A Night of Film to Remember: The 95th Academy Awards


Acquired from Pixabay

Every year, the American film industry, otherwise known as Hollywood, gathers at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California to honor and commemorate deserving actors and actresses that have shown impeccable performances in film in the past year. Not to be confused with the Emmys, which solely focuses on television programs, the Oscars tend to only nominate film productions and movies. The awards night celebrated its 95th year being hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), on March 12th of this year.

Who ultimately decides on the five nominations for each category of awards? The Academy consists of prestigious film actors, directors, and producers in Hollywood that have been chosen to join the organization, and are then allowed to vote for award categories. The membership of the AMPAS has grown dramatically over the past five years, largely in response to the criticism the Academy has historically been received for being an “old white man’s club.” According to a 2013 survey conducted by The Los Angeles Times, 84% of Oscar voters were on average 63 years old, 76% of them were males, and 93% of them were white. In a more recent year, the pop culture magazine Statista indicates that in 2022, the majority of Oscars voters were still predominantly white, at a whopping 81% of all members. 19% were non-white or racial minorities, and 67% of voters were men.  Although there are over 25 different categories for nominations, today we will be focusing on Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Picture.

Best Directing: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert won the Oscar for Best Directing for their mind-bending film Everything Everywhere All at Once. The movie wowed audiences and critics alike with its unique storytelling, stunning visuals, and standout performances from its cast. Kwan and Scheinert’s innovative approach to filmmaking pushed the boundaries of the medium and left a lasting impression on those who watched their movie. Their win was well-deserved recognition of their exceptional talent and creativity, and solidified their place as some of the most exciting filmmakers working today. The film did decidedly well in Hollywood, winning seven academy awards in one night alone.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser’s Oscar win in The Whale was a triumph for the actor who has experienced a career resurgence in recent years. In the film, Fraser plays a man struggling with obesity and grief, delivering a nuanced and powerful performance that left audiences moved. He beat out stiff competition from the likes of Austin Butler, Colin Farrell, Bill Nighy, and Paul Mescal, all of whom gave noteworthy performances in their own right. Butler portrayed a complex and troubled character in the gritty drama, Elvis, while Farrell delivered a tour-de-force performance in The Banshees of Inisherin. Nighy showcased his range in the period piece, Living, while Mescal brought heart and soul to the poignant indie film, Aftersun. Ultimately, however, it was Fraser’s standout performance that won the day, cementing his place as one of the most talented actors of his generation.

Many praise his resilience, strength, and success despite being blacklisted by Hollywood after he claimed in 2003 that he’d been sexually abused by a producer in the industry. Fraser embodies the elements of being a survivor, staying true to oneself, and not listening to others, which ultimately led him to become one of the most established and successful actors today.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Michelle Yeoh

The award went to none other than Everything Everywhere All at Once’s lead actress, Michelle Yeoh. As Michelle Yeoh accepted her well-deserved Oscar, she not only made history as the first Asian woman to win Best Actress and second woman of color after Halle Berry, but also opened doors for women of color in Hollywood. Yeoh’s win serves as a reminder of the incredible talent and contributions that women of color have made in the film industry, despite often being overlooked and undervalued. Her win also represents a shift towards greater diversity and representation in Hollywood, and highlights the need for more opportunities and recognition for talented women of color. Yeoh’s win will undoubtedly inspire and empower future generations of actresses, paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable entertainment industry that has historically been dominated by well-connected and wealthy white individuals that largely benefit from nepotism.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Ke Huy Quan

Ke Huy Quan won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his outstanding performance in the film Everything Everywhere All at Once.  The Vietnamese-American actor, known for his iconic roles in movies such as “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, delivered a remarkable performance as the eccentric and charismatic character of Uncle Jimmy in the film. Quan’s portrayal of the character was praised for its convolution and unconventionality, which brought a new dimension to the film. Similar to his co-star Michelle Yeoh, his win marked a significant milestone for Asian-American representation in Hollywood and was celebrated by fans and industry peers alike.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis won the Best Supporting Actress award at the 95th Academy Awards for her outstanding performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Having been in the industry for over 45 years, playing roles in iconic films such as Laurie Strode in the Halloween series and Linda Drysdale in Knives Out, this win was long-awaited and more than well-deserved. In the film, Curtis played the role of a fierce and complex character named Dolores, who navigates through various parallel universes to save her family and the world from a looming, ominous threat. Her performance was widely praised for its emotional depth, humor, nuance, and physicality. This win marked a significant milestone in Curtis’s illustrious career, confirming her status as a versatile and talented actor who can captivate audiences with her wide range and intensity.

Best Picture: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Not quite a surprise, Everything Everywhere All at Once took home the coveted Oscar for Best Picture, and for good reason. The film, directed by the talented duo of Daniels (Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan), is an epitome of creativity, blending genres and subverting expectations in a way that feels entirely fresh and new. With breathtaking cinematography, a powerful and moving story, and incredible performances from an ensemble cast led by the always-brilliant Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once is a true masterpiece of modern cinema. Its win was well-deserved and cemented its place as a landmark film of the 21st century, one that most certainly will not be forgotten.