Last Sunday, thousands of people in the film industry gathered at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles to celebrate the 90th Annual Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars. Unfortunately, the 90th anniversary of these prestigious awards is the only detail that made this year’s award show memorable. After the award mix-up that occurred last year, with “La La Land” accidentally being announced as Best Picture before “Moonlight,” it was clear that it would be difficult for this year’s show to live up to last year’s excitement.
This year’s Oscars was hosted once again by talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who played it safe and stuck with mediocre, forgettable jokes. He acknowledged some important movements like the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, but otherwise didn’t make an effort to make the show exciting or memorable.
There were a few bits and performances that kept the show a bit more lively (and extended it a bit longer). The main bit was a promise to award the Oscar winner who delivered the shortest speech with a new jet ski, a joke many award winners referred to during their acceptance speeches.
Another funny bit involved bringing a group of celebrities, including Mark Hamill, Gal Gadot, and Lupita Nyong’o, to the theater across the street and surprising the unknowing audience there. It was similar to last year’s stunt, in which a few tourists were brought into the Oscar’s show to meet the celebrities in the audience, and it resulted in the same kind of awkwardness and confusion that follows any unplanned moment like this.
As for the rest of the show, those who have followed the award season starting with the Golden Globes in January could have already predicted most of the winners in the major categories. The most unpredictable category was arguably Best Picture, with the monster-genre romance “The Shape of Water” winning the highly-acclaimed award.
Many winners in the acting categories were familiar faces, having won the award before. Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress for her role as the unrestrained, abusive mother of infamous ice skater Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya.” Sam Rockwell won Best Supporting Actor for his role as the problematic and incompetent cop in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Gary Oldman won Best Lead Actor for his portrayal of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in “The Darkest Hours,” despite his revealed history of domestic abuse.
Frances McDormand won her second Best Leading Actress award for her role as a harsh, vengeful mother in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” She is clearly a very talented actress but will likely most be remembered for her inspiring acceptance speech.
During this speech, she brought attention to all of the female filmmakers, cast, and crew members who were nominated in the theater and called for more inclusion in Hollywood films. At the end of her speech, she brought attention to “Inclusion Rider,” which is a clause that A-list actors can include in their contracts that requires films to meet certain diversity requirements for cast and crew members. It was an energetic speech that brought excitement to the audience and many viewers around the world watching the show.
Aside from the celebration of 90 years of Oscars and the promises made to work towards a more diverse and inclusive Hollywood, the Oscars this year was generally a forgettable affair.