Watching the Oscars is one of my favorite nights of the year. Despite all the controversy or wild things that happen during the telecast, I will always be sitting in front of my TV at home, watching as the chaos unfolds. I’ve even been creating my own homemade prediction sheets since middle school.
This year, I created my predictions a week early and was discussing with friends and family about what would possibly go wrong this year: would it run excessively overtime again? Would the wrong movie be announced? Would another joke lead to a slap?
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), Oscars 2023 went off without a hitch. Even with few problems, there’s still plenty to talk about, from the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress category to Cocaine Bear.
My Predictions Sheet
In last year’s Oscars, I managed to get just over half the categories right under my predictions (13/23). This year, it was slightly less, being 11/23, although many of my favorites won so I’m not upset.
Although I was expecting “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” to win the big awards, I was not expecting them to completely dominate. In fact, I wasn’t expecting “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” to win half the total nominations combined. This was clearly a dominant year, which shut out a few films completely from any wins. Because of this, my predictions were skewed.
Jimmy Kimmel makes his return after hosting the 2017 and 2018 Oscars to host this year. I always enjoy having a host that “knows” how to host, given that Jimmy Kimmel does it for a living through his late show. Though I’ve seen criticism that Kimmel’s jokes were subpar or “safe,” I think it was for good reason. There’s been a little hesitancy on getting to say whatever you want after last year’s show, so there’s definitely a good reason why Kimmel would want to dial down the jokes. Overall, Kimmel did the job: he told jokes, he announced the presenters, and he closed the show.
Okay, maybe Kimmel didn’t do the job exactly how The Academy wanted, which would not have included mention of the infamous slap from Will Smith in last year’s show. But let’s be real: did The Academy truly think that the slap wouldn’t be mentioned throughout the entire program?
There are varying opinions from the public on whether “the slap” should’ve been mentioned in the show or not. After all, it just puts a worse reputation on the Oscars and causes distress between the actors and actresses. The more the issue was talked about, the more attention Will Smith got. I understand that concern, but I personally enjoyed all “the slap” jokes. The Oscars often joke about things that have happened in the show beforehand (such as accidentally switching the envelopes), and this felt no different to me.
I have never been a fan of musical performances at the Oscars, and this year was no exception. I think that the performances take up too much time that could be used to make the program shorter or allow those who get played off the stage with music to actually finish their speeches.
That being said, I thought that the performances, for the most part, were well done. It was fun seeing Lady Gaga and Rihanna performing, but I wished that Mitski was also there to perform “This is a Life” from “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.” The performance of “Naatu Naatu” was definitely the best musical performance I’ve seen at the Oscars, so I’m super glad that it won the award as well.
Cocaine Bear and Malala
One of the most interesting parts of the show this year was the appearance of Cocaine Bear—or at least a person in a bear costume. Directed by the acclaimed actress Elizabeth Banks, “Cocaine Bear” has been a widely talked about film since its release in theaters on Feb. 24, 2023. While I haven’t watched it myself, I hear it’s wildly entertaining, but not a movie created for awards. However, just the thought of a bear high on cocaine is enough to imagine what the movie and ultimately the joke in the Oscars was about.
A segment I always enjoy is when the host goes down in the audience to ask actors questions or have them do activities. For this to work however, the actors and actresses being talked to have to be excited to participate. Though Colin Farrell and Jessica Chastain gave funny, good enough answers, there was another guest who wanted no part in any joke.
This leads to what I believe to be the cringiest moment of the entire show: the segment with Malala Yousafzai, who was attending for her work on “A Stranger At The Gate,” nominated for Best Documentary Short Film. Kimmel was asking her a pop culture question about whether Harry Styles did or did not spit on Chris Pine, only she was not super receptive to the joke. Though Yousafzai was a good sport, it was clear that she was uncomfortable. To make matters worse, Cocaine Bear made another appearance and bothered her before Kimmel pulled the bear away…awkward.
Momentous Acting Wins
We can’t talk about the 2023 Oscars without talking about all the incredible wins. This Oscars, there were 16 first-time nominees in the acting categories, meaning that any win would be historic. The first acting winner of the night was Ke Huy Quan for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.” I would say that Quan had arguably the best speech of the entire show, and watching Brendan Fraser win Best Actor in a Leading Role for this role in “The Whale” was also wild, considering that he had been on an acting hiatus for more than a decade.
My favorite award of the night was getting to see Michelle Yeoh win Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.” Seeing Asian women succeed in a career/industry where they’re in the minority is incredibly impactful for me, and I was crying the moment they announced her name.
Jamie Lee Curtis winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” was a little interesting… I thought that she had one of the weakest performances in the category, and was very surprised when she won the award. Though there’s no way of telling and this purely stems from my spite for this upset of an award, something about having two successful parents in the acting industry may have had something to do with this win. Connections get you somewhere in Hollywood.
Because the Oscars have held this expectation of something always going wrong (at least in the past few years), some could say that this Oscars was almost a bit boring. As someone that has been watching the show for nearly a decade, I think that we’re finally back to the prime watching experience that we’ve been waiting for. Silly jokes, great awards, a couple of upsets, and a fun night are what really make up the award show, and they were able to fulfill it this year.
My only real disappointment with the show was that two movies won most of the awards. While this is mostly due to “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” being genuinely great films and deserving of what they won, other genuinely great films were shut out in the process. It’s odd to think that “TAR,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” and “The Fablemans” walked away without a single award, despite each being nominated for more than five awards.
That being said, I enjoyed the show this year and hope that the following years will be just as good, if not better. I will be showing up to watch regardless.