Luckily, no one got hit. After last year, the Oscars 2023 had a ridiculously low bar to clear, and they did it. Both the ceremony and the field wanted to leave the past behind.
No matter how hard they try, it seems like the Academy Awards can’t get rid of the ghosts of tragedy or the past.
Winners and people who were interviewed both talked about how they got through hard times and moved on. It seemed like the Academy liked every movie that tried to go beyond violence and sadness, like Women Talking, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Whale, and the big winner, Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. A costume designer named Ruth E. Carter recently talked about how the deaths of Chadwick Boseman and her own mother affected her work.
Brendan Fraser’s acceptance speech for the best actor award made him look like he couldn’t hold back his tears. In other words, Fraser hasn’t tried to hide the fact that he’s had trouble. This year, he didn’t go to the Golden Globes because, in his words, “my mother didn’t raise a liar.” One idea for why Fraser “retreated” from Hollywood for so long is that he was traumatised by Philip Berk, the former head of the organisation that puts on the Globes, groping him in 2003. (In 2018, Berk said Fraser’s claim was “a blatant lie,” but he has since apologised to the actor without admitting guilt.)
Both Ke Huy Quan, who won the award for best supporting actor, and Michelle Yeoh, who has talked a lot about how hard she worked to get noticed, had stories that had a common theme in the entertainment business: redemption. Everything, All at Once was billed as a “David” in a world of “Goliaths,” but the Academy liked it best. Many of the cast and crew felt the same way about how the film’s characters didn’t live up to their full potential because Hollywood’s elite didn’t treat them the same.
All of the 2023 Oscar nominees, from Brendan Fraser to Ke Huy Quan, are likely to have a happy ending, since Hollywood loves comebacks by the underdog.
Brilliant Sarah Polley has talked about her time as a child actor on the set of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. She won a statuette for her adaptation of Women Talking, a novel by Miriam Toews about the real-life abuse of women in a Mennonite community. Then there was All Quiet on the Western Front, a movie that showed the horrors of World War I in a very real way. It won four Academy Awards, including one for best foreign film.
There were deserving nominees in every category, and many people went to the Oscars hoping that movies like Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick, and The Banshees of Inisherin would win. However, Baz Luhrmann and others like him were passed over because of their old tricks. We’re all in the middle of healing, no matter how much we try to hide it. That’s why stories about second chances and fresh starts always hit home.
Leila Latif is a freelance writer and critic who… We’d like to ask you for a favour when you come to join us from India in 2023. We are excited to see what this new year will bring, and we pray that it will bring the world the stability and growth it needs so badly. The Guardian will always be there to report on what’s going on in the world in a clear, unbiased way.
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