“And the Oscar goes to …” The highly anticipated awards ceremony premiered recently on March 12, 2023 at 8 p.m. EST. The four hour event was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, in his third bout hosting, with numerous A-list actors and actresses presenting the awards throughout the night.
Now the most awarded film of all time, “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” won the most Oscars of the night, with seven major wins, including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Directing, Best Film Editing and Best Original Screenplay. “All Quiet on the Western Front” won the second most Oscars, with four wins.
This Oscars had some notable historic wins and memorable moments, most especially for Michelle Yeoh winning Best Actress in a Leading Role, becoming the first Asian actress to win the award in Oscar history, as well as becoming the second woman of color to have won the award, over 20 years after Halle Berry’s win in 2001. Ke Huay Quan won Best Actor in a Supporting Role, a huge honor for his first performance after many years away from the acting scene. His win was followed by a standing ovation by the entire academy, in which he gave a sincere, moving speech that will be remembered for decades to come. Ruth Carter won her second Oscar for Costume Design for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” becoming the first Black woman to have multiple wins in any Oscars category.
Stunning performances were put on throughout the night of all the songs nominated for Best Original Song. Rihanna’s performance of her song “Lift me Up” and Stepahnie Hsu and David Byrne’s duo performance of “This is the Life” received great praise and recognition, however singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava brought to life their brilliant song “Naatu, Naatu” with a performance that has since garnered some controversy, despite the song going on to win Best Original Song later that evening. According to Variety, there was a glaring lack of South Asian representation in the performance as the singers were not joined by a single dancer of South Asian descent. Many South Asian dancers have come forward to note that this performance should not merely have been the bare minimum of representation, but rather should have been an opportunity for South Asian performers to showcase their talent..
There were a number of controversial and cringeworthy moments that occurred throughout the Oscars. Host Jimmy Kimmel did not hold back on any opportune moment to joke or reference “the slap,” an incident that occurred at last year’s Oscars, which did not sit well with many watchers as Kimmel kept up the jokes for the entire ceremony, which quickly became unamusing. There was a particularly controversial moment where Kimmel asked human rights activist, Malala Yousafzai, about her thoughts on the Spitgate, which was a speculated moment that had many wondering whether Harry Styles had spit on Chris Pine, where she responded with “I only talk about peace” to which Kimmel kept joking, “And that’s why they call you Malala. … The winner’s Malala Land, everyone!” Malala has since announced that she was not bothered by the bit, but for many others, the moment left a bad taste in their mouths.
The biggest snubs of the night have also been an outcry for many, particularly Jamie Lee Curtis’ win for her performance in “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” over Stephanie Hsu’s performance in the film, or Angela Bassett’s in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Many expressed excitement over seeing Jamie Lee Curtis finally win after many years in the industry, especially in comparison to her parents, who have only been Oscar nominated. Despite this, the overwhelming consensus is in agreement that Jamie Lee Curtis should have won an Oscar, but for a greater role than the one she had in EEAAO, whereas Stephanie Hsu and Angela Bassett had more powerful performances than Curtis’. With snubs in mind, there were other Best Picture nominees who did not win a single Academy Award; The Banshees of Inisherin, Tár, The Fabelmans and Elvis all went home without any Oscar wins.
Personally, I enjoyed the Oscars, despite the snubs and cringeworthy bits, as I got to see some pretty awesome historic wins, as well as phenomenal speeches, and I had my personal favorite prediction right, with Brendan Fraser having won Best Actor for his role in “The Whale.”