A&L Desk Recs: Oscars winners and snubs

Graphic illustration by Grace Everett | Photographer

By Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor

Oscars season has come to an end following Sunday night’s 95th Academy Awards ceremony. A night full of upsets and victories, everyone has their favorite winner and their most-dear nominee. Here are some of our thoughts:

Emma Weidmann | Arts and Life Editor

This year’s Oscars ceremony was a good one for trippy, maximalist movies like “Elvis,” but Baz Luhrmann’s biopic objectively loses out to “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.” Get ready to hear a lot about this movie from us at the Arts and Life desk, and for a good reason. The aesthetic of the film is quite the standout, but where it excels is in its love story.

Did I cry a little bit when I first saw this movie? Yes, but let’s talk about “Elvis.”

Undeniably, this was the movie of the summer in 2022, rivaled only by “Top Gun: Maverick.” I saw “Elvis” in theaters four times last summer at the request of my best friend, and both of us were captivated by Austin Butler’s performance as the king of rock ‘n’ roll. Was this the best movie I’ve ever seen? Absolutely not. But, it deserved more than the complete shut-out that it got in Sunday night’s ceremony.

I especially admired Butler’s complete dedication to the role. He took method acting to a new level when he was unable to quit talking like Presley long after the movie wrapped and the press tour was over.

Olivia Turner | Arts and Life Writer

Call me a bandwagoner, but the Oscars don’t lie. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” completely stole the show at this year’s 95th Academy Awards ceremony, taking award after award, and I’m here for it. Not only was this movie a mind-blowing cinematic masterpiece, but the actors were also more than deserving of the titles they received.

It was truly iconic to see Michelle Yeoh dubbed best leading actress, making her the first Asian actress to win the title, but I must say watching Ke Huy Quan receive the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor — his very first one — was my favorite moment from the Sunday night ceremony. I couldn’t help but feel proud for him when he spoke about how hard he worked to keep his dream alive since his days on “Indiana Jones” and “The Goonies,” and that he felt he had achieved the American Dream in his acceptance speech. Quan’s tears of joy when he called out to his mother watching from home, “Mom, I just won an Oscar!” were contagious through the screen.

Maximilian Diehl | Arts and Life Writer

The fact that “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” and Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pinocchio” came out in the same year is a tragedy. Both of these movies more than deserved the Best Animated Feature win. However, there was just no way to ignore the more than three years poured into the production of “Pinocchio” that likely had the sole edge over its competitor.

“Puss in Boots” was great as well, so this one may have been the most difficult call of the entire night for the awards committee. For most of the non-animated films categories, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” drew most of the attention, with the most notable exception being a Best Actor win for the unbelievable comeback performance for our childhood favorite action star, Brendan Fraser. The cultural phenom “Top Gun: Maverick” was, in my opinion, flippantly passed over for many of the major awards. But at least the remake of the heart wrenching “All Quiet on the Western Front” got its due with the win for Best Cinematography.

Here’s hoping next year offers some more variety.

Lily Nussbaum | Social Media Editor

“Women Talking” for Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Picture, “Women Talking” is an adaptation of the book by Miriam Toews. While the story may be triggering to some audiences, do your research before watching. It’s a deeply emotional story of women coming together and choosing freedom in spite of physical and psychological violence. The highlight of the film is truly its star-studded cast, which includes heavy hitters like Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, Jesse Buckley and Frances McDormand. My only critique is that I’m not fully sold on the color grading of the film, but it’s still an excellent watch and deserving of its nomination and win for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” nominated for Best Animated Feature

You often hear the saying “don’t underestimate the power of a little guy.” That statement rings true in this film. This stop-motion animated film follows the life of Marcel, a little shell with shoes on, as he searches for his family. The concept may sound straightforward, but it truly takes you on a journey of loneliness, loss and finding community. Every joke in the film is perfect and you can just feel the amount of love Director Dean Fleischer-Camp has shine through in each moment. I never thought a one-inch-tall shell would remind me to cherish those around me, but he did.

I laughed, I cried and then I told everyone I know to go watch it. So now I’m telling you. Go watch it.