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No, nobody obtained slapped at this 12 months’s Oscars — however then once more, there’s one thing to be mentioned for a little bit little bit of unscripted chaos.
It’s been a wierd couple of years for the Academy Awards: The 2021 ceremony was a clumsy, socially distanced COVID-era affair that sunk to a brand new scores low (simply 10.4 million complete viewers), and final 12 months’s ceremony featured an all-time shocker when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock dwell on stage — and noticed an enormous 60 % surge in complete viewership. It’s too early to inform how this 12 months’s broadcast will do, however I wouldn’t be stunned to see it dip once more, because it was a principally secure, by-the-numbers affair that was woefully brief on buzzy watercooler moments.
The present kicked off in strong if unsurprising vogue, with host Jimmy Kimmel actually parachuting in after a short Prime Gun spoof. Kimmel has this internet hosting factor down chilly after two earlier stints as emcee: He used his monologue to work the room, with pleasant jabs at Nicole Kidman and Steven Spielberg, and the temper within the room appeared upbeat as they celebrated a box-office resurgence and a number of first-time nominees. A few of Kimmel’s jokes did draw blood (that Babylon crack earned some groans), and all of us knew he’d throw in just a few gags about #TheSlap, too. However his Will Smith materials felt a little bit flat and virtually compulsory… to not point out a couple of 12 months previous at this level. (It’s not his fault: Twitter already took all one of the best jokes that night time.) His later comedy bits the place he peppered the celebrities in attendance with inane questions additionally felt extra schticky than humorous, and a questionable Robert Blake reference landed with a thud.
The set design was immaculate, with the Oscars stage bathed in gilded, Nice Gatsby-style glamour. However the broadcast noticeably lower corners in an effort to cut back the working time, regardless that it nonetheless ran nicely over three and a half hours. (The Greatest Image nominees had been honored with temporary montages somewhat than particular person tributes, and several other winners had been abruptly lower off mid-sentence.) We nonetheless had time for loads of emotional speeches, although, together with a teary Ke Huy Quan, capping off a exceptional profession rebound by taking house the Oscar for greatest supporting actor for Every part In every single place All at As soon as. (Having Spielberg and Harrison Ford, who labored with him as a child in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, within the room cheering him on was a fantastic full-circle second that solely the Oscars can present.) Jamie Lee Curtis’ supporting actress win additionally echoed properly again by means of a long time of Hollywood historical past as she nodded to her iconic dad and mom Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh.
However the night time’s large winners had been principally pre-determined — EEAAO‘s Greatest Image win was virtually etched in stone earlier than the night time started — so any sense of suspense was conspicuously lacking. (We’ve already heard variations of the winners’ speeches on all the opposite awards exhibits.) Add that along with a largely bland ceremony, and I wouldn’t blame any viewers whose consideration began wandering across the one-hour mark. It left me a lot of time to ponder mysteries like: Is it even honest to anticipate the Oscars to succeed in the monumental viewership it as soon as reached, with the viewers hopelessly fragmented and social media making a glimpse of movie star an on a regular basis incidence somewhat than a particular deal with? And the place can I get my very own set of sizzling canine fingers?
This 12 months’s Oscars had been at their greatest after they threw us a curveball, like John Travolta’s voice welling up with real emotion when introducing the “In Memoriam” phase after the passing of his Grease co-star Olivia Newton-John and the vivacious efficiency of Greatest Authentic Tune winner “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, with dozens of dancers tearing up the stage with colourful costumes and breathtaking choreography. That efficiency could have even impressed just a few viewers to take a look at the film on Netflix — and that’s what the Oscars are all about, proper?
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