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San Dieguito Academy Newspaper

The Mustang

San Dieguito Academy Newspaper

The Mustang

96th Academy Awards Ceremony Recap

The highlights of this year’s Oscars and why it won’t be a ceremony for the books
Wikimedia Commons
An Oscars interviewer is getting ready to speak with the stars and starlets.

On this year’s glorious March 10th, celebrities, producers, actors, sound mixers, directors, and Academy members filed into the Dolby Theater for a three-hour-long praise fest. But is the praise well deserved? I, a viewer of the 96th Academy Awards, will decide.  

To start, twenty-four different categories are awarded at the Oscars each year. The nominees per category vary from five to ten, and there are no rules against a film being nominated in several categories. But, let’s move on from the technical information and venture into what you are looking for: the prestigious Academy Award winners. 

The most awarded film of the year was Christopher Nolan’s three-hour epic, Oppenheimer, a dramatization of the life of the late J. Robert Oppenheimer of the infamous Manhattan Project. The film was nominated in thirteen different categories and won a whopping seven awards in total. The film won Best Picture, Cillian Murphy won Best Actor in a Leading Role, Robert Downey Jr. won Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Christopher Nolan won Best Directing, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score. It’s safe to say that Oppenheimer swept this year. Even though Oppenheimer was the most-awarded film of the year, the remaining award winners were just as praised. 

A fan favorite of this past year’s awards season, Da’Vine Joy Randolph was nominated for her first-ever Academy Award and brought home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. In her film career since 2010 she has won 67 awards, the majority of those being for her most recent Oscar-winning project, The Holdovers. In the film, Randolph portrayed a single mother struggling with the loss of her young son to war. Aside from her character capturing people’s hearts in the cinemas this past year, Da’Vine Joy Randolph brought the Oscars audience to tears with her inspiring and poignant acceptance speech. Da’Vine Joy Randolph said, “for so long I’ve always wanted to be different. And now I realize I just need to be myself”. Randolph’s empathy and thoughtfulness extended beyond the screen and it is right to assume that her bright presence in Hollywood is just beginning.  

One of the most talked about films this year was Yorgos Lanthimos’ absurdist comedy, Poor Things starring Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, and Ramy Youseff. The film follows the story of Bella Baxter, a peculiar woman whose mind is that of an infant. Poor Things has frequently been interpreted as a play on the classic Mary Shelley story, Frankenstein, but with a modern and different commentary twist. The film did not go unnoticed for its uniqueness and achievement at the Academy Awards and won four awards in total, one of them being Best Actress. The lead protagonist, Bella Baxter, was one of the most beloved characters this awards season, of which Stone was awarded Best Actress for portraying. Emma Stone received praise for her incomparable ability to bring Baxter to life with such a loving and emotional quality as well as bizarreness. 

While I briefly touched upon the most talked about film of the year, its specific wins deserve more attention and recognition. One of the most prized wins of the Oscars is Best Actor, and Cillian Murphy, who portrayed J. Robert Oppenheimer, was named victorious in this category. He was praised by Academy members and critics alike for his dedication to the role of J. Robert Oppenheimer and his ability to embody a widely known individual. Cillian Murphy was repping the Irish population at the Academy Awards and did not disappoint. 

Finally, the most prestigious and talked about award of the Oscars is the famed Best Picture. With past best picture winners being classic hits like Gladiator, Parasite, and Moonlight, the Best Picture isn’t a category for the weak. And Oppenheimer most certainly was mighty. Clocking in at three hours, Oppenheimer was what many consider to be a modern epic. The film featured star-studded performances, a brilliant script, an iconic soundtrack, masterful directing, captivating cinematography, and excellent film editing. Oppenheimer is a strong film on so many grounds, making it deserving of its Best Picture win. Although Oppenheimer was heavily praised by critics and the Academy, many do not foresee it being solidified as a classic film by any means. Its story while strong, doesn’t strike me to be a timeless tale that people will look back on and adore in years to come.

While this Oscars year was the year of Barbenheimer, I don’t foresee this particular Oscars as one that will go down in history quite like that of the infamous “slap”, Parasite winning best picture, Roberto Benigni walking across the seats of the Dolby Theater, or the great Moonlight-La La Land blunder of 2016. None of the films that won this year struck me to be classics or films that may be talked about for years to come. In addition, the Oscars again failed to recognize foreign films and did not award any of them the high honor of Best Picture. Rather instead gave the award to Christopher Nolan, someone who has been in the film game for a long time. While it was a great year for film, a lot of those great films didn’t get very much notoriety. With that being said, I don’t think this year’s Academy Awards won Best Oscar Year in my book.

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