by Olivia Riportella '25 on April 8, 2023
Arts & Entertainment
The Academy Awards are back for the 95th annual Oscar celebration, paying tribute to a whopping nine and a half decades of cinema. The event took place this year on Sunday, March 12, returning to its home at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood, Los Angeles for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. After experimenting with multiple hosts at last year’s historic award ceremony, the Oscars invited Jimmy Kimmel back as the sole host for this year’s show, which honored movies released in 2022.
The 95th Academy Awards were one for the history books with a remarkable number of firsts. With performances from artists such as Rihanna and a surprise performance from Lady Gaga, the 95th celebration was star-studded indeed. Rihanna delivered a captivating tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman with her Black Panther: Wakanda Forever theme song “Lift Me Up,” which also received a nomination for best original song. Gaga confirmed her performance minutes before the ceremony, singing an emotional, stripped down version of her best original song nominated “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick. At the end of the night, the infectious “Naatu Naatu” from Indian blockbuster RRR took home the trophy for best original song, making history as the first Telugu song, and first Indian film, to win the original song Oscar.
Everything Everywhere All At Once had by far the biggest night at the Academy, as it took home seven awards out of its eleven nominations. Sweeping nearly all of the biggest categories in the film industry, the futuristic film from the studio A24 took home the award for best picture, best director, and three of the four major acting categories. Making history once again, Michelle Yeoh of Everything Everywhere All At Once took home the trophy for best actress, becoming the first Asian woman to receive the award. In an emotional comeback story, Ke Huy Quan took home the title for best supporting actor, becoming the first Vietnam born actor to win an Oscar. After early career success in movies such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies, Quan’s career grew stale to the point of resorting to stunt work. This win marks a big comeback for him. “Dreams are something you have to believe in,” Quan remarked in a tearful speech. “I almost gave up on mine. To everyone out there, please keep your dreams alive.”
The night became even more emotional when John Travolta returned to the stage at nearly 70 years old to introduce the In Memoriam tribute, as he tearfully remembered his late “Grease” co-star Olivia Newton-John, who passed away last year after a long battle with breast cancer. “In this industry, we have the rare luxury of getting to do what we love for a living, and sometimes getting to do it with people that we come to love,” Travolta said. “Since tonight is a celebration of the work and the accomplishments of our community this past year, it is only fitting that we celebrate those we’ve lost who’ve dedicated their lives to their craft, both in front of and behind the camera.” Using the words of one of Newton-John’s most famous Grease songs, Travolta ended with saying, “They’ve touched our hearts, they’ve made us smile, and became dear friends who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to.”