As far as Academy Awards presentations go, last night’s 95th wasn’t horrible. There were some fairly memorable moments, and there were some stinkers, too. If you missed it, here’s everything you need to know about what happened last night at the 95th annual Academy Awards.
CHEERS: KE HUY QUAN WINS!
How is anyone not supposed to love Ke Huy Quan’s Best Supporting Actor win? This is a Vietnamese kid who grew up in a refugee camp in Hong Kong, got lucky and scored two juicy Spielberg films (Goonies and Indiana Jones), and then was nixed from the Hollywood spotlight when he aged out of the “cute, precocious Asian kid” roles. But he didn’t quit, he worked behind the cameras, never gave up on his dream, and here he is, receiving an Oscar. Don’t give up on your dream, dreamers. Quan’s a testament to that.
JEERS: THE CARPET DOES NOT MATCH THE DRAPES
The Academy hired a couple of young, hotshot “creative consultants” from a teen glamor magazine to liven up the ceremony. What was their one big contribution to the event? They changed the color of the red carpet to a white carpet, although they’re calling it champagne. Fine, change the color, but stop calling it a red carpet. (Sorry, but this just doesn’t seem quite right – this is not my Hollywood.)
Welp, it’s official. A24 is officially the new Miramax. Remember Miramax? Pulp Fiction, Sex, Lies and Videotape, The Crying Game, Clerks – Robert Rodriguez, Gus Van Sant and Quentin Tarantino all had exclusive deals – Miramax took bold chances and ended up at the top of the food chain. A few decades later, Harvey Weinstein is now a convicted sex offender, while A24 has become the go-to production house for experimental writers and directors.
JEERS: DISNEY, OF COURSE
Disney owns ABC, the company that broadcast last night’s event, they thought it would be completely appropriate to awkwardly shoehorn in an ad for their forthcoming live action reimagining of The Little Mermaid. Not cool, guys, this thing is long enough without your forced infomercial.
CHEERS: BRENDAN FRASER ALSO WINS!
Another great comeback story – Brendan Fraser wins Best Lead Actor for The Whale and like Quan, proves that you never, ever give up on your dream. His acceptance speech was a bit all over the place, but who could blame him? He probably never thought he’d ever win an Academy Award. I certainly didn’t, not after seeing him across the room at an orgy back in ‘97. I was there doing recon for a cover story, and as I saw him standing there across an entangled, heaving pile of sweaty, nude bodies, I could only wonder, “Why in the hell is the Encino Man slumming it in Orange County?” Allegedly…
JEERS: OSCAR SNUBS THE LITTLE PEOPLE
The Academy may beat the drum for inclusion and diversity, but when winners like Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga won for Best Short Documentary for The Elephant Whisperers, the women were given their minimum 45-second speech time, and got the bum’s rush off the stage. Yet a few minutes later, the guys who won Best Animated Short were chatty as fuck and both got to wrap up their speeches uninterrupted.
CHEERS: FOR NOT AWARDING ANOTHER B.S. ROCK BIOPIC
I love a good biographical film about rock and roll: Sid & Nancy, The Doors, Control, La Bamba – all well done and stuck close to the source material. I loathe this new crop of rock biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman where narratives are twisted and sometimes completely made up just to polish legacies and erase career scandals and embarrassments. The fact that Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis (which was up for eight awards), didn’t win anything is a sign that maybe these horrible films are no longer fashionable.
JEERS: HUGH GRANT
Why was Hugh Grant being such a dick last night? I get it, you dislike doing live interviews with young, vapid entertainment reporters when you’d rather be knocking back scotch and inhaling rails in the green room with Harrison Ford, but Hugh, baby – you signed up for this.
CHEERS: JIMMY KIMMEL
Jimmy Kimmel pandered to the crowd and ‘the powers that be’ here and there, but for the most part, he stuck the landing. He took a few good-natured shots at the people who deserved it, and called out the complicity of everyone in the audience who just stood around and praised Will Smith after assaulting Chris Rock.
JEERS: AUSTIN BUTLER DIDN’T WEAR THE WHITE SUIT
Sue me, I’m complicated. I said I didn’t want Austin Butler to wear the King’s white Comeback Special suit, but then he showed up in a plain old black tuxedo and I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed. In a ceremony that seemed very safe and predictable, the desecration of one of the King’s most iconic garments might have been the controversial cherry on top of what was essentially a very vanilla sundae.
Main image, Ke Huy Quan’s photo: Wikipedia Commons