Oscars Bring Many First-Time Winners to a Mostly Enjoyable Night



Oscars statues ready to be given out.

Airing on Sunday, March 12, The 95th Academy Awards was genuinely a spectacle. From the star-studded guests, glamor, and joy to the excitement, it was incredible to watch. From the very start of the night, it was a sight, with an FA-18 flyover and a hilarious Jimmy Kimmel appearing to parachute down from the ceiling after the daring Pete “Maverick” Mitchell instructed him to eject. With Jimmy Kimmel’s third time hosting the prestigious show, he ultimately left the audience in laughter. He gave a well-needed undramatic 3 hours after the apparent events from last year’s program.

The show opened with the Best Animated Feature, the fantastic Guillermo del Toro, for his horrifying but creative depiction of the Pinnochio folktale. This marked Guillermo’s third Oscar, the last being The Shape of Water. Still, for Guillermo, his newest film was more important than anything he had made; in his speech, he said, “Please help us keep the animation in the conversation,” as he believed they should genuinely be kept alive and considered for Best Picture categories in the future.

Among the 11 nominations given to Everything Everywhere All at Once, the film won 7 of their nominations, completely dominating the night. The show was exceptional, with 16 first-time nominees and 8 first-time winners; it left many in tears of joy and surprised most of the global audience.

As the show progressed, it was evident that, like in past years, despite an attempt at speeding up the show, all efforts failed. This year could easily be compared to the 2010 Academy Awards, during the time when there was an uproar due to the repetitive and dullness throughout the previous show. Unlike the 2010 Oscars, it had its surprises, but parallel to the 2010 show, it had its predictability regarding winners and the topics the host would address. When the SAG awards came out a couple of weeks before the Oscars, it played an essential role in setting the agenda for the Oscars, as winners from the SAG most likely win their nominated category at the Academy Awards. Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ke Kuy Quan were evidence of winning SAG awards in their respective Oscar categories.

Throughout the program, the hilarious comedian Jimmy Kimmel, although having pretty humorous material, continued to speak on the Will Smith incident from the previous year. Although it’s a given that it needed to be addressed, Kimmel made it a central joke and became dull rapidly throughout the show.

As the show went on, the Best Actor and Actress in a supporting role were finally announced Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis, both hard-working actors that have been working towards this for over 25 years. With Ke’s original appearances in Goonies, Indiana Jones, and Jamie appearing in Halloween at a young age, both actors have significantly given their all to the academy of motion pictures.

In addition, both took the time to honor their parents with their words, genuinely capturing their kindness and giving the audience watching at home a way to connect with them amid their outstanding accomplishments. These wins were genuinely deserving. Their speeches are what significantly affirm their success, from Ke Huy saying, “Mom, I just won an Oscar” as the crowd erupted in cheering to Jamie saying, “My mother and my father were both nominated for Oscars in different categories,” and as she cried she looked upward and said, “I just won an Oscar.” These two have truly cemented themselves in the greatness of film history.

Following these came Brendan Fraser’s well-deserving Best Actor win for his devastating but hardworking performance in The Whale earlier last year. His win comes after a surprising but triumphant return to Hollywood after his break from acting due to personal issues, including health problems, divorce, his mother’s passing, and the apparent assault by the then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The minute Brendan Fraser reached the stage with tears in his eyes, the audience and everyone watching at home could see the importance of this award to him.

After 10 years of being Hollywood’s biggest stunt hero in all action films, Brendan took time away from acting, but the wait for his return was well worth it. In his performance in The Whale, Brendan Fraser went through a significant transformation physically and mentally to become the character. Despite prosthetics and CGI, Fraser put on over 100 pounds for the role cementing himself alongside some of the best method actors in history, such as Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey, and Joaquin Phoenix. Brendan deserved every bit of the recognition he now receives and is one of the most outstanding winners in Oscar history.

While for Best Actress, Michelle Yeoh gave the performance of a lifetime in Everything Everywhere All at Once, giving her the award for Best Actress. Her win marks the first Asian woman to win an Oscar in the category, significantly setting her apart from other winners. Her performance will inspire more Asian-American women to fight for these leading roles in Hollywood, as the recognition is still not there.

On top of this award, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert dominated the night by winning Best Director and Best Picture for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Their incredible direction and writing for their film massively inspired and coordinated their cast and crew to create one of the best films in Hollywood history.

As much as the Oscars this year proved to be a generally predictable show, some winners are a shock to some. One is the best score, as this year John Williams was predicted to win for best score for his work on The Fabelmans after being the oldest nominated composer in history at 91. This award was instead given to Volker Bertelmann for his score in All Quiet on the Western Front, a genuinely gruesome but brutal tone depicting the horrors of WW1 from the German’s perspective.

Another surprise was RRR’s win for best song with ‘Naatu Naatu.’ Although RRR wasn’t Oscar worthy of its writing, it was truly inspiring and incredible for its visual depictions. Its win is a fantastic accomplishment for Indian culture worldwide and shines a light on the greatness of young Indian artists. These surprises were the pieces needed to help create a meaningful and worthy program.

As much as this show wasn’t as comedy based or had skits or scripted moments as its primary focus, it shined a light on minorities that hadn’t seen the recognition they deserve and recognized young artists behind the camera that deserve all the success in the world. This 95th Oscars, although repetitive at times, reminded new and older generations that the days of theaters and cinema are not done, and the spark and fire created by these films have yet to dwindle.