. Oscar times are changing.’

The two Oscar executives I met at Govs Ball, after Dawn Hudson and presenter Bill Kramer, were elated by the way the show turned out, and both felt it captured the spirit of the best Oscars shows in a pre-pandemic era where emotion trumps everything, and they didn’t try to rewrite the book. on the subject of this presentation. It was good to see everyone The categories in the live show, and the interstitials highlighting the work of the nominees in upcoming categories was an inspired idea to show the Dolby audience during commercial breaks in an effort to keep them engaged – some were. Also shout out to the academy for getting digital tickets working perfectly (after a rocky first year) in year two for ditching paper tickets for the show and ball. Really impressive parking situation. I did well. Because of that and the quality of the films and the winners and losers, this was a very satisfying return to normal for the Oscars. Let’s hope it continues.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.