With viewership numbers decreasing over the years, The Academy made many changes to this year’s 95th Oscars. Jimmy Kimmel returned as the solo host after experimenting with multiple hosts last year featuring Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes. Unlike last year’s Oscars, which awarded eight categories off-screen due to complaints that the awards ceremony was too long, all categories were back on the main stage this year. QR codes were also present on screen during the show in an attempt to create a more interactive viewing experience and increase understanding of the different categories.
Interestingly, perhaps the most important changes occurred off-screen. In order to attract a broader audience and make the show more relevant for younger generations, the Academy of Motion Picture and Arts and Sciences posted acceptance speeches across popular social media platforms like TikTok. The show was also available for live stream on Hulu Live TV + and Disney+ even streamed the show live in certain parts of Europe (source). Ultimately these efforts to increase viewership worked! According to Nielsen, 18.7 million people tuned in, a 12% increase from last year’s ratings.
This year’s 95th Oscars was lacking in terms of in-show brand moments and integrations. However, the sponsorships and ad promos that aligned with the show were as present as ever. On the red, or should I say champagne carpet, Mercedes Benz sponsored E!’s favorite accessory, the glambot. The glambot allows stars to display their outfits in action through a slow-mo camera that is heavily featured in their red carpet interviews. The Mercedes Benz logo was featured whenever the glambot was on camera. Meanwhile the show’s sponsors all seemed to have some sort of alignment with the history of film. With Disney celebrating its 100-year anniversary (and ABC being part of that conglomerate), and The Oscars celebrating 95 years, there was a lot to celebrate. Hyundai had a spot that went through Disney’s history of animation. Rolex put together a reel of historic films and how time was featured throughout all of them. Volvo pushed their new vehicle and how its eco-friendly power and individuality mirrored production jobs that tend to get overlooked. They described it as “safety behind the scenes.” Standard sponsors of the show included Pfizer, Booking.Com, and Verizon.
The former two had lengthened commercials at the top of breaks. But Verizon had a more specific push, with their primary ad featuring a supercut of the year’s most popular streaming titles. This was to depict Verizon’s new platform that combines all customer’s streamers accounts to consume their content in one place! A great audience for this rollout.
The relatively smooth awards ceremony had a record-breaking number of firsts for its 95th year. We can start with the Queen herself, Michelle Yeoh, who became the first Asian woman to win best actress for her phenomenal role in Everything Everywhere All At Once. This makes Yeoh only the second woman of color to win the coveted award in its 95-year history. The first was Halle Berry in 2002 for her role in Monster’s Ball. Thanks to its primarily Asian cast, Everything Everywhere continued to make history. Ke Huy Quan, who played opposite Yeoh in the film, made history by being the first Asian man to take home the supporting actor statue. Acting veteran James Hong, took home his first Oscar after 69 years in showbiz. He accepted the award with the cast of Everything Everywhere, for the biggest win of the night, Best Picture. Hong has starred in over 650 films and 25 TV series, marking this an iconic peak in his career. Meanwhile, “Naatu Naatu” from the action Bollywood film, RRR, was the first Indian song to win Best Original Song. Outshining American pop stars, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. In general, a lot of artists collected their career first Oscar, including the aforementioned Ke Huy and Michelle Yeoh.
But this list also includes Brendan Fraser (Best Actor for The Whale), Jamie Lee Curtis (Best Supporting Actor for Everything Everywhere), and Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (otherwise known as The Daniels) for their direction of Everything Everywhere. Legendary costume designer, Ruth Carter, became the first black woman to take home a second Oscar for her costume design of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She won her first award for the original Black Panther film.
Although nothing will top the infamous Chris Rock slap, which Kimmel could not avoid joking about in his opening monologue, this year’s Oscars did not come without its fair share of memorable moments. The musical performances throughout the night were truly magical. It’s hard to believe, but Rihanna might have outdone her Super Bowl performance with her live performance of “Life Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Lady Gaga also blessed us with a stripped-down version of her nominated song “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick and was stripped down herself, rocking a t-shirt, jeans, and no makeup during the performance. And of course… David Byrne had to break out the hot dog fingers in his performance with Stephanie Hsu of their song “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All At Once.
We definitely did not expect to see animals on stage at such a glamorous affair, but Jenny the donkey from The Banshees of Inisherin and Cocaine Bear both shined nonetheless.
Actors and actresses alike were “saying yes to the dress” as white was the color of the evening. Just a few of the glamorous couture brides on the carpet were Michelle Yeoh (Dior), Ariana Debose (Atelier Versace), and Anna De Armas (Louis Vuitto). Perhaps it was Tems who stole the show (or blocked everyone from seeing it) with her white Lever Couture gown with a massive billowing hood. Too bad for the people sitting behind her but she looked stunning regardless. Bravo!
It seems everyone is in agreement that Angela Bassett was snubbed when she lost for Best Supporting Actress to Jamie Lee Curtis… and Bassett did not try to hide her disappointment.
Last but certainly not least a huge congratulations to All Quiet On The Western Front and Everything Everywhere All At Once for taking home the most awards of the evening. All Quiet On The Western Front took home nine awards and Everything Everywhere All At Once took home 10.
Special thanks to Annabelle Sharenow and Taylor Evans for their contributions to The Buzz – Oscars 2023.