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The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

Review: 96th Oscars was predictable but fun

Graphic by Miina McCown

The 96th annual Academy Awards came and went Sunday, March 10, in what was a playful, if not slightly predictable show that stayed light on the politics and honored the year’s best in film. Even if some went home empty handed.

ABC stalwart Jimmy Kimmel, who returned for his fourth go at host, brought a confident and collected energy to the stage as he effortlessly moved along the evening’s events, even when acknowledging the show’s long run time.

Closing in on the halfway mark, Kimmel joked, “If this were an AMC theater, the movie would just be starting right now.”

And if you’ve been to an AMC theater recently, you’d know this to be true.

Later, as the event was nearing its end, he poked fun of how long the show can be dragged out, saying to the audience, “We’ve only got four awards left. Which shouldn’t take long, but it will.”

During his monologue, Kimmel acknowledge Robert DeNiro and Jodie Foster’s Oscar’s reunion, as they were both nominated this year, and had previously been nominated for their work together in 1976’s Taxi Driver, to which he joked, “In Taxi Driver, Foster was young enough to be DeNiro’s daughter, but now she is 20 years too old to be his girlfriend.”

Foster playfully laughed in agreement, nodding, “It’s true.”

He also had a moment with MVP of the night, Ryan Gosling, when the comedian joked, “Ryan, you’re so hot.” Then suggesting, “Let’s go camping together and not tell our wives.”

Later in the evening, he welcomed viewers back from a break with a dad joke about guests getting “Oppen-hammered.”

His best line though, was an unscripted retort to a certain former president who has a problem with posting on social media.

Returning from a commercial break, Kimmel read a review by former President Trump bashing the host’s performance. The comedian replied, “Thank you for watching, I’m surprised you’re still up, isn’t it past your jail time?” The one-liner earned a good laugh and re-energized the audience as the ceremony was coming to an end.

An end that was flubbed by a stammering Al Pacino and a wrong decision by the producers that led to an anti-climactic ending.

While Kimmel stayed (fairly) tame with his jokes, there were a few jabs made at the likes of Robert Downey, Jr., Madame Web, and Alabama Sen. Katie Britt that may have hit below the belt, but were funny, nonetheless.

Kimmel joked that Downey Jr., nominated for his performance as Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer, was at “the highest point of [his] career. Well, one of the highest.” To which, the actor tapped his nose in cheeky acknowledgment of a past recreation.

The host then quipped, “Was that too on the nose, or a drug motion you made?”

Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you do…?

Tell the host to “wrap it up,” is what RDJ did, after Kimmel’s bit went on a ‘bit’ too long.

His mild-mannered jokes may not have been the stuff of stand-up specials, but they more than adequately helped the three and a half hour run time not seem so tedious.

Memorable moments that also earned a laugh were John Cena’s streaker bit as he presented Best Costume Design “naked,” and when Barbie stars Kate McKinnon and America Ferrera presented the Best Documentary categories.

As Ferrera listed the real nominees, McKinnon took over, “Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Dominion…” To which Ferrera had to let McKinnon know were not actually documentaries and that the dinosaurs were CGI.

The SNL alum responded, asking, “My God, Dr. Spielberg, sir, is this true?”

The director let her down with a nod.

“But, uh, Jeff Goldblum is real, right,” McKinnon asked?

“No,” her co-star said bluntly.

“Then to whom have I been sending my tasteful nudes,” McKinnon wondered?

Spielberg reluctantly pointed to himself.

“You’re welcome,” McKinnon said, with a sultry breath.

Other highlights were Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling who put their Barbenheimer rivalry behind them with banter reminiscent of the 90’s and stars like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.

Then John Mulaney burst out into a full-on play-by-play of Field of Dreams as he presented Best Sound Mixing and proved himself a worthy candidate as future Oscar’s host.

As predicted, the night went to Oppenheimer with seven statue wins including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, among others. And no surprise that Da’Vine Joy Randolph took home the award for Best Supporting Actress. She had been the frontrunner after having a stellar awards season run, picking up wins at the Critics Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Golden Globes for her role in the Best Picture nominated film The Holdovers.

What wasn’t predicted was Emma Stone’s Best Actress win for her portrayal of Bella Baxter in the nominated Poor Things. She seemed just as surprised as anyone as she gave an endearing but anxious acceptance speech in which she reminded those watching that these films are a group effort and thanked the cast and crew that helped her bring Bella to life. She ended her speech with a heartfelt thank you to her husband and daughter.

Seven of the ten Best Picture nominees took home at least one award, but it was a shutout for Killers of the Flower Moon, Past Lives, and Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro.

Barbie didn’t fare well either, but did at least take home an award for Best Original Song for Billie Eilish’s hauntingly beautiful “What Was I Made For?”

The singer took the stage early in the night with her brother, Finneas, in a flawless performance of the award-winning song which culminated in a well-deserved standing ovation.

And Ken may have been number two in Barbie, but he was number one at the Oscars as Gosling gave an energetic and crowd-pleasing performance of Best Original Song nominee, “I’m Just Ken.” Gosling brought the house down as fellow Ken’s Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Scott Evans, and Ncuti Gatwa joined him on stage, along with guitarist Slash, and producer Mark Ronson for the performance of the night.

One breath of fresh air was the lack of political grandstanding that has become commonplace at the awards ceremony for the last decade or so. For the most part, award winners stuck to the basics; family, cast, crew, and management teams, and steered clear of the self-important soap-box diatribes the Oscars have come to be known for.

Kimmel did mention the Hollywood strikes that went on last year and brought below-the­­-line workers on stage for a round of applause and said he stands with them in solidarity as they go into their own round of negotiations. This was also met by standing ovation from those in attendance.

Jonathan Glazer denounced his Jewishness in his acceptance speech for Best International Feature Film and touched on the war between Israel and Palestinians, saying, “All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present, not to say look what they did then, rather look what we do now.” Adding, “Our film shows where dehumanization leads, at its worst.”

There was another moment when Ukrainian director Mstyslav Chernov gave a speech after he and his team won Best Documentary Feature for 20 Days in Mariupol in which he said, “I wish I’d never made this film,” because then Russia would have never attacked Ukraine and his people would not be at war.
In these instances, bringing up politics was appropriate and didn’t come off as preachy but timely to their respective wins.

Not everything hit though. Some banter lacked chemistry, and some musical numbers were outright boring. Sorry Becky G., that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos song was lukewarm at best.

And we could have done without the ‘In Memoriam’ piece or the actor intros for the performance awards. They take too much time and pull focus from what matters.

The ‘In Memoriam’ should be simple. A slide show that is clear and easy to read while the orchestra plays something soft in the background. Having live singers and dancers distracts from the montage of those that have passed.

The actor introductions come off as self-congratulatory or as though the actors are still campaigning. The votes are in. Give it up. Let the work speak for itself and go back to showing the best clips of their work and show us why they should win.

Stop telling us how great they are and let the clips play.

There should be one noted exception for Nicolas Cage who had a fun moment talking about Paul Giamatti’s commitment to his nominated role in The Holdovers.

Cage said of the actor, “Paul Giamatti was so committed, that for the character to have a lazy eye he wore a soft contact lens during the entire shoot which made him blind in that eye while filming. Would I have done that? Hell yes! But the point is you did do it, Paul. And you were brilliant, again. Brava!”

Overall, the Oscars were fun again. It was a big year, with big films that people actually saw and could get behind to celebrate. There’s always going to be something that can be tweaked or that lands flat in a live show like this, but this year’s broadcast seemed to be heading in the right direction.

If you missed the live telecast and would like to watch it in its entirety, head over to Hulu and stream it now.

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About the Contributor
Rick Spriggs
Rick Spriggs, Staff reporter
Rick Spriggs is a staff writer for The Broadside. This is his first term writing for the publication as well as his first foray into news reporting.

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