The 95th Academy Awards, presented by a precise Jimmy Kimmell, was predictable, historic, and without any moments of surprise. Sorry for the organizers, but an Oscar without incident is a bore. The 2023 Oscars party was smooth, and to the point, with no embarrassment or even long speeches, which means it won’t be memorable (for the wrong reasons, of course).
It’s nobody’s fault. There is so much content that I bet no one remembers without taking a beat who won in 2020 or 2021, even in Best Director, Actor, or Actress categories. The night of 2023 was historic and emotional, with a great actor making his emotional return, two actresses over 60 winning their first nominations, and an unlikely popular actor also making a comeback. Two beginners beating the veterans, one night without slaps, and only one near-fall to name. Was it a bad night? No! But with so much predictability, we miss the thrill.
Short speeches, in the right tone, and a look of disappointment here and there, but overall it was a night full of spoilers. As I said before here on Miscelana, I didn’t like Everything Everywhere All at Once at all and I wasn’t thrilled with the remake of All’s Quiet on the Western’s Front either, so it was a dull night for me. The only ‘surprise’ and very pleasant was the Oscar for Sarah Polley, an artist whose career in independent, engaged, and consistent cinema saw her recognition with the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Much deserved for the film and for the body of work of this authorial, intelligent, and talented director.
Other than that, I really liked how Jimmy Kimmell held the audience. The anchor role is always unfortunate because it has to be respectful but fun and set the tone for the party. Jimmy was “gifted” with one of the worst events in the year that La La Land lost, and was left out of the Oscars for three years – two of the pandemic and one where they elected three women to present – marking his return in 2023. I think he came to stay and, for me, it’s already the best replacement for Billy Crystal, the most popular news anchor after Bob Hope. For younger generations (I don’t even remember Bob Hope!): Billy Crystal has presented the Oscar nine times, while Bob Hope, 19. It seems ironic, but Billy “suffered” until he was effectively “accepted” as Bob’s official replacement, but it also brought the presentation to a more curious side. Since he created the opening clip where he mixed nominees with him questioning whether he should present the Oscar, the opening act was one of the most eagerly awaited of the party.
The others intelligently avoided imitating him and the most Jimmy did was the parachute entry (literally) after a clip with Tom Cruise. Jimmy, like Billy, can be tongue-in-cheek, but he’s popular with entertainers and keeps the “safe place” where his jokes aren’t offensive. Maybe Will Smith disagrees, as well as Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington, who hugged the actor after the slap, also the target of the opening “joke”: “We want you to have fun, feel safe and, most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” he started, “So, we have strict policies in pace. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech. But seriously, the academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the show, sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”
The most embarrassing moment of the night plays with the hit movie, Bear with cocaine, but even “Bear” was correct and it wasn’t the worst of the night. Let me think again… no, Bear WAS the skid of the night, but good for him!
As almost all the winners were the same as the previous awards, the repetition of “dreams come true” was the mantra. Beautiful, exciting, but far away. Not even on the red carpet – now white – had really daring and unforgettable looks. The most beautiful of the night were the usual ones – Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Angela Bassett, wonderful – and there’s nothing to comment on there. Do you know what I predict? Regrettably, I really believe that, despite the historical moments, the 95th will be a forgotten Oscar in a short time.
Did any categories surprise you?