Well, where do I begin? I am a fan of the Oscars, but that was quite the ceremony. Regardless of how you feel about the winners, the 94th Academy Awards certainly made for entertaining television, or as Chris Rock put it, "the greatest night in the history of television". Aside from all of the controversy, I thought there were some interesting moments at this year's Oscars.
Apple owned Coda won best picture, in what is perhaps considered one of the other major controversies of the night. Coda, while interesting in its representation of deaf people, is not generally considered a brilliant film. It has been described as a "formulaic yet sweet natured crowd pleaser" and "the most shallow and mediocre movie" of those nominated for Best Picture. Regardless of how you feel about the movie, it was nice to see Troy Kotsur, a man with hearing impairment, receive the award for Best Supporting Actor. Kotsur's emotional speech about his father losing his ability to sign after being paralyzed in an accident even made his translator start choking up.
Aside from snubbed films and performances, this year's Academy Awards has also been criticised for intentionally ignoring other film professionals. The awards for short film, production design, score, editing, make-up, hairstyling and sound all took place at a small ceremony before the live television broadcast. This was a move largely criticised by Hollywood, as it seemed to devalue these categories despite their importance in the filmmaking process. Others took umbrage with the presentation of the award for best animation. Firstly, it was heavily implied by the hosts for best animation, that this is a category for children. This was quite a surprising moment considering one of the films nominated was Flee, a powerful animated documentary about a gay Afghan survivor. Secondly, many Oscar-enthusiasts have become sceptical of Disney's domination in this category. This marks Disney's 13th win in 15 years and many fans of animation are beginning to see their monopoly on the industry. Not to mention that the Oscars are broadcast on Disney-owned ABC (where they even managed to screen an ad for Disney's upcoming movie, Lightyear, during the ceremony).
If we look past the most controversial moments of the night, there were some deserved successes. Jane Campion winning Best Director for The Power of the Dog was a worthy choice for the Academy. This makes her only the 3rd woman in the history of the Oscars to win Best Director. It was also nice to see Dune get the recognition it deserves, taking home a whopping 6 awards. Other highlights of the evening involved Beyonce's brilliant opening performance held in a tennis court in Compton and Lady Gaga and Liza Minelli's heartwarming interaction together. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding last night's Oscars really is disappointing. Four years ago the #MeToo movement felt like it was making a difference to the film industry and more specifically the Academy Awards. This year, the most discussed item of the Oscars is related to misogynistic jokes and fragile male egos. While their ratings may have seen an improvement, it unfortunately feels as if the Academy Awards is beginning to return to its old ways. Hopefully we can see some meaningful change next year.