The long-winded but largely inoffensive 2023 Academy Awards concluded with “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the multiversal action-drama from directing pair Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (the Daniels), winning Best Picture at the ceremony on Sunday, March 12.
“Everything Everywhere” entered with 11 nominations and won seven, the most of the ceremony. Along with Best Picture, the film took home Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for the Daniels, Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan, Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis and Best Film Editing.
Quan and Yeoh’s acceptance speeches were highlights of the night, covering their immigrant narratives and time in the industry with grace and pathos. Both had received their first Oscar nominations this year after several decades in Hollywood, as did Curtis. Yeoh was also the first woman of color to win Best Actress since Halle Berry in 2001, with Berry presenting Yeoh her award this year.
German war drama “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which came into the awards tied with “The Banshees of Inisherin” for the second-most nominations at nine, won four Oscars for Best International Feature Film, Best Original Score, Best Production Design and Best Cinematography.
Brendan Fraser was given Best Actor for his performance in “The Whale,” which also won Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
Fraser, also a first-time nominee, gave an emotional acceptance speech that was warmly received by the audience. The win comes after a significant period of time during which the actor was effectively blacklisted from the industry for allegations of sexual assault he made against a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Scattered throughout the night were performances of the nominees for Best Original Song. The winner, “Naatu Naatu,” from Indian action blockbuster “RRR,” was by far the best of these, with the performers bringing high energy and an impressive mix of singing and dancing.
Lenny Kravitz also performed his song “Calling All Angels” for the in-memoriam segment, which remembered members of the industry that had passed away within the last year.
Other wins for features included Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” taking Best Adapted Screenplay, “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” taking Best Animated Feature Film, “Navalny” taking Best Documentary Feature, “Top Gun: Maverick” taking Best Sound, “Avatar: The Way of Water” taking Best Visual Effects and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” taking Best Costume Design, with Ruth Carter becoming the first black woman to win an Oscar twice.
Short film awards went to “The Elephant Whisperers” for Best Documentary Short Subject, “An Irish Goodbye” for Best Live Action Short Film and “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” for Best Animated Short Film.
Jimmy Kimmel hosted the telecast for the third time. Though not as aggressively obnoxious as the previous year’s hosts, the talk-show staple still found a way to drag out the event with weak jokes and poorly thought-out bits.
The Academy had reversed the decision it made last year to pre-record some of the awards, which Kimmel joked about in his opening monologue, asking winners to keep their speeches to 45 seconds in order to keep the show to a manageable length.
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Despite this, the Oscars still ran almost four hours due to an influx of poor attempts at comedy, unnecessary interruptions and a seemingly endless barrage of commercial breaks, such as the premiere of a new trailer for Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Disney is the owner of ABC, the network which typically airs the Academy Awards.
One particularly ill-conceived bit involved Kimmel entering the audience to ask some of the nominees questions “submitted by fans.” These included joking about Colin Farrel’s (natural) Irish accent in “The Banshees of Inisherin” and, most annoyingly, asking Malala Yousafzai, who was an executive producer on one of the short films, if she thought Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine during “Don’t Worry Darling’s” press cycle.
“I only talk about peace” Yousafzai responded, clearly uncomfortable.
Kimmel also made several references to last year’s altercation where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife, none of which seemed to land with those in attendance.
The night closed with Kimmel walking off stage and flipping a sign that read “number of Oscars telecasts without incident” to one.