The Oscars slaps another ceremony onto film’s history


Many probably don’t keep up with the Academy Awards, and for good reason. While the Golden Globes invites comedians like Ricky Gervais to completely roast everyone at the event, ranging from calling out their elitism to straight-up insinuating that they are pedophiles. At the Oscars, however, a comedian delivering a simple bald joke could result in them being assaulted on live television with little to no consequences. From John Travolta’s ‘Idina Menzel’ gaffe to outright announcing the wrong winner for best picture, the Oscars take themselves way too seriously and reads like an over-the-top, self-aggrandizing mess, resulting in a show with many cringey jokes and mishandled moments. Despite the qualms many have with the Oscar presentation, winning an Academy Award is still a prestigious and coveted status, and this Oscars definitely represents a turning point for the industry.

With “CODA” winning best picture, Apple+ becomes the first streaming company to win the grand prize, a feat that will have other streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix kicking themselves for not beating the competition in this category. As for the movie that took home the most awards, “Dune” swept most of the technical categories like Sound Mixing and Video Editing and even won a Best Original Score award with Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack impressing the Academy with its alien sounding, pulsing orchestra and ‘Gladiator’ inspired vocals. If you have seen “Dune,” you know how great its special effects are, and the Academy didn’t miss the chance to award them. If we are talking about talking about missed chances, the very competitive category of Best Actress left Kristen Stewart’s spot on performance of Princess Diana in “Spencer” without an Academy Award, but Jessica Chastain, who also had a transformative performance this year as the evangelist and singer Tammy Faye, took home the gold.

As for Best Screenplay, talented actor Kenneth Branagh impressed the 94th award slate with his script for “Belfast,” telling the story of a boy growing up in the midst of sectarian violence talking place in Northern Ireland.  Branagh won the Oscar with a story very personal to him, as he was also born and raised in Belfast, which seems especially significant since he’s been nominated an impressive eight times by the Academy for other categories before winning this year. As for a first time winner, Troy Kotsur won for best supporting actor and delivered his speech in sign language. He impressed the academy with his performance in the film, “CODA,” which depicts the lives of a deaf family. As for other noteworthy winners, Billie Eilish is now the youngest Oscar winner and is just 20 years old and halfway to the very prestigious EGOT status (an artist winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award). Her song “No Time To Die” took home the Oscar for Best Original song, which you should give a listen if you haven’t already.

So, we should address the elephant in the room. Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Smith starring in a “G.I. Jane” sequel, a snide and insensitive reference to Jada’s alopecia and bald cut hair. In response, Will Smith went up on stage and slapped Chris Rock with the confidence you could only find from a person who is, as Will Smith said in his off kilter acceptance speech for Best Actor, “a fierce defender of his family.” I’ve genuinely been shocked and second-hand embarrassed for people going out of their way to defend this type of behavior. Imagine if Will Smith had alopecia and Chris Rock made a bald joke about him, and Jada went up on stage and slapped Chris Rock. She would be escorted out by security. It’s kind of amazing how much leeway we give for men “defending their families.”

All in all, the 94th Academy Awards represented a pretty boring year in film.  The only Oscar-winning movies I’m interested in investigating further are “CODA” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” Aside from the Smith slap, people would have been surprised Oscars were given out this year. Hopefully, the 95th Academy Awards will fix some of the cringey jokes and self-aggrandizement the Oscars have become known for.