Why the Oscars Worked This Year

The 2022 Oscars was a surprise, with many calling it the best Oscars in several years. The ceremony was a surprise, with many likening it to a patchwork of years past, but ultimately a welcome change from the usual bore of award ceremonies.

This year, many theories have arisen as to why the 96th Academy Awards were such a success. These theories include:

  1. The quality of goods on display - Compared to previous years, the quality of pictures and the execution of films amongst the nominees was far superior this year. Even films that didn't receive any awards, such as Elvis, were beautifully shot and exceptionally well-made.
  2. The love and respect in the room - Unlike other award ceremonies, viewers and attendees alike agreed that there was an unmatched feeling of love, unity, and respect throughout the Dolby Theatre that evening. Analysts point to this as a reason for why there were very few upsetting or contentious moments.
  3. Political commentary - The Oscars have always been political, and this year was no exception. However, analysts noted that the Academy handled these moments well, with a blend of humor, timing, and an awareness of the need to avoid being too overtly political. This was best demonstrated by Jonathan Glazer's acceptance speech for Best International Film, "Zone of Interest," which garnered applause for its acknowledgment of the dehumanization of Jewish people but also condemnation of Israel's actions in Gaza.
  4. Calling out the Hollywood machine - Winner Cord Jefferson's adapted screenplay speech called out the "conglomerate, amalgamated, any-old-tentpole-in-a-storm mess" that is contemporary Hollywood. Analysts have noted that while most Oscar winners do not typically do this, calling out the industry that has just given you an award is a bold move.
  5. The quality of technical categories - Many agreed that the best moments of the night were those that highlighted the technical categories. From the staging of the opening number to the excerpts of the nominated films and the seamless transitions between segments, the production itself was a highlight. Additionally, John Mulaney's comedic intro to the sound design category and the emotional tribute to the films' missing creators were standouts.

Overall, the 2024 Oscars were a success, and Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune praised the ceremony as a whole.

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