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Last Night’s Academy Awards Ceremony and the Success of ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ is an Important Lesson for Future Oscar Prognostication

A lot of important things happened last night at the Academy Awards. We saw winners in categories that we’d never seen before. A film and a studio dominated in a way we’ve never seen. Surprising movies went home empty-handed. Beyond all of that, the way we predict the Oscars may well have changed. That’s a bit of what I want to talk about today, as we begin the post mortem of the season. Plus, today is my birthday, so this is what I felt like doing, not that I think any of you will mind…

First of all, history was made last night. Not only was Michelle Yeoh the first Asian actress to win Best Actress, Everything Everywhere All At Once was the first film to win as many above the line Oscars as it did. The movie, along with A24, set some records. When you realize that it’s this specific flick that did it, too…well, you might want to start throwing out the old rulebooks.

The cast and crew of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” accepts the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

A few weeks ago, I wrote here about how Everything Everywhere All At Once had not only cleared the path for big Oscar wins, but had set itself up for potentially a tremendous night. Well, that’s exactly what happened, as the Academy had it sweep above the line. Aside from All Quiet on the Western Front, which did very well, the only other movie to get more than one win was The Whale, interestingly. So, Everything Everywhere All At Once dominated. Not only did this singular work get recognized in this major way, it also stands out in comparison to the films that ended up empty-handed when the night had concluded.

Just look at what got shut out. Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, The Fabelmans, and TÁR, to name the most notable ones. In several of these cases, they were also the year-in-advanced predicted nominees, or even winners. This gets to the crux of what I’m considering today. The films (though not necessarily the performances) that we used to assume were Academy catnip are no longer surefire wins. Now, they do still get nominated, as we can see with Elvis and The Fabelmans scoring plenty of nominations,, but they don’t win Best Picture. Hell, as we saw yesterday night, they don’t end up winning anything.

Everything Everywhere All At Once seemed like the exception to the prestige rule, but that could be changing. A generation ago, if you’d told an Oscar voter what the film was about, they’d have been confused, to be sure, but also apoplectic at the thought of it winning Best Picture. Now? We may well be entering a period where it just comes down to the work being too good to ignore.

Going forward, as we think about next year’s Academy Awards and very early predictions, perhaps resist the urge to just go for prestige fare? Now, as we saw this season, the Oscars still nominate their old standbys, without question. The change is, they don’t just default to wins, at least in Picture. Below the line, All Quiet on the Western Front had a good showing, just like many a war film in the past. So, consider your options carefully. We’ll see if I follow my own advice when I get around to these predictions (I’m taking a bit of a predictions break, at least for a few weeks), but if nothing else, this is something interesting to chew on…

What will Oscar look like in the years to come? Stay tuned to find out!


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Richard Green
Richard Green
8 months ago

Indeed Joey, Banshees going home empty handed was always a possibility although most felt it would pick up one somewhere but I was shocked that Elvis won nothing… A very happy birthday to you!

Robert Hamer
8 months ago

Did my favorite film of last year only get one Oscar nomination? Yes, which is unfortunate. Did it win that one Oscar it was nominated for? Damn right it did.

Savor the victories where you can, folks.

Brian H.
Brian H.
8 months ago

I’ve had a busy day so I haven’t read any reviews of the show yet. I hope people are raving about kimmel…exactly what I want out of a host. Less was more and most jokes hit. Everything would have been my number one so I can’t complain about it winning a lot. I wish they would have spread the wealth a little more because Tar, Banshees and The Fabelmans were right there for me. And while I didn’t love All Quiet I did appreciate it and can’t really argue with the techs it won…I just would have picked others. But I get it. And very happy Women Talking won for screenplay. All Quiet winning there would have hurt. Could have/should have given the original to Banshees though. But I know they don’t vote thinking like that. I still contest Banshees was the best screenplay and Field was the best director with Everything still being the best movie.

Robert Hamer
8 months ago
Reply to  Brian H.

can’t really argue with the techs [All Quiet on the Western Front] won.”

*perks up*

I sure as hell can! In fact, the Best Cinematography award was perhaps my single least-favorite win of the entire ceremony; portends a depressing acceptance of the glossy, digital, overly color-graded visual style that has become Netflix’s M.O.

Brian H.
Brian H.
8 months ago
Reply to  Robert Hamer

Hahaha…great response. Umm yea I could make an argument as you just did. I liked its visual style a lot more than you. I thought it fit what it was trying to do. But yea it was probably 4th for me out of the 5 so its disappointing. I was more disappointed by the win for score. That was my least favorite score out of the five. So I can also argue I guess. But they were never giving it to my favorites in any of the 4 it won so I think I was waiting for disappointed either way. .



Written by Joey Magidson

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