The Oscars Fail to Lift Up Tems at the 2023 Academy Awards
Nigerian songstress, Tems, who bagged a nomination in the Best Original Song category alongside Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Goransson for “Lift Me Up” from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack lost the Oscars to M.M. Keeravaa and Chandrabose’s “Naatu Naatu” from the Indian movie RRR.
The 95th Academy Awards, held on Mar. 13 at the Dolby Theatre, was a night full of glitz and glam, shocking snubs, and pleasing surprises with Everything Everywhere All at Once winning the coveted Best Picture, and it marked the end of the film’s improbable awards season run.
The film grossed a whopping $100 million worldwide despite being an arthouse flick and earned a total of seven awards including Best Original Screenplay and Directing for the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert). It was the most awarded film of the night. It also accomplished the rare feat of obtaining all four nominations in the category and went ahead to win three.
In addition, the film broke barriers as it showcased a multiracial cast, including Asian actors Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan bagging Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively. Meanwhile, Hollywood veteran Jamie Lee Curtis won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film.
Yeoh made history as the first Asian woman to win Best Actress after a long career in martial arts and action movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Yes, Madam. Dedicating her win to all those who looked like her, she said, “This is a beacon of hope and possibilities.” Similarly, Quan, who starred in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies gave an emotional acceptance speech, sharing his journey from being a refugee to a star on Hollywood’s biggest stage. He encouraged everyone to keep their dreams alive.
The Best Actor honor went to Brendan Fraser, who made a remarkable comeback with his performance in The Whale. The film features Fraser as a morbidly obese man trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter, marking his first leading role in over a decade. Fraser, who had dealt with health and personal struggles, thanked director Darren Aronofsky for “throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard.”
The Oscars shed light on the current state of the entertainment industry. As streaming services have gained popularity, major studios have been launching their own in-house platforms. In addition, the industry has gone through consolidation, with companies like Discovery merging with WarnerMedia and Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox.
As studios face cost-cutting measures, investors have expressed concerns over the companies’ financial stability. Moreover, the industry is facing possible labor negotiations that could lead to strikes.
Nonetheless, the night was a celebratory one as the Oscars scored a big win in the diversity section. People of color were recognized for their hard work and dedication to their craft. The Academy’s push for diversity came after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2016 led actors and creatives in Hollywood to boycott the ceremony. Social media went on a smear campaign against the organizers and the award show lost a significant amount of viewership because of their lack of representation.
Despite these issues, the ceremony remained upbeat and celebratory, with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel hosting the show for the third time. Overall, the night was one of breaking barriers and honoring comeback stories in the entertainment industry.
Here is the full list of Oscar winners:
Everything Everywhere All at Once — Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang, producers
Best Lead Actress
Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Best Lead Actor
Brendan Fraser (The Whale)
Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Best Film Editing
Everything Everywhere All at Once — Paul Rogers
Best Original Song
“Naatu Naatu” from RRR — music by M.M. Keeravaani, lyrics by Chandrabose
Top Gun: Maverick — Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor
Best Adapted Screenplay
Women Talking — Sarah Polley
Best Original Screenplay
Everything Everywhere All at Once — Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert
Best Visual Effects
Avatar: The Way of Water — Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett
Best Original Score
All Quiet on the Western Front — Volker Bertelmann
Best Production Design
All Quiet on the Western Front — production design by Christian M. Goldbeck, set decoration by Ernestine Hipper
Best Animated Short Film
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse — Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud
Best Documentary Short Film
The Elephant Whisperers — Kartiki Gonsalves and Gunee tMonga
Best International Feature Film
All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)
Best Costume Design
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — Ruth E. Carter
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
The Whale — Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley
All Quiet on the Western Front — James Friend
Best Live Action Short
An Irish Goodbye — Tom Berkeley and Ross White
Best Documentary Feature Film
Navalny — Daniel Roher, Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris
Best Supporting Actress
Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Best Supporting Actor
KeHuyQuan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)
Best Animated Feature Film
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio — Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar and Alex Bulkley