The 95th Annual Academy Awards

Might not catch any of the “Champagne” carpet or the pre-show, but I will be watching the show.

If you want to demystify the Oscars, and hate life a little more, read a some anonymous voter articles like this or this. These are helpful to me to keep the awards in perspective.

Vanity Fair has written some great retrospectives on some previous shows that have only gotten worse with age like 2003. Or the you can look for what was written about beginning of the new nadir we’re in 1998 when Harvey Weinstein broke the Oscars even more than it was and the Academy hasn’t really taken any strides to curb campaign spending, but god forbid Academy members go on social media to talk up a performance.

The show’s starting in a minute so a thought on the no-win host situation. I think Jimmy Kimmel’s return is handled as well and as funnily as it can be in this video.

I know much of America will be watching the season finale of The Last of Us tonight. As will I. Unlike most, I will pause the Oscars watch the show then go back to the Oscars.

The decline in popularity of the Oscars is not a simple riddle to solve. The factors are varied.

The divergence between what is popular and what is nominated was foreseeable since the end of the studio system. However, that didn’t really pan out on Oscar night until the late 90s. The revolution of American independents had less to do with it than it did first with Weinstein’s new campaigning tactics and then with further fragmentation of the audience with streaming and now with dwindling theatrical attendance post-pandemic. All these factors and more have driven down viewership over the years

In short the magic and glamour people associate with old-school Oscars are tinged by many things: it was the studio super-production of the year, the system manicured personae far more back then and embellished legends, such that award shows and the like where they appeared were further hyped. Being a film history buff or a child of a bygone era adds nostalgia to the belief that the Oscar are no longer what they were.

And they’re not because these things always change. But one thing that is undeniable when there are fewer universally viewed nominees than in previous eras means there is less excitement—or even basic interest—among the average movie fan. That has been the case in the past few years, however, I don’t anticipate this years high-grossing class will bring in that much interest. 

Putting this here to commemorate the first and perhaps only Oscars reference of Encino Man.

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are the first presenters. More Jungle Cruise?

Best Animated Film

Best Animated Film has been around for a little over 20 years. It still feels like a novelty in large part because of how the Academy treats it.

This article were many animators are spoken to shines quite a bit of light onto the problem. One issue that’s obvious to everyone is a little similar to how Best Animated Short Film began. 

The first 13 prizes went to either a Walt Disney or Fred Quimby production. Disney’s wins were for shorts that were Silly Symphonies or starred their core characters. Quimby’s MGM shorts were all Tom and Jerry shorts. In 1947 Warner Brothers finally won with a Silvester and Tweety short.

Better intro to the category this year.

I didn’t do great catching up on the Oscar nominees before the ceremony. I hope to afterward. Glad to see it’s not a Disney film for a change.

It’s been quite an emotional start to the night.

I mentioned it in my BAM Awards that actors from the same movie nominated against each other don’t normally trade-off wins but they usually get canceled out. When Jamie Lee Curtis won the SAG Awards that was when I had a feeling that she was going to get the Oscar because of how big a voting block actors are.

When Navalny wins Best Documentary…

I’m trying to remember if two actors from an upcoming film have come to show a clip of an upcoming film before. Of course, the Oscars are on ABC so it’s not like anyone can stop it.

All Quiet on the Western Front is near the top of my must-see list.

And we’re back…

Fitting for the Discovery acquistion of Warner Bros. the Oscars are looking back on their 100 years rather than plugging an upcming release like Disney go to.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus dropping the National Lampoons Chirstmas Vacation reference.

A song from an Indian film being up for an Oscar is overdue.

Is it me or are Antonio and Salma always introducing International Feature now?

I’m all for international films being nominated, but when only one in the Feature is also up for Bes Picture it’s a dead giveaway.

So far as Best Animated Short is concerned please do search out all the nominees. I did see this program this year and they’re all quite good. My favorite was An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe Him.

“Basically a scrotum…” – Hugh Grant. Line of the night.

Yay, Cocaine Bear!

Resonable minds can differ on whether Jimmy Kimmel’s Robert Blake/In Memoriam joke was tasteful, but the seed of it is truthful: the Oscars In Memoriam is imperfect, political, and pales in comparison to what TCM does annually.

Having said that John Travolta’s introduction was truly moving and for once the musical acompaniment didn’t feel like a distraction. The link to the Academy’s page for a fuller appreciation is also a good touch.

Good on “Naatu Naatu” winning Best Original Song.

The live blog is not ideal for a night like this because this has been one of the best shows in a while.

A24 has deserves its followers because they dare to be different when most do not want to.

Closing thought for the night: predictability does not necessarily mean a bad show.