After 2 years of pandemic disruption and violent anarchy, the Academy Awards was desperately in need of a good old fashioned, dull evening. It was time to get back to basics, it was time to get everyone sat in rows facing the stage, it was time for a single host to lead from the front with witty, put down fuelled monologue that never got too close to offending anyone. It was time to get ALL categories awarded live and in person. It was time to calm the Academy down.
I’m pleased to say that that is basically what we got. If you are into your reality TV where nobody’s interested unless there is a fight, then last night would have been quite a slog. However, for us reclusive geeky few, who just want to sit quietly, caffeinated up to the eyeballs (it’s on in the middle of the night in the UK) and watch a celebration of the industry we love the most, this was just what the Academy Gods ordered.
Jimmy Kimmel was the dependable safe pair of hands the Academy was crying out for. It wouldn’t surprise me that much if Kimmel’s agent’s phone was pinging the moment Mr Smith decided to slap Mr Rock. Kimmel is not edgy, he is rather likeable and was never going to go all Gervais like on an audience who just wanted to get through the night. He did a good job, his opening monologue was very safe (I’m saying that word a lot), and not as good as his previous efforts in 2017 (envelope-gate) and 2018. The inevitable references to the slap were generally ok, as the show moved into the 3rd hour and attentions were potentially flagging he produced the zinger “At this point we’re kind of missing the slapping”. He didn’t always land though, an awful gag about Chris Pine spitting on Harry Styles which poor Malala was pulled into was the evening’s low point. However overall I like having a host, it gives a bit of structure to the show.
To be honest after the last two years I wasn’t hugely concerned about the winners, I just wanted to get through it. I’m not a huge fan of confrontation especially on one of my favourite nights of the year. Having said, I’m not strictly telling the truth either because of course Mr Spielberg was up for Best Director. Back in the Autumn he was the hot favourite, but a mixture of peaking too soon and a rather “can’t be arsed” campaign saw him slip behind the eventual winners The Daniels (see it took two to beat him), who had turned up to every opening of every envelope this award season. They weren’t the only ones. I’m a big fan of Everything Everywhere All At Once, but some of their campaigning has been so in your face that I started to wish they would miss in a few areas. None more so than the legendary Jamie Lee Curtis who secured the ultimate campaign inspired career recognition Oscar. She wasn’t even the best supporting actress in the film, never mind the competition.
However I definitely do not begrudge Ke Huy Quan, a huge part of my childhood, thanks to his turns in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies. He is a brilliant example of never giving up, knowing who you are and being true to yourself. His win was a pure delight for people watching but more importantly for him. I haven’t seen anyone be so excited to win an Oscar since Roberto Benigni. Quan’s win was matched for me personally, by Michelle Yeoh. The Academy could have played it safe and awarded Cate Blanchett again for her stirring performance in TAR but thankfully, and no disrespect to Ms Blanchett, but she’ll win again, maybe Michelle Yeoh won’t.
Here is a list of the other things I very much enjoyed
- Naatu Naatu the performance was the highlight of the night and thrilled they won
- Hugh Grant’s scrotum gag
- Michael B Jordan and Jonathan Majors presenting together
- Legends such as Nicole Kidman, Samuel L Jackson, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Sigourney Weaver and Halle Berry all taking to the stage. I do love Golden Hollywood and always look for the true legends.
- Guillermo Del Toro winning again.
- John Travolta
Not many if I’m honest. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good montage and there were none of those, well none in the UK anyway, I believe in the US they got a 100 years of WB montage presented by Morgan Freeman and Margot Robbie.
Once again they seemed to randomly pick who they were going to play off the stage mid-speech, that’s never good.
A personal one, I think all presenters should be best known for their work in the film industry. I realise Pedro Pascal is a big deal at the minute, but for a TV show, that’s not why we’re here.
A nice show, nothing spectacular, but a calming back to basics. I’m disappointed Mr Spielberg didn’t win, more because I’m not sure he is going to be there too many more times. However thrilled for Michelle Yeoh and in particular Ke Huy Quan. If you had told me back in the 80s that that super cool kid would win an Oscar I probably would have responded with
See you all next year
My name is Dominic Holder and I like to promote the beauty and wonder of Cinema in my writing. I spend a lot of time promoting the power of Cinema as a tool of wellbeing to anyone and everyone. I love all kinds of films but in particular, I am a devoted fan of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, John Williams, Star Wars, Disney and Marvel. My love of Cinema stems from a trip as a 4-year-old to local cinema in Bolton to watch a Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back double bill, it was the first in a series of life-changing moments, I knew from the moment the Imperial Star Destroyer engulfed the screen at the start of A New Hope I was hooked. Thankfully nearly 40 years later I still get excited and still find escapism and happiness within this wonderful medium.
You can follow me on Twitter @DomHolder and read some of my reviews on Letterboxd at letterboxd.com/DomH
You can read more of my blogs on Film at www.dominicholder.wordpress.com