Oppenheimer’s : The Academy Awards’ highs and lows in 2024

Ironically, what went up, came down—an unchangeable law of physics—didn’t apply in the end. Oscar hype started to accumulate for Christopher Nolan’s biopic Oppenheimer’s as soon as it was released in July 2023 to worldwide critical acclaim and box office success.

The film, a mostly sympathetic portrayal of the father of the A-bomb, ended up winning six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (Nolan), Best Actor (Cillian Murphy), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Downey Jr.), and Original Score. The buzz surrounding the movie continued to grow throughout the awards season.In an attempt to challenge our perceptions of avaricious corporations who upsell plastic dolls on well-groomed heads, Barbie, the movie that debuted on the same day and unleashed a wave of pink (with viewers striking postures in fuschia-colored outfits turning it into their own pre-feature movie), didn’t fare as well.

Out of its eight nominations, it only took home one win (Original Song). Neither Margot Robbie, who plays the lead role, nor director Greta Gerwig received a look-in. Even though one of the highlights of the somber program, which started almost an hour earlier than normal, was Ryan Gosling performing his charming “I’m Just Ken” act (along with a lively dance number), the two nominees for Supporting Category, America Ferrera and Ryan Gosling, remained there.

In actuality, the Barbenheimer double-bill turned become a catchphrase for the year 2023. It symbolized a number of things, including the importance of women (and some good men) who rose to prominence in a film about a pneumatic doll and lifted Hollywood and the film industry as a whole out of the doldrums brought on by the pandemic with their impressive worldwide box office collections.

The doll didn’t stand a chance against the biopic, which heavily favored the theoretical physicist who, depending on your point of view, created the worst or the most effective weapon in history, because of the peculiar, mysterious, and opaque ways that Academy voters, who have only begun to move on from its middle-aged White American prototype in the last ten years, think.

Jimmy Kimmel, the host, promised us surprises after his wobbly monologue, which included jokes about men dating their mothers and how unattractive men’s nether regions looked. However, unless you count rapper-actor John Cena’s nearly nude performance in which he said, “The male body is not a joke,” using a giant envelope as a fig leaf, there truly weren’t any. Cue: chuckles spread over the audience.

Cena was announcing the Best Costume design for Poor Things, a nod to the David Niven-Elizabeth Taylor moment from 1974 where a streaker ran across the stage. It was a cleverer joke than it came across: Yargos Lanthimos’s wonderfully absurd, brilliantly feminist retelling of the Frankenstein myth, which earned Emma Stone a well-earned Best Actress award, uses nakedness in a way that movies have forgotten, making the female body a sharp statement of ownership and liberation.

Watson does a wonderful performance as Bella Baxter. She employs flawless physical comic notes, with her billowing bell sleeves, bloomers (perfectly done, costume department), and open hair falling way beyond her waist, to enrich a lady who learns to live on her own terms.

She goes from jerky toddler gestures to a filled-out personality. Although Lily Gladstone, who starred in Martin Scorsese’s epic story Flowers of the Killer Moon about the Osage people, would have been the politically correct choice (just in terms of representation, her casting is excellent, and it helps that she plays her wealthy Osage heiress Mollie Burkhart, who loses her heart to a cad, with grace), it would have been betrayal if Stone hadn’t won Best Actress.

This wasn’t an India year, in contrast to previous year, which had a strong desi flavor thanks to the Naatu-Naatu dance-off, MM Kreem winning Best Original Song, and the stunning Deepika Padukone performing live. We saw a little glimpse of renowned art director Nitin Chandrakant Desai in the Memoriam segment. Additionally, Nisha Pahuja’s two-hour documentary on the Jharkhand family’s resistance against the rapists of a little girl was nominated in the Feature Documentary category. However, 2017 was always going to be the year of 20 Days in Mariupol, a poignant story of how the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is affecting the residents of the town.

Throughout the evening, the ongoing conflict in Palestine continued to simmer and bubble, but only one person in attendance brought it up for discussion. The Zone of Interest filmmaker Jonathan Glazer talked about the victims of dehumanization in Gaza and Israel. The Zone of Interest is a scathing tale of Nazi revisionism. Even if it was just temporary, it was a strong and essential intervention throughout this glittering, sparkling evening. The director of 20 Days in Mariupol, Mstyslav Chernov, once observed, “Memories form histories, and memories form cinema.”The fact that it was brought up will live on in history and in memory forever.

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