Although Everything Everywhere All at Once didn’t win all 11 awards for which it was nominated, it still made a strong showing by claiming seven of them—most notably best picture, best original screenplay, best director, best supporting actor and actress, best actress, and best editing. For a moment it seemed that All Quiet On The Western Front might be making a comeback, yet Everything Everywhere All at Once managed to hold its own. Surprisingly, some of the films that had been considered frontrunners for major awards were completely snubbed, such as Tár, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fabelmans and Elvis.
The entire list of 20 acting nominees, 16 of whom were first-time nominees, led to some very emotional and stirring moments. As anticipated, the four awards for supporting actor and supporting actress went to two groundbreaking newcomers.
Ke Huy Quan experienced a rollercoaster ride with his Hollywood career, going from a big start as a child actor in movies like Indiana Jones and The Goonies to being shut out of the industry, only to come roaring back with his award-winning performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Jamie Lee Curtis also won for the same movie, but her journey has been quite different. Emerging in 1978 with Halloween at the age of 20, Jamie has since been in a variety of films, from comedies to family-friendly ones to horror, and expressed her appreciation for all her collaborators over the past 45 years.
Michelle Yeoh, the celebrated superstar who became the first Asian female to take home the Best Actress award, was the third acting honoree of Everything Everywhere. She showed her gratitude to her parents, family, and the history they were making with the film. Brendan Fraser, who was once a major heartthrob in the industry and then saw his career take a downturn, was the victor this time around. His prominent role in The Whale this year is a testament to Hollywood’s ability to occasionally rediscover and appreciate performers, even if it doesn’t happen often.
Jimmy Kimmel, in his opening monologue, expressed hope that 2022 would be the year of a Comeback for theaters after the disruption caused by COVID. Notable films such as Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick, were both box office successes and nominated for Best Picture. It seems fitting that Avatar won for Visual Effects, and Top Gun: Maverick for Sound, highlighting their status as spectacular films. This year made one thing clear – we are back.
This year’s Oscars, which have been seen as a comeback for the Academy, have reinforced the industry’s narrative of revival. But the ceremony has also been an attempt by the organisation to re-energise interest after many years of claims that the ratings were declining because popular films weren’t being nominated. It’s uncertain whether this was the solution to the ratings issue, as had been previously speculated, but if this year’s show didn’t do it then nominating blockbusters isn’t the answer.
The Academy’s history with inclusion has been patchy, at best. The most notable moments of the night were Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan’s wins – being the first and second Asian performers to win in their respective categories. However, there are many other indicators of representation that remain unfavourable. Ruth Carter, who was the first Black woman to win two Oscars in the same year, is one example. Despite these individual successes, disparities remain and progress is continuingly sluggish.
The Oscars have still shown their appreciation for war movies, with the Netflix version of All Quiet on the Western Front being recognised with awards for score, cinematography, production design and international feature. Although there was not much buzz surrounding it before the awards ceremony, the Academy’s fondness for epic wartime sequences became apparent as it started to accumulate awards. This was a very traditional choice in every way, except that it is a non-English language film.
This served as a reminder of how far Netflix has come in recent years. It has secured itself a prominent place at the Oscars, as evidenced by the numerous awards for All Quiet on the Western Front, as well as the nomination for Ana de Armas for Blonde, which demonstrates Netflix’s successful campaigning efforts.
The Academy Awards stayed the same as it usually is: no major changes, only a few montages, a heartfelt In Memoriam, an adequate monologue, captivating musical acts by Lady Gaga and Rihanna, and a return to the conventional theater seating. It was a return to the norm, without any surprises or stunts–just the Oscars. And, of course, David Byrne’s unforgettable performance with hot dog fingers.