The Award for Most Questionable Choices Goes to the Oscars


photo courtesy of AP Newsroom

Jamie Lee Curtis poses with the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in the press room at the Oscars on March 12.

Maddox Karnes, Arts and Entertainment editor

For football players, there’s the SuperBowl. For designers, there’s fashion week. And for actors, there’s the Oscars, the penultimate event to decide the best of the best in the acting world – but not really.

The 95th Academy Awards were held March 12 on ABC. The ceremony had the classic red carpet flooded with your favorite A-list celebrities, B-list celebrities you faintly know and C-listers who had you saying “oh she was the girl in that one movie.”

With performances from Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Lenny Kravitz, the night was stacked to be a great night. But with any good Academy Awards ceremony, there is sure to be questionable results – I’m looking at you Brendan Fraser.

Some categories really hit the nail on the head, while others took the nail and pressed it against their own head. Regardless, I gave a thorough look into different awards and declared what they got right and what I’m hoping were misprints on the award presenter’s cards.

Costume Design:

To dip our metaphorical toes in the steaming waters of the Oscars, let’s start with a mild category. Costume design was one I don’t think the Academy necessarily got wrong, but I think there was strong competition. 

The top contenders for costume design nominees were “Elvis,” “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” I thought any of the three could’ve rightfully taken it; between the spot-on homages in “Elvis” to the campy colorfulness of “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,” I knew it would be a close call.

But the winner, and my personal choice, ended up being Ruth E. Carter for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” making her the first black woman to ever receive two Oscars. It was ultimately a history-making and deserving win on behalf of Carter, but the riggory is soon to come.

Actress in a Supporting Role:

When the award was handed out, it was a complicated moment for me. Who I presumed to be the tough competition were Stephanie Hsu for “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” and Angela Bassett for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” with my favor falling towards the latter. That’s why when Ariana DeBose read “Jamie Lee Curtis,” I was a bit frazzled. 

Do not construe my words, I am a lover and absolute fanatic for anything Curtis is in. However, her performance in “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” wasn’t at the same caliber as her other co-stars, one of whom being Stephanie Hsu who delivered a gut-punch to my emotions by the end of the film and was arguably robbed of the award. 

But robbed is an understatement I feel when talking about how Angela Bassett was dealt this category. In the words of Debose’s BAFTA rap, she did the thing. Her performance as Ramonda was a stoic one; she held presence and attention even though she wasn’t in the frame for half of the movie. The emotions she invoked through that little light up square at the AMC I thought were more than justification for her Oscar, but alas not.

Makeup and Hairstyling:

For the final category – because I know after talking about it I’ll want to hit my head against a wall – is for a classic Hollywood idea, makeup and hair. There were some great movies this year that I thought excelled in this department, such as “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,” “Elvis,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and even “The Batman.” 

All of them were nominated, so I knew I was about to be happy no matter the outcome. These films showed top class artistry that showed off cultural hairstyles, makeup references and overall innovations that I was very fond of. So you can imagine the tsunami of terror that flooded the interior of my mind palace when they declared that the award for best makeup and hairstyling goes to “The Whale.”

You can call “The Whale” many things; it excelled in cinematography, acting and screenplay. What I find to be an immense stretch, however, is declaring it as having great makeup and hairstyling. 

The Brenden Fraser transformation in that movie was mediocre at best and other than that, there wasn’t much to the hair and makeup process. Meanwhile, the other previously mentioned films all used hair and makeup to severely elevate not only the characters in the story but in some instances it’s a crucial part of the storytelling. I find it difficult to equate that to Fraser in a fat suit. 

Once I shut off my TV, removed my cat from my lap and stood up from my brown suede recliner, I pondered on the horrific wrongdoings of the Academy that night. Why did they do this? How could they do this? Was there another movie about a whale that I just didn’t see? 

After seeing all the good, bad and Brenden Fraser, I can confidently say there were more misses than hits from the Academy. Regardless, I’ll be tuned in next year and, in the meantime, will be adding “Justice for Angela Bassett” in my Twitter bio.