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A year after ‘Slap’, the Oscars are just trying to weather the storm

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After 3 hours and 35 minutes, the 2023 Oscars ceremony came to an end in waves. Best Picture (with director and screenplay) winner Daniel Scheinert spent a few seconds of his stage time (following “Everything Everywhere All At Once” producer Jonathan Wang and co-director Daniel Kwan) looking directly into the camera, thanking the audience for watching, and waving goodbye. Like his films, the parting words are a bit cheesy, and like A24’s ceremony to honor its seven trophies, it’s delivered with understated sincerity – maybe you won’t remember his wave next year, but that’s okay.

Why? Because that’s not a slap in the face.

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The less said the better about last year’s Oscars events – after a year of reaction, analysis, investigation and revisit Will Smith’s attack on Chris Rock, we have to move on – but it would be disingenuous to act as if it didn’t affect what we saw from the 95th Academy Awards. After all, “The Slap” isn’t really its only negative. catastrophic production Inspire change. It’s just the only thing the mass audience remembers. So with plenty of feel-good winners expected to win in 2023 (and, indeed, many of them did make it to the stage), it makes some sense for producers to go all-in on the average telecast; a An evening designed to commemorate artistic achievement, and only to commemorate artistic achievement.

Mainly, they succeeded. Scrolling through Twitter during the telecast and reflecting on events now, it’s nice to go back to carping for choices rather than breaking out of unexpected acts of violence. The 2023 Oscars did a lot of things right (they awarded all categories, live!), but also got a lot wrong. (The “Little Mermaid” trailer marks Disney’s shocking and ominous overreach.) Headlines should be full of long-awaited success stories and historically positive milestoneWith a few years left on ABC’s Oscars contract, the Oscars did what it needed to do to re-establish a benchmark of competence. Does it inspire hope for next year, not to mention the future of the awards show? Well, that’s a different story.

Lady Gaga at the 2023 Oscars - Credit: ABC

Lady Gaga at the 2023 Oscars – Credit: ABC

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So, in the spirit of the night’s big winners, let’s start with the highlights. Host Jimmy Kimmel managed to create a relaxed atmosphere from the start, which was not as easy as it sounds, with the room packed with dozens of nervous nominees and two U.S. Navy fighter jets flying overhead. After the parachute came down from the rafters, Kimmel squeezed in two Best Picture nominees in his opening line — “Give me a second to adjust my danger zone — my banshees are trapped by my Inisherin Live.” —Steven Spielberg, before teasing the mood with Nicole Kidman’s ad at AMC Theaters drugand the force that binds all the actors together: “The Encino Man”.

That’s not to say the late-night veteran is playing it safe. He blamed the “Babylon” bombing (at the risk of being outraged by the film’s rabid fans, not an industry that didn’t like it), blasted the Academy’s glaring nomination omissions (“How could you not nominate the man who directed Avatar?” ? What kind of woman do they think he is?”), and Kimmel even digs Scientology into the same line as a tribute to Tom Cruise. (Reference “Top Gun: Maverick” shirtless beach soccer scene, “L Ron Hubba Hubba, you know what I’m talking about?”)

Kimmel’s opening monologue doesn’t live up to being historically hilarious or maddeningly inept—it’s solid, and he continues to deliver admirably in fits and starts throughout the show.One of his standout post-monologue segments — “The Fan’s Question” as hands on stage prepare for Rihanna’s performance — may do more harm than good, his unnecessary “La La Land” riff Malala Yousafzaithe indeterminate revival of the name and his fakes matt damon feud. But it’s also hard to be upset that Colin Farrell is on the show, especially since he’s being robbed of Best Actor.

Which brings us to the bread and butter of the Oscars: the speeches. Ke Huy Quan set the bar high as his enthusiasm throughout the long awards season sparked countless tears of joy as a crying Ariana DeBose called out his name. He was the first of three actors to receive the award, and the first of two to thank their 84-year-old mother. (Michelle Yeoh did, too.) Ruth Carter was in tears, making moms cheer; the Black Panther costume designer not only won her second Oscar (becoming the only woman to win more than one Oscar for Black Woman), and she dedicated her award to her mom. “This is for my mom,” she said. “Chadwick, please take care of mom.”

Sarah Polley’s Surprise Best Screenplay Win — And a Well-Written Speech — Helps Drive Oscars’ Last Hour, and ‘RRR’ Songwriter MM KilawaniThe speech was sung to the tune of a carpenter song and Yeoh’s triumphant address to all the “little girls who look like me” and any women who might have been told they were “past puberty.” Meanwhile, Brendan Fraser’s rousing ovations were overshadowed by the sweet excitement delivered by the near-total calm of serial winner Daniels.

Brendan Fraser at the 2023 Oscars - Credit: ABC

Brendan Fraser at the 2023 Oscars – Credit: ABC

abc

No, there was nothing wrong with the Oscars speeches (although, as is customary, there were some dumb ones that were quickly forgotten).Problems with the structure of the telecast — including, say, an ad for Disney’s summer marquee exist actual ceremony. ‘The Little Mermaid’ stars Melissa McCarthy and Halle Bailey took to the stage to reveal a trailer for the live-action remake, essentially Eliminate line Between the Academy and its network partners. Using the Oscars as a springboard for upcoming films is a good idea, but the blunt promotional tool has to be kept in actual commercials.

On a technical level, tempo is also a recurring issue. After Jamie Lee Curtis won back-to-back with “Everywhere” — and two big, rousing speeches in a row — the show didn’t cut into commercials as usual . Instead, they entered the first best song performance. Quan and Curtis’ big moments didn’t have a chance to get in, and They were overshadowed by Diane Warren’s performance – a point that telecast director Glenn Weiss emphasized to the two actors backstage, while Warren won Loud applause from the audience.

The best song performance was also a mixed blessing. After Rihanna’s stellar performance at the Super Bowl, her Oscars show was filled with emotional moments, but the singing of “Wakanda Forever” was quietly Come and go. Lady Gaga’s vocals struggled to recreate the intimacy and impact of her iconic “A Star Is Born” duet with Bradley Cooper, but the extreme close-ups felt shaky for a song destined to soar and confusion. (Even the stripped-down version requires a certain amount of stillness, where Gaga oozes energy, but the camera is betrayed by laborious attempts to zoom and track, zoom and track.) Even the much-anticipated “Naatu Naatu” dance routine incur criticism Because of its over-fidelity to the film and the lack of South Asian artists involved in the production. (The stage proved to be another visual feature, as each winner’s themed background provided cool frame some speeches and unforgettable choice for others. However, I do like using marquees! )

Still, the 2023 Oscars passed through unscathed. This year’s awards show will likely be remembered for the winners – an ideal catch indeed for a show that only exists to honor our best filmmakers – although once the ratings come in, many questions will linger. Should producers be taking bigger steps amid declining ratings? Or should they go the extra mile on top of the ritual and strive to produce something beautiful and respectable? These are all key questions, just not this year. In 2023, the Oscars are just trying to save face.

As the absentee Tom Cruise once said – kind of preemptive, sure, but true nonetheless: “mission completed.”

Grade: B

The 95th Academy Awards took place in Los Angeles, California on Sunday, March 12 and was broadcast live on ABC.

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