A Summary of the 2023 Oscars
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.”
The 2023 SAG Awards
On Sunday, February 26, 2023, Hollywood’s most famous actors and actresses gathered at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Century City, California, to celebrate the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards and award the best of film and television of 2022. This year, Netflix broadcasted the award show live, drawing in a larger audience. On the red carpet, stars wore luxury designers like Valentino, Carolina Herrera, Saint Laurent, and Louis Vuitton. The awards ceremony presented nominees from popular shows like The White Lotus, Abbott Elementary, and Wednesday. This star-studded night was filled with glitz, glamor, and celebration of the best film and television entertainment of this past year.
On the red carpet, celebrities like Zendaya, Emily Blunt, and Jenna Ortega stepped out onto the runway wearing showstopping looks. Two of the main fashion trends that can be seen in this year’s red-carpet styles are bold colors and texture. Best actress nominee, Zendaya, wore a custom light pink Valentino strapless gown, embossed with pink roses covering the bottom of the gown’s skirt, making a stunning arrival at the SAG awards. Jenna Ortega, the star of Netflix’s Wednesday, decided to do something unique and wear a vintage gown. Designed by Atelier Versace for their Fall/Winter collection in 1994, this one-shoulder black patent leather gown is a bold statement. The leather texture of the gown adds another rare element to this beautiful vintage dress, and this dark gothic themed dress perfectly matches the actress’s mystical style. Showcasing another set of bold colors, actress Emily Blunt wore a red floor length Oscar de la Renta gown from their Fall/Winter 2023 collection. This gown is bandage-style, with dozens of sheer cutouts throughout the length. Purple orchid-like flowers cascade from the bottom all the way up to the shoulder of the dress, with intricate green leaves sewn in as well.
In addition to the wonderful fashion looks that were seen on the red carpet, there were many monumental monuments to be noted from the awards ceremony as well. The film, Everything Everywhere All at Once, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, won five awards, including: “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” and “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role” for Jamie Lee Curtis’s role. The film follows the ventures of Michelle Yeoh as she works as a heroine, using her powers to fight interdimensional dangers. The other television program that won many awards was The White Lotus. Jennifer Coolidge was named the best actress in a drama series for her performance in the show, and the cast won the “Best Ensemble in a Drama Series.” The White Lotus follows the vacation lives of various guests at the White Lotus resort, with a star-studded cast including Aubrey Plaza and Theo James.
The actors and actresses of 2022 did not disappoint in their fashion choices for the SAG awards this year. Bold colors and texture were seen across many dresses, forecasting trends for the upcoming spring and summer seasons. The film Everything Everywhere All at Once took home five awards, and The White Lotus was celebrated abundantly as well.
Going Over the 2023 Oscar Best Picture Nominations
Like a seasonal influx of plague-carrying rats in 14th century Europe, the Oscars return once again to present a handful of films as the supposed best of the year. Here is a short breakdown of each best picture nominee so you can brag to your friends that you’re a cinema expert after picking the incredibly niche one as your winning horse.
Top Gun: Maverick: It’s a one to one remake of Top Gun but with the great Miles Teller from Whiplash. Are you fond of Top Gun? If so, you have probably already seen this eighty-seven times. It is generally a pretty charming film, despite being derivative of the original. The aerial cinematography is phenomenal and really impressive.
Everything Everywhere All at Once: A zany but heartfelt story where martial arts star Michelle Yeoh learns to utilize different alternate lives across the multiverse. This had a massive following when it came out, and fans of the film are extremely passionate. I think the blend of creativity and celebrity talent lends Everything Everywhere All at Once a solid shot at taking home an award or two.
Avatar: The Way of Water: Despite taking over a decade, James Cameron’s second film about ten-foot tall blue CGI cat people did actually come out this year. Narratively, The Way of Water is a little bit of a hot mess, but it’s visually beautiful and Cameron really knows how to shoot a movie. Great creature designs, above-average modern action, and generally pretty watchable even if it does suffer from a lot of issues carried over from the first film. At the very least, Avatar is probably winning best visual effects or something similar.
Elvis: Continuing the recent and extremely popular trend of the dramatic celebrity biopic this year is Elvis, in which Tom Hanks does a questionable accent for two hours. Austin Butler’s performance garnered a massive amount of praise and launched him to immediate stardom.
The Fabelmans: Steven Spielberg’s love letter to cinema, and likely a lot of his own experiences, is captured beautifully through this coming of age story about a young film enthusiast. It’s Steven Spielberg, the man is great.
Women Talking: Women Talking is a tense drama about the horror of sexual abuse, in this case in a small religious community.
Tár: Starring the great Cate Blanchett as a monstrous composer, Tár is stressful, engaging, and thoughtful, and it has generated a lot of buzz online.
Other nominations include The Banshees of Inisherin, a tale of a broken relationship between two friends living on a small Irish island; Triangle of Sadness, a classic but interesting premise of the super-rich being marooned on a desert island; and All Quiet on the Western Front, a remake of a classic war film based on a book of the same name.