In a year where Netflix, the leading streaming service, continued to make its influence felt, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was everywhere at the Oscars, signaling a comeback for theatrical movies.
After the incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock at the awards show last year, the Academy can now relax knowing that it won’t need to use the crisis-public-relations team it had hired as a backup plan.
Instead, they witnessed a frequently touching and affecting event, which led actor Riz Ahmed to remark, “It’s an emotional year,” after presenting the best documentary award to CNN Films’ “Navalny,” nearly an hour into the show.
Indeed, it was. Key Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis, who both won supporting acting awards for “Everything Everywhere,” set a very high standard for those who came after them with their emotional acceptance speeches. Quan referred to his win as “the American dream,” and Curtis repeatedly said, “I just won an Oscar,” addressing everyone she wished to thank, including her late parents Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, who were both nominated for an Oscar.
Seven awards were eventually given out for the bizarre science-fiction idea, including one for writing and directing for the “Daniels” team of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. That number of awards hasn’t been surpassed by the best picture winner since “Slumdog Millionaire” won the award 14 years ago; “Gravity” tied it in 2014.
“Everything Everywhere” was a surprising box office success, surpassing $100 million in worldwide revenue, setting a record for its independent distributor, A24, without coming close to the year’s biggest blockbusters.
More tears were shed as Halle Berry presented Michelle Yeoh with her historic lead actress statuette as an Asian woman from another trailblazer, Brendan Fraser, who also earned recognition for his efforts in “The Whale,” along with the makeup team for the film.
Ruth E. Carter, the first Black woman to win two Oscars and costume designer for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” glanced up and asked the late Chadwick Boseman to take care of her mother, who had just passed away at 101.
On an evening that maximized its entertainment aspects by placing star-driven musical performances front and center, Lady Gaga’s performance of “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick” also included a memorial to the late Tony Scott, who directed the original.
After literally parachuting into the ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel established the tone with a humorous opening monologue that made fun of the event, the upsetting incident from the previous year, and the high-profile attendees who were there and weren’t (in the case of Tom Cruise and James Cameron).
The night’s sharpest jab came from Kimmel, who said after receiving the editing award, “Editors can turn 44,000 hours of violent insurrection footage into a respectful sightseeing tour of the Capitol.” He was alluding to Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s contentious presentation, which was based on a video made exclusively available to him by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Netflix reaped the rewards of its investment in movies with seven awards, although the recognition came as Hollywood sought to push its theatrical business. The German remake “All Quiet on the Western Front” won four of them, including best international feature, production design, musical score, and cinematography. It also won best-animated film for the stop-motion “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” best song for “RRR’s” upbeat “Naatu Naatu,” and the documentary short “The Elephant Whisperers.”
With what amounted to in-broadcast promotional plugs for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” and a celebration of Warner Bros.’ heritage, the Oscars also demonstrated the accommodations being made to commercial pressures, blurring the boundary between ads for the industry and the presentation itself.
Even though the Academy decided to fully display all 23 categories, this complicated effort to streamline a ceremony that took more than three and a half hours, led Kimmel to joke at the end that “We now join ‘Good Morning America,’ already in process.”
The Independent Spirit Awards and the guilds that represent actors, directors, writers, producers, and editors—all members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which casts the votes for the Oscars—recognized “Everything Everywhere All at Once” as the most deserving winner during the “awards season” leading up to this year’s 95th Academy Awards.
The Oscars this year take place as the entertainment industry continues to be in transition, trying to rebuild the theatrical audience that the pandemic decimated while also developing streaming platforms that thrived in terms of adding subscribers with everyone at home but are having difficulty becoming profitable.
In the previous two rounds, streaming films “CODA” and “Nomadland” took home the best picture award, but last year’s triumph was somewhat tarnished by Smith approaching the stage to slap Rock. “Parasite,” a South Korean thriller, was the first non-English-language film to win best picture just before the pandemic spread.
The major studios are preparing for a busy summer of theatrical releases to build on the box office success of two of this year’s best-picture nominees, the long-awaited sequels “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water,” whose individual global earnings dwarfed those of the other eight contenders combined.
One other thing to remember: Hollywood’s gratitude for blockbusters only goes so far when it comes to awards. On Sunday night, “Avatar” and “Top Gun” each won one Oscar for visual effects and sound, respectively.
The Oscar ceremony, also known as the Academy Awards, is an annual awards ceremony presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The ceremony honors outstanding achievements in the film industry, including acting, directing, cinematography, music, and more.
The first Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929, and it has since become one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies in the entertainment industry. The ceremony usually takes place in late February or early March, and it is televised live in over 200 countries around the world.
The ceremony is typically hosted by a celebrity, and it includes musical performances and other entertainment segments. It is a highly anticipated event in the entertainment industry, and many people around the world tune in to watch their favorite stars walk the red carpet and receive awards for their outstanding work in film.