Having exerted my gripes with the ceremony and the Academy at large, we can assess the winners and potential snubs of the night!
Dune’s crew swept the night. Taking home the majority of the technical awards – Sound, Score, Production Design, Editing, Cinematography – it is fair to say hearing their name after the envelopes opened started getting a bit dry mid-way through the night. Although I would have liked to see Nightmare Alley walk home with Production Design, The Power of the Dog with Cinematography and Parallel Mothers with Original Score, Dune was immaculately orchestrated in all fields.
That being said, getting three female hosts presenting, and a film about disabilities winning Best Picture covered the Academy for their Diversity and Inclusion points for one year. Pat on the back to the Academy. Wrapping up the more technical awards, the Academy nailed Makeup and Hairstyling, awarding it to The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Costume Design to Cruella – there was no real contender for each of those films in their respective categories.
Encanto taking home Animated Feature is nothing short of disgraceful when Flee was listed immediately after, but let us not ruminate on this bitterness. Watch Flee.
Drive My Car taking International Feature was a beautiful moment. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi is yet to have gotten his due peak accreditation from Western audiences and critics, and having Drive My Car be a portal into his filmography for many is tremendously exciting.
Moving onto the awards tailing the night off, we see a great pool of well-deserved winners. CODA was the big name of the night, alongside Dune. But CODA, like with mine, I imagine flew under most Brits’ radars this past year, considering its Apple TV+ exclusivity. Taking home Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor and Best Picture, one of the biggest corporations in the world can save some money on marketing for a good while. Although only having watched clips of CODA, it is not too difficult to sense the strength in Troy Kotsur’s performance.
Belfast and only Belfast ought to have, and thankfully, won Best Screenplay. It was also my vote for Best Picture, but alas. Kenneth Branagh has definitely released a masterpiece, please give it your attention if you are yet to.
Jessica Chastain’s performance as Tammy Faye was stellar, despite the shambles that was much of the remainder of the film. Also considering her portfolio and two past nominations, it seemed about time.
Now, Best Director, Leading Actor and Supporting Actress were three categories I believed were so well-nominated, my care as to who won was minimal. Seeing The Power of the Dog get as little shine as it did so far, Jane Campion taking Best Director was a delightful victory, even if Benedict Cumberbatch losing Best Actor felt like a slap in the face – all due (limited) respect to Will Smith.
West Side Story is another title with unjustly little attention, but Ariana DeBose’s win for Supporting Actress was definitely the right choice.
Flee, The Power of the Dog, West Side Story, Belfast and Parallel Mothers were titles that merited more of the spotlight but their nominations are appreciated and I anticipate more of these casts and crews’ artistic efforts.
As for the Will Smith situation, I would echo Jim Carrey’s words on the matter, but the memes that spawned as it took place are incomparable to the diluted, vanilla memes floating around now. Happy Film Year!