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The Oscars Are Not Always Predictable

March 11, 2024 12:21 IST
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In the biggest surprise of the night, Emma Stone grabbed the Best Actress trophy for the complex portrayal of a Frankenstein-like character Bella, in Yargos Lanthimos’ electrifying and most original film Poor Things. Aseem Chhabra recaps the 96th Annual Academy Awards.

IMAGE: Emma Stone poses with the Best Actress Oscar for Poor Things. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

At the end of the 96th Academy Awards ceremony, one thing became clear: The Oscars are not always predictable.

While many of the awards presented at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles went to those who were expected to win, in the biggest surprise of the night, Emma Stone grabbed the Best Actress trophy for the complex portrayal of a Frankenstein-like character Bella, in Yargos Lanthimos’ electrifying and most original film Poor Things.

Stone was really good in the film and deserved to win but based on the recent guild awards, it was becoming increasingly evident that Lily Gladstone would take the Best Actress trophy for her heartfelt performance in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.


IMAGE: Emma Stone congratulates Cillian Murphy after he wins the Oscar for Best Actor for Oppenheimer. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

The Academy’s voters -- over 10,000 strong -- can sometimes be unpredictable. That is good because it makes the award season and the competition a lot more interesting.

While Stone was shocked to receive the award, she did the standard thing of thanking the presenters and recognising the other nominees in the Best Actress category.

She had a special message for Gladstone: 'Lily, I share this with you. I am in awe of you. And it has been such an honour to do all of this together. Hope we keep doing more together.'

This is Stone’s second Best Actress win, putting her in the league of the likes of Katherine Hepburn (four Best Actress awards), Meryl Streep (two Best Actress and one Best Supporting Actress awards), Francis McDormand (three Best Actress awards) and Cate Blanchett (one Best Actress and one Best Supporting Actress awards).

IMAGE: Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas pose with their Oscars at the Governors Ball, following the Oscars. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer won seven Oscars, including the first Best Director award for the filmmaker who has been making wildly imaginative science fiction thrillers. 

After Oppenheimer won the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award at Screen Actors Guild event, its Best Picture Oscar was more or less sealed.

The film also won the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards for Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr.

IMAGE: Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell pose with the Oscar for Best Original Song for What Was I Made For? from Barbie. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Poor Things took home four Oscars, while one trophy each was given to Barbie (Best Song: What Was I Made For?) and The Holdovers (Best Supporting Actress to Da’Vine Joy Randolph).

The wonderfully talented and one of the most original filmmakers of our time, Wes Anderson finally won his first Oscar for The Wonderful World of Henri Sugar in the Best Live Action Short category.

Based on a short work by Roland Dahl, The Wonderful World... is the story of a clairvoyant guru, who can see things by practicing a particular kind of yoga. Alas, Anderson was not present to accept his award.


IMAGE: Jonathan Glazer. Photograph: Sarah Meyssonnier/Reuters

As always, there were moving acceptance speeches, plus moments of light humour and banter.

But some actors and filmmakers made it a point to speak out against the current war in Gaza.

Mark Ruffalo, Ramy Youssef, Mahershala Ali and brother-sister duo Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell wore red pins to show support for a ceasefire in the ongoing war.

In accepting the Best International Film Award for The Zone of Interest (the first such award won by UK), British director Jonathan Glazer said the film reflected on 'where dehumanization leads to at its worst.'

He added: 'All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present -- not to say, ‘look what they did then,’ rather ‘look what we do now.'

'Whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all are victims of this dehumanization. How do we resist?'

IMAGE: Mstyslav Chernov, Michelle Mizner and Raney Aronson - Rath pose with the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature Film for 20 Days in Mariupol. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Mstyslav Chernov, the Ukrainian director of the harrowing film 20 Days in Mariupol, which won the Best Documentary, said, 'I wish I had never made this film.'

He added that he hoped for the historical record to be set straight and truth to prevail. There was absolute silence in the theatre as he spoke.

Through the evening, the host of show Jimmy Kimmel made digs at the actors and filmmakers but he saved the best comment for the former US President Donald Trump: 'Isn’t it past your jail time?'

A lot of people in the audience burst out laughing.

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