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Interesting features about this year’s Academy Awards

The Academy Awards aka the Oscars is inarguably the most celebrated film awards event in the history of cinema itself. The Oscar statuette is widely considered to be the most recognized award ever. Even within the areas where only the big budgeted Hollywood films are welcomed, Oscars remains a culturally significant merit. Even now, all significant honors from a wide range of fields are compared to and equated with this esteemed accolade.

The 96th Academy Awards or the Oscar ceremony of this year took place on Monday, 10th of March  and was televised on ABC, live. Like in many other previous Academy Awards ceremonies, the event this time was also celebrated for both the entertainment quotient and the winnings. However, the awards this time wasn’t short of any peculiarities either. The 2024 Oscars was met with both applause and criticisms for a wide variety of reasons. Let’s go into some of the unique features of this year’s Oscars.

The 14th Governor’s Awards ceremony was held on January 9th, this year. It was hosted by standup comedian John Mulaney. The recipients of the Academy Honorary Awards this time were the cinematic legends Angela Bassett, Mel Brooks and editor Carol Littleton. On the other side, film executive Michelle Satter won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

The Oscars also faced a bane in the form of pro-Palestine protestors. They presented their vexation in the area surrounding the Dolby theatre, site of the Academy Awards. The group made their way from Sunset Boulevard to Hollywood Boulevard in order to raise their issues. Some of the pro-Palestine members also called for ceasefire in front of the Oscars Hall.

The opposition from the protestors also lead to the Oscars running out of schedule. The invitees of the event were blocked from entering the hall due to the incident. The issues with the schedule came as a shocker for everyone who were tuned in around 4PM PT/ 7:30PM ET, for watching the show.

The 96th Oscars was hosted by Jimmy Kimmell, renowned comedian and television host. This marks it the fourth time and the second straight year that he has taken the gig. As for now, only Bob Hope, Bill Crystal and Johnny Carson have hosted more times at the Oscars than Jimmy Kimmell.

One of the incidents which was warmly received by people across the world about this Oscars was the part from the monologue speech delivered by Jimmy Kimmel in which he made a salute for all the below-the-line union workers.  “We were able to make a deal because of the people who rallied beside us. Before we celebrate ourselves, let’s have a very well-deserved round of applause for the people who work behind the scenes: the Teamsters, the truck drivers, the lighting crew, sound, camera, gaffers, grips. That’s right. All the people who refused to cross the picket line”, Kimmel said, alluding to those who picketed in support of WGA and SAG/AFTRA members. “. While the applause for the crew members working on the ABC awards telecast, was slowly building up, Kimmel invited them on stage for acknowledging the cheers.

Oppenheimer made history by gaining about 13 Oscar nominations, which is one of the highest a film has ever achieved. It also managed to gain about 7 wins in the end in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Original Score. Everything about Oppenheimer’s winning was met with unanimous support. Fans of Robert Downey Jr, poured support for the Iron Man actor for finally winning an award at the academy awards after undergoing a cinematic journey of over 50 years. It is also director Christopher Nolan’s first win at the Oscars after so many years of contribution. Curiously enough the Oscar win total of Oppenheimer, is exactly the same as Everything, Everywhere, All at Once – 7 wins.

Just like in the case of every other award event, the Oscars this time wasn’t short of any snub accusations. The biggest accusations were made in favor of Greta Gerwig who directed and co-wrote Barbie. She failed to gain a nomination for the former category while she lost to Cord Jefferson, the writer and director of American Fiction, in the Adapted Screenplay category. Another accusation made this time was against Emma Stone for winning against Lily Gladstone in the Best Actress category. Some of the people called it an unfair win for Emma. Nevertheless, Lily created history by becoming the first ever Native-American actress to ever win a nomination at the Academy Awards, for her work in Killer’s of the Flower Moon. Emma’s victory on the other side was celebrated by a majority of the viewers and hailed as something warm and sweet.

Perhaps the ‘biggest hit’ among all the jests presented in the Academy Awards this year, would be the half-naked appearance of John Cena, which he made in order to present the award for Best Costume Design. This crazy yet funny move was planned for commemorating the 50th anniversary of one of the most bizarre incidents ever happened in the Oscar history – the ‘Oscar Streaker ‘moment. During the 46th Academy Award ceremony in 1974, Robert Opel, a photographer, streaked during the Oscars in front of the audience while flashing a peace sign. This happened while actor David Niven was about to introduce the legend Elizabeth Taylor for presenting the Best Picture Award. David Niven tried to steer the attention from the events by saying that ‘it was bound to happen’.

Some of Jimmy Kimmel’s remarks met with criticisms this year. One such example includes his apparent joke about animation work, citing them as ‘just for children’. Kimmell made his apparent ‘joke’ while the award for Best Animated Feature was about to be presented. 83-year-old veteran Hayao Miyazaki won the award with his film The Boy and the Heron. Fans of the genre (especially the fans of the anime work), expressed their anguish through social media. Chris Miller, who is also one of the producers of the Academy Award nominated film Spiderman: Across the Spider-verse, also criticized this move by Kimmell. In addition, his jab at Christopher Nolan for his ‘personal choices and lifestyle’, also met with strong criticism.

In order to save some time for the guests to arrive on stage, Jimmy Kimmell opened and read out a letter penned by former President Donald Trump, which bashed at Kimmell by describing him as the worst host ever at the Oscars. Reports suggest that Kimmell did all of it, despite being initially warned from not doing so.

English director Jonathan Glazer’s Oscar speech also met with several backslash from Israel supporters. The Zone of Interest filmmaker’s words were also taken out of full context and accused him of refuting his own Jewish heritage. Neverthless, his words received warm reception from those who were present inside the Oscar Hall.

This Academy Awards on another side was remarked for being a gentle appreciation for some of the legends in cinema. At the age of 81 years and 3 months, the legendary director Martin Scorsese achieved the record of being the oldest nominee at the Best Director category, which was previously held by filmmaker John Huston who won the title at the age of 79. However, he also met with severe mockery for winning nothing at the Oscars this time with Killers of the Flower Moon, just like in his previous work Irishman’s case, despite having some good number of nominations. Strangely like in the case of Oppenheimer and Everything Everywhere All at Once as mentioned before, the number of nominations for both Irishman and Killers of the Flower Moon, is 10, proportional to the fact that they both failed to bag anything at the Oscars.

Academy Award winner John Williams was another major veteran who was honored at the Oscars just like Marty. The musician is hailed as one of the pioneers of film-scoring and one of the major inspiring figures in the field. John Williams created a major record with his latest work in the film Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, by becoming the oldest ever nominee in the history of Academy Awards itself. In addition to this, Williams also holds the record for being the most nominated person at the Oscars after Walt Disney.

22-year-old Pop superstar Billie Eillish’s second win at the Oscars for the Best Original Song category was also celebrated at the Oscars. She bagged the award with the song ‘What Was I Made For?’ from Barbie. Billie previously won the award in the same category for the title song of the James Bond movie No Time To Die. Her live performance of the song ‘What Was I Made For?’ also received applause from those who ever present as well as those who were watching the event live. Actor Ryan Gosling also performed his ‘I’m Just Ken’, at the Oscars.

Considered as one of the defined auteurs of modern-day cinema, director Wes Anderson finally earned an Oscar with The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar which won at the Best Live Action Short category. The filmmaker was previously nominated 7 times. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role alongside Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Dev Patel and Richard Ayoade. Wes Anderson wasn’t present at the Oscars for accepting the award.

Legendary actor Al Pacino’s appearance at the Oscars for presenting the Best Film award, met with severe criticisms. In opposite to the usual convention, the actor awkwardly read out the winner’s (Oppenheimer) name after a small speech. Usually, the names of the nominated films were listed out before announcing the winner. Moreover, his slow walk also received attention from everyone who expressed their concern about Al Pacino’s wellbeing.

Overall, the 96th Academy Awards met with positive remarks from audience. However, there were a few who found it boring and loosing its grace. But still, this Oscars did receive appreciation for being better than the previous two Oscar events which were criticized for being totally flavorless. The fans across the globe are looking towards how the upcoming movies will perform and how some of them will fare at the next Academy Awards.

Compiled By Amal John