Friday, 8th December 2023

Oscars Night: Five Talking Points

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" won top honors at the Oscars on Sunday, claiming seven prizes including best picture.

TV host Jimmy Kimmel speaks onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 12, 2023. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP)

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” won top honors at the Oscars on Sunday, claiming seven prizes including best picture.

Here are five other talking points from the Hollywood ceremony:

– Kimmel shines –
The Academy’s decision to bring back late-night funnyman Jimmy Kimmel as Oscars host was widely seen as the cautious choice of a “safe pair of hands” after last year’s slap-shaped controversy.

But Kimmel — who has twice hosted before — delivered a sharp, witty performance, with plenty of political zingers.

Topics included Fox News’ coverage of the US Capitol riots, which host Tucker Carlson recently tried to downplay, and beleaguered Congressman George Santos, who has been accused of making a litany of improbable boasts and lies.

Introducing the presenter of the award for best film editing, Kimmel quipped: “Editors can turn 44,000 hours of violent insurrection footage into a respectful sight-seeing tour of the Capitol.”

Later, he joked: “Did you know… the last directing team to win an Oscar was Congressman George Santos?”

Kimmel’s attempt to draw Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai into a discussion about a recent internet scandal surrounding Harry Styles fell flat, however.

“I only talk about peace,” she deadpanned.

– ‘Top Gun’ flyover –
The Oscars kicked off in unforgettable fashion, as two US Navy fighter jets roared over Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, in a tribute to nominated film “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Residents ran outdoors and took to social media to speculate on what the planes were doing above the Los Angeles skies.

The planes came from the Flying Eagles squadron at a nearby California military air base, the Academy later revealed in a statement.

“A huge thank you to the US Navy for helping execute a once-in-a-lifetime Oscars opening,” the show’s producers said.

– Slap jokes –
Kimmel also cracked several jokes about last year’s shocking moment when Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock on stage for cracking a joke about his wife.

“If any of you get mad at a joke and decide you want to get jiggy with it — it’s not going to be easy,” vowed Kimmel, referring to lyrics from one of Smith’s hit songs.

Several movie superheroes were in the audience and could protect him, he noted.

When the documentary section arrived, Kimmel noted that it was at the same section of the night “where we had that little skirmish last year.

“Hopefully this time it goes off without a hitch. Or at least without ‘Hitch,'” he said.

Smith starred in a 2005 romantic comedy of the same name.

– Cocaine Bear and a donkey –
Animals were an unlikely feature of the 95th Academy Awards broadcast.

In one of the night’s more surreal moments, Elizabeth Banks, the director of comedy-horror hit “Cocaine Bear,” presented the award for best visual effects alongside a person in a giant bear costume.

Banks’ film is based on a true story of a wild beast who overdosed on narcotics — and the Oscars bear pretended to signal to audience members that he was craving cocaine.

“You need to wait till the after-party like everybody else,” she joked to her co-presenter.

“The coke is not real. It’s visual effects, right?”

Elsewhere, Kimmel appeared onstage with a donkey which he claimed was Jenny — the beloved pet of Colin Farrell’s character in best picture nominee “The Banshees of Inisherin.”

Jenny had been allowed to fly from Ireland because she is “a certified emotional support donkey, or at least that’s what we told the airline,” Kimmel joked.

– Indie studio reigns –
From deep-pocketed streamers like Netflix to traditional Tinseltown powerhouses like Warner Bros, Disney and Universal, this award season has seen studios spend big on their Oscars hopefuls.

But small, indie arthouse distributor A24 walked away with an astonishing sweep of the top prizes, including all four acting awards, thanks to “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “The Whale.”

“Everything Everywhere” took best picture, best director, best actress and four other prizes, while “The Whale” had best actor and best makeup and hairstyling.

“This is EVERYTHING,” tweeted the studio’s official account Sunday.