Yep it was Oscar night again and here I give you my thoughts on what happened last night in Los Angeles. Or at least what stayed in the mind for me. There will not be a great deal of structure, but oh well, let's take the brainstorming route. Here we go: Glenn Weiss was once again in charge of the direction and the show ran for slightly under three hours not counting commercial breaks, so the entire thing was probably closer to four hours than three hours in total. This is why watching it the next day is maybe not the worst choice, especially if it not shown live in one of your local theaters. This was the 95th edition now in 2023, so this means that the centennial anniversary is just half a decade away, but they surely have to step things up until then if they wanna get it right. You see from my rating that I was not particularly big on the outcome here, but at least it was a bit better than last year's show which was a total disaster. Not only because of Will Smith winning and punching, but also because of him. The 2023 event was fairly harmless in comparison, almost tame you could say. The host was Jimmy Kimmel again and with him probably most remember the mess with the Best Picture (non-)winner "La La Land" and the actual winner "Moonlight", but there was no controversy really this year. Some people did not like the comment he made about a deceased actor when it came to his omission in the in-memoriam segment and no matter if the man was guilty or now, it was a bit harsh I would say. The real problem, however, there was that it was not funny either. Then he could have gotten away with it better, but the "send this and that to some number" talk was just not entertaining.
Apart from that, Kimmel had fairly solid material this time and also his delivery was not totally bad. I honestly cannot stand him at all because of stuff he has done in the past, so I was not happy when I read a weak ago or so that he would be hosting, but I think it could have gone way worse in this department. I mean he is a full-on liberal like most people in Hollywood (except those in disguise) and he had to let it out once when mocking a Republican party member, but he even talked about Joe Biden and his son Hunter when he compared Rogen and Spielberg to them, so it was not direct criticism directed at the older Biden at least, actually it was none at all against PotUS, but it was also not super kind and normally we are really used to Kimmel and the gang just finding everything super awesome that the Democrats do and ignoring their crimes. So it is fairly telling that Biden is so disliked in America right now that even Hollywood slightly leashes out at him. I thought it was funny, also how Spielberg and Rogen reacted to it, but generally I still think politics should be excluded from shows like this. Luckily, there was no major focus on Russia and the Ukraine here or none even I think unless I missed it. No bizarre out-of-place interview with the Ukrainian leader here. Back to Kimmel, other moments I liked were when he joked twice about the running time, especially the recent change and how the Oscars get one additional hour this way and I also liked his brief talk reference to what happened least year that this is the point of the show where you hope for an escalation like this. Oh well. So yeah, he was alright, but honestly I also would not have minded the show going hostless again. We will see what they do next year. Not every line from him was a winner though. I mean the female-empowering shot at James Cameron I didn't like too much.
But he was bearable, probably also because he did not have really a gigantic amount of screen time. It was just right number-wise. He also brought a donkey once, was it really the one from "The Banshees of Inisherin"? I am not too sure. But donkeys are the best, so I appreciate the inclusion. If it had to get on a plane, then I hope it coped well with the situation. Otherwise, these few seconds on the big stage would not have been worth it no matter how many millions were watching. Now away from Kimmel: I already mentioned the in-memoriam segment and seeing John Travolta tear up there in the light of his former co-star's recent death was heartbreaking and touching. Surely the best moment of the show to me. It felt authentic. Or if it wasn't, then at least Travolta is still a brilliant actor. In general, I think it is a good idea to bring somebody there who has a connection with one of the deceased. Do it in 2024 again! With Lenny Kravitz's song afterwards I am not so sure actually if I liked it. Have to let it settle a bit. Could have been better, could have been worse. I think it was a bit of a change this year that they did not end the segment with a really big name as they usually do unless I missed it. It is okay. The order should not imply anyway that one is better or more memorable than others. Also difficult for me to pick one who I will miss more than others here. Burt Bacharach would definitely be a contender though. Also fairly heartbreaking that one of the key players behind the new "All Quiet on the Western Front" died too at a not old age at all, so she did not live to see the success anymore. I would have liked it if one of the winners from this film would have paid tribute to her, but oh well. Maybe it would have happened if the film had won Best Picture and you can say that with how the BAFTAs, but also the Oscar night went, that AQotWF was in second place.
But the big winner this Oscar ceremony was "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and this way the Academy keeps honoring movies with an Asian background. We all still remember "Parasite". I do like Asian films, but if I am completely honest, I am not big on either of the two and EEAaO winning so big this night was the worst aspect from the entire show for me. This also has nothing to do with me being German and frustrated that "our" film did not win as I am really not a huge fan of this one either. There are others I would have preferred, but I guess that with Jamie Lee Curtis' win early on we already had a safe indicator who would be winning Best Picture. The race there was probably not as open as it was in other years. JLC's win was for me personally maybe the worst of the night. I do not like her one but. She does not feel authentic to me and also I don't see a lot of range with her, so no surprise that she wins an Oscar for such a forgettable effort. Condon would have been a great winner, Bassett would have been tolerable as well. On the men's side, in terms of supporting, the win went to the same movie and this was much safer there. Quan only lost the BAFTA and otherwise dominated the awards season. His speech did not impress me either, especially when he starts talking about his immigrant past, but oh well, if there is anybody who deserves it from the film, then it was him. The two directors were just the epitome of embarrassing to me. The punk jacket one was wearing oh well. I mean I don't care about clothes or fashion at all, but this was just a mess, also the cool aggressive gesture he made towards the camera before one commercial break before turning all into smiles. Very bizarre all along. Before I move on to other films, let me say that JLC referencing her Oscar-nominated parents on stage was also not exactly a glorious moment. Oh yeah, Yeoh won of course too unfortunately. Well, I will always remember her for being a Bond girl. I don't think she did anything really special in this EEAaO film here and I would have preferred Blanchett to win. I read somebody say Yeoh was on autopilot for most of the film and I would agree.
Now a few words on the other categories: Short film winners were fine and even if I was not cheering for the Irish film there, it was still nice to see one win at least after it wasn't meant to be for Banshees and the one in the foreign language category. The little birthday song from the crowd was cool too. By the way, Banderas and Hayek presented the aforementioned category this year and I liked them both, especially Banderas, but it was a bit forgettable. The harmless nominee winning animation short was nice too, even if they had to get in a joke on one of the other nominees. Never in doubt. The screenplay wins I am not a fan of at all. Maybe worst of the decade for me. The Best Picture winner beating EEAaO was bad enough already and sadly also "Women Talking" won and I was not really big on this film either. Polley has a unique career though, sadly not a good acceptance speech from her. Kazuo Ishiguro winning would have been amazing, but it wasn't mean to be. Nighy I also would have preferred to win over Fraser, but I can live with Fraser. With the exception of Mescal, all Best Actor nominees were pretty cool. Fraser's triumph was in a way indicated also early on already as his movie beat "Elvis" in a bit of a surprising fashion for make-up and also Farrell, who only had small chances anyway, had to bury his dream when Banshees lost Screenplay, if not before that already. But he got the nomination at least finally, whoch is cool and deserving too. Just like Gleeson for whom I am even happier. In general, there was not a lot of love for "Elvis" from the Academy. It was a favorite, even if not an overwhelming one, in two categories and lost them both. "Babylon" did also worse than expected, not just financially how Kimmel told us.. Hurwitz had to feel the reality there, while I felt how odd it was to see a German composer win an Oscar while being nominated against John Williams. But yeah, like Kimmel said, William's win record is really not too great. He won one nomination out of ten in a category of five nominees. Animated feature went to Pinocchio and del Toro in perhaps the safest win of the night. Or maybe that was Avatar. The end of the review is near. I could go on and on, but let me finish it by saying that I am glad Lady Gaga didn't win this time again. I give the 2023 Oscars a thumbs-down.