Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Entertainment

The 2023 Oscars Analysis: The Good, The Bad and The Controversial

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

Spoilers ahead for 2023 Oscar-nominated movies.

The 2023 Oscars have come and gone. Just like every year, it’s sparked up a whole slew of internet discourse on who deserved what, why Jimmy Kimmel is the way that he is, and everything in between. And yes, the slap was mentioned, as if they weren’t already so predictable. But predictable isn’t always a bad thing! Say what you want about the Academy, but I believe, with an exception of some, I was pretty satisfied with the winners and the Best Picture results (yes, we’ll get there eventually, don’t worry!)

So, here’s the good, the bad and the controversies that came from the night of the Oscars!

The Bad:

I think it’s pretty important to get this out of the way before we get to the good stuff. Hosting the Oscars is a burden that I don’t want to put on anyone. Although I have my gripes with him, Jimmy Kimmel did… okay. His opening monologue kept politics to a minimum and obviously mentioned the Will Smith/Chris Rock slap that plagued the internet last year. But it was quick and wasn’t too cringy. Later in the night, something odd happened. There was a comedic bit that involved Kimmel interviewing Malala Yousafzai. After his ramble about her accomplishments, he dared to ask if she thought that Chris Pine spit on Harry Styles, referring to the infamous rumoured incident during the Don’t Worry Darling press run. When I watched this unfold with my roommate, it felt like my body needed to do a hard restart with how hard I cringed. She handled herself well with a humble answer about peace. You would think that he’d stop after that right? No! He kept going, obviously unsatisfied with her diplomatic answer. He made a joke about Malala Land for the final blow. Later, a man dressed up as Cocaine Bear entered the frame and pestered the activist. With an amused outburst, Kimmel had to tell Cocaine Bear to leave her alone while she sat there, uncomfortable, just like anyone else would be.

Did that sound like a fever dream to you? It sure as hell did to me, so let’s just move on.

The Good:

We were all betting on it. The Everything Everywhere All at Once sweep was a guarantee based on how the entire award season was going but the fear within me was still persistent; the fear that the Academy voters just wouldn’t get it. Halfway through the show, I feared All Quiet on the Western Front was going to sweep but alas, the Academy voters had some sense. Everything Everywhere All at Once is one of my favourite movies that came out in 2022. It hits way too close to home, as a Southeast Asian lesbian immigrant. When I say that this movie greatly describes the complex relationship between combative mothers and daughters, I do mean it. I could go on and on about this movie, but I won’t. This isn’t about my measly analysis of the movie, it’s about how much the cast and crew deserved all the awards they won. They swept the acting categories, with the main cast winning all their respective categories. The feel-good moment of the closing frame zooming out from the teary-eyed cast and crew was a moment that was reflective of Parasite’s 2019 sweep. I know Best Picture is often perceived as the most monumental accomplishment, but I do want to steer everyone’s attention to Best Film Editing. The editing team consisted of 5 people using Premiere Pro and they all learned how to edit on YouTube.

Everything Everywhere All at Once’s win is representative of more than just a nonfranchise film finally getting its flowers. It’s much more than that. Their win is for those who were told they couldn’t live a sustainable life in art and film. Those who pull up After Effects tutorials to make their fandom edits with the dream and ambition to be in the industry. It’s for the people who think they’re past their prime. It’s for immigrants and the LGBTQ+ community. It’s for mothers, daughters, and everyone in between. Call me dramatic, but if that doesn’t prove that it deserves to be the most-awarded film in history, I don’t know what does.

The Controversial:

Whenever a movie wins all the major categories, online discourse follows like a shadow. Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett were battling it out for Best Actress all season. It was a tight race that was eventually given to the most deserving winner. The controversial part was how Tár didn’t receive any awards that night. It’s a bit ironic that the Academy voters didn’t vibe with a movie about a powerful individual in the performing arts industry who serially groomed up-and-coming artists while relying on their fortune to escape their consequences. Maybe it hits a little too close to home?

Brendan Fraser’s Best Actor win wasn’t necessarily controversial. The best part of The Whale was Fraser’s performance despite it being an okay movie. The controversy was on Austin Butler’s loss. He spent three years living with the ghost of Elvis within him only to, unfortunately, come short. I’m a little biased when I say I didn’t care for either nominee, despite having a soft spot for Fraser. Although I knew it was a lost cause, I was rooting for Paul Mescal, but I believe in the Timothée Chalamet-esque career trajectory he has going for him.

Earlier I said that I agree with most of the winners, with the exception of some. Jamie Lee Curtis’s win felt more bittersweet than anything else. How do you come out of watching Everything Everywhere All at Once and think to vote for Curtis, when Stephanie Hsu is right there? Her performance was everything comedic, emotional, dramatic, and compelling. Even if they weren’t going with the Everything Everywhere route, Angela Bassett’s performance that embodied grief, anger, and hope in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was phenomenal in comparison to Curtis’s glorified cameo.

The 2023 Oscars felt easier to watch through when you’re rooting for a specific film or actor like it’s the Superbowl finals. I do recommend that everyone watch it with others just as passionate as you are as it heightens the experience. Overall, this was a very satisfying ending to the Oscars. Let’s hope this feeling carries on.

Krissie Cruz is a National Writer for the Wellness department and a contributor to the Her Campus McMaster chapter. She writes a slew of topics but primarily focuses on all things culture, wellness and life. Aside from Her Campus, Krissie is currently a fourth-year political science student with a specialization in public law and judicial studies. She also has a minor in philosophy and an interest in applied social sciences research. Although her initial dream was to pursue law, her passion for writing has led her to a future in the publishing industry. Despite a shift in interests, politics and social justice hold a special place in her heart. In her free time, she spends hours binge-reading, taking film photography, and curating oddly specific Spotify playlists. She’s an active participant in the queer Toronto space by attending events and if her schedule allows it, volunteering for Pride Toronto.