95th Oscars: Victories for hope and for life

By John Mulderig, OSV News

(OSV News) — The genial presence of host Jimmy Kimmel helped to restore an equable atmosphere to the Academy Awards ceremony as that gathering marked its 95th year Sunday night. Such tranquility was in welcome contrast to the turmoil created in 2022 when actor Will Smith notoriously slapped comedian and host Chris Rock.

In between mildly mischievous commentary from Kimmel, the wildly imaginative dramedy “Everything Everywhere All at Once” became the night’s big winner, followed by the grimly realistic adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic 1928 anti-war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front.” The former won seven accolades, including Best Picture, the latter four.

Emotional highlights included the acceptance speeches of Ke Huy Quan and Brendan Fraser. Vietnam-born Quan, who took home the Oscar for Best supporting actor, started his career as a child performer in 1984’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

For two decades after his appearance in “Encino Man” eight years later, however, Quan was rarely seen on screen. So winning for his role in “Everything Everywhere” represented quite a comeback.

Michelle Yeoh, left, stars in a scene from the movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The film won seven Oscar’s at the 2023 Academy Awards, including for best picture, directing and in three of the four acting categories. (OSV News photo/A24)

As for Quan’s “Encino Man” castmate Fraser, he has faced numerous challenges along the path to his acclaimed performance in the drama “The Whale” for which he garnered this year’s Best actor statuette. Scream queen-turned-occupant of “Everything Everywhere’s” multiverses Jamie Lee Curtis’ win for Best supporting actress was another popular moment.

Advocates of the right to life also had occasion to celebrate. James Martin, an actor with Down syndrome featured in “An Irish Goodbye,” which was voted Best live action short film, took to the stage with that movie’s co-writers and directors, Ross White and Tom Berkeley. After announcing that it was Martin’s birthday, the duo led the whole audience in singing “Happy Birthday.” Given that the overwhelming majority of children in the womb diagnosed with Martin’s condition are aborted, the familiar song could be considered a salute to an against-the-odds survivor.

Geopolitics briefly became the evening’s focus when filmmaker Daniel Roher’s “Navalny” took the Oscar for Best documentary feature film. The wife of the titular Russian dissident poignantly greeted her imprisoned husband Alexei, who languishes behind bars for publicly denouncing the Putin regime.

The centennials of two of Hollywood’s major corporations — The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Entertainment — were also observed. With the Academy Awards themselves not far behind those concerns on the way to the century mark, the Kimmel-guided return to what Roaring 20s-era president Warren G. Harding called “normalcy” boded well for their future.
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John Mulderig is media reviewer for OSV News. Follow him on Twitter @JohnMulderig1.


Author: OSV News

OSV News is a national and international wire service reporting on Catholic issues and issues that affect Catholics.

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