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The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

96th Oscars were more than ‘Kenough’

Billie+Eilish+attends+the+Vanity+Fair+Oscars+after-party+on+Mar.+10+in+Beverly+Hills.+Eilish+won+the+Oscar+for+Best+Original+Song+for+What+Was+I+Made+For%3F+from+Barbie.+I%E2%80%99m+so+thankful+for+this+song+and+for+this+movie%2C+and+the+way+that+it+made+me+feel%2C+Eilish+said+in+her+acceptance+speech.
Photo used with permission from Google Commons
Billie Eilish attends the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party on Mar. 10 in Beverly Hills. Eilish won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie.” “I’m so thankful for this song and for this movie, and the way that it made me feel,” Eilish said in her acceptance speech.

The 96th Academy Awards were held on the evening of Mar. 10 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, featuring a star-studded show, an homage to the year’s most acclaimed films and a “Kenergetic” performance.

Hollywood’s cinema industry faced tumultuous times in 2023, with the SAG-AFTRA and WGA labor strikes pausing production for films and television shows. The labor strife raised uncertainty for the industry and the status quo of cinema has changed significantly going into 2024.

Four-time host Jimmy Kimmel acknowledged these changes in his opening monologue at the start of the show. Kimmel took a few digs at nominees like Robert Downey Jr. and made political comments here and there.

Kimmel also called out the controversial snubs for box-office sensation “Barbie.” Neither Margot Robbie nor Greta Gerwig were nominated for Best Actress or Best Director, respectively. “Now Barbie is a feminist icon thanks to Greta Gerwig, who many believe deserved to be nominated for best director. I know you’re clapping, but you’re the ones who didn’t vote for her by the way,” Kimmel said, referring to the audience.

The “Barbenheimer” phenomenon brought back the luster that the movie-going experience has lacked in recent years. So, it was no surprise that both “Barbie” and the acclaimed biopic “Oppenheimer” were central to the Oscars this year with the latter winning a whopping seven awards – the most accoladed of the night. The film won Best Picture and Best Actor, with director Christopher Nolan winning his first (and long overdue) Oscar for Best Director.

Despite “Oppenheimer’s” sweep in awards, “Barbie” was able to win the Oscar for Best Original Song for “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell. Both made Academy Award history by being the youngest people to ever win two Oscars.

Arguably, the highlight of the evening was Ryan Gosling’s performance of his hit song “I’m Just Ken,” also from “Barbie.” Fit in a bejeweled hot pink tuxedo, Gosling performed on stage alongside legendary guitarist Slash from Guns N’ Roses and 65 other “Kens,” according to The Guardian. Gosling may not have won an Oscar, but his Kenergy certainly stole the show.

For the first time since 2009, the Academy brought back the “Fab Five” award presentation format, where five previous winners of an award returned to the stage to pay tribute to current nominees. Critics had mixed reviews on the Academy’s decision, but one of the show’s executive producers, Molly McNearney, told Variety the reason for this change. “We wanted them to feel personal… and we wanted it to feel like a friend speaking on your behalf,” McNearney said.

Through one of the “Fab Five” presentations, Da’Vine Joy Randolph won Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Holdovers,” and delivered a powerful and heartful acceptance speech.

One of the more unpredictable categories of the night was the Oscar for Best Actress. The top contenders in this category were Emma Stone for the gothic comedy “Poor Things” and Lily Gladstone for the crime drama “Killers of the Flower Moon,” inspired by the early 1900s Osage Indian murders.

The race was neck and neck, but in the end, Stone won the category. Had Gladstone won, the actress would have been the first Native American to win an Oscar. Nonetheless, Gladstone has been an influential figure for Native American representation in Hollywood and has already made history by being the first Native American to be nominated.

Regardless of the snubs and controversies, this year’s Oscars were historical and provided hope for the film industry in years to come. The award ceremony was the most-watched since 2020, following four years of decline in viewership. “I think as long as people continue consuming movies, the Oscars will still remain important, especially considering how many were upset about [Robbie and Gerwig] not being nominated,” sophomore Stephanie Yang said.

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About the Contributor
Pragna Pothakamuri, staff writer
Sophomore Pragna Pothakamuri is a staff writer in her first year on the Common Sense staff. In her free time, she enjoys writing, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family. You can reach out to her at [email protected].
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