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Aftermath of the 2024 Oscars at HHS

An actual Oscar award statue on display during the Meet the Oscar Exhibit at Grand Central Terminal on February 27, 2011 in New York City.

Every year, between late February and early March, the Oscars are held to commemorate the most beloved movies of the year. Celebrities in glamorous attire, entertaining music and comedy performances, and best of all, intrigue that builds with every second. The audience watches in suspense, hoping to see their favorite projects of the year get their deserved recognition. 2023 brought about a dynamic film line-up, with iconic box-office hits such as Oppenheimer and Barbie, strikingly inventive films such as Poor Things, dramatic comedies such as American Fiction and The Holdovers, tales of love and life such as Past Lives and Anatomy of a Fall, and many, many more. But what were people expecting? What shocked, what pleased, what disappointed? Hastings High School teachers have opinions to share…

Grossing nearly a billion dollars world-wide, and captivating watchers and critics alike for many months straight, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer was heading into the Academy Awards with a whopping 13 nominations (the most nominations this year). The expectations were high, and the picture was expected to come home with multiple Oscars in hand. Mr. Scotch, who teaches Film Studies I and II, has not yet seen Oppenheimer but is surely planning to, stated that “…[he] knew it was going in as the Awards’ favorite,” and that “makes [him] excited to see it.” Armed with show-stopping acting, impressive cinematography, and a wonderfully cohesive, engaging plot, Oppenheimer has taken the hearts of many, even those who haven’t had the chance to see the full picture.

Time has now passed since the awards ceremony, and everyone seems satisfied with the winners. To give a quick run-down of the highlights: Oppenheimer took best picture, Christopher Nolan took best director, Cillian Murphy took best actor, and Emma Stone took best actress.

As discussed before, few were surprised by Oppenheimer’s wins.

However, many were surprised that Emma Stone, leading actress of Poor Things, won; everyone seemed ready for Lily Gladstone, leading actress of Killers of the Flower Moon, to go home with an Oscar in hand. Ms. Grassia, the beloved school librarian, discusses this loss, and states that “…if I hadn’t watched [Poor Things], I probably would’ve thought, ‘well, Lily Gladstone, maybe she wasn’t as good as Emma Stone.’ The reality is that Lily’s performance was very different. I am upset that Lily didn’t win because Killers of the Flower Moon went home with zero awards, and that [category] was where it was most likely to win.” With Martin Scorsese, the director of Killers of the Flower Moon, having won practically nothing from the Academy the past decade, many were hoping that Gladstone’s performance would finally change the tide.

Going up against Barbie, Poor Things sweeped just about every visual award, winning best makeup and hairstyling, best costume design, and best production design. Many were saddened by this turn of events, since it meant Barbie had lost the few categories it was surely confident in its chances of winning. Many, however, were pleased with these nominations, and found them entirely deserved. Mr. Merchant, the head of the HHS Art department (and movie enthusiast), attests that “anything Poor Things won in the visual category, absolutely it deserved – that movie was a treat visually!” The film certainly doesn’t hold back, proudly presenting its stunning sights, ranging from abstract city-scapes, to absurdly puffy dresses, and skies of every color of the rainbow.

On the topic of Barbie, the movie left with only one award, that being best original song for Billie Eillish’s “What Was I Made For?” It was competing with another song from Barbie, Ryan Gosling’s iconic “I’m Just Ken.” Both songs were performed in between awards, and, as expected, “I’m Just Ken” was an immediate fan favorite. Ryan Gosling donned an all pink suit, and his performance was engaging, comedic, and charming all at the same time. 

Despite this gorgeous picture line-up, some felt that certain movies didn’t get nearly enough love. Mr. Scotch and Mr. Merchant both wished Past Lives, a striking film about past love and future life, had received more attention. Past Lives had started the awards season off with two Oscar nominations, however it wasn’t awarded any. Ms. Grassia wished Killers of the Flower Moon had won something, since as she puts it, “I’m always sad when Scorsese’s films don’t win, and, unfortunately, his recent record has him at like, 0-21, for his recent nominations, over the past decade or two.” Killers of the Flower Moon went in with four nominations, but ended up taking none home.

By the end of this year, every movie watcher could find a film that resonated with them. Mr. Scotch concluded that “…Past Lives was the one that haunted [him] the most. And it was so expected, but The Holdovers had great acting.” Mr. Merchant, too, had ended up loving Past Lives, alongside Ms. Grassia, who attested that “…it was the kind of movie that when I was watching it, I realized if I had seen this when I was 20, it would’ve been my whole personality. It’s that kind of movie, where I would’ve just repeatedly watched it over and over.”

With the Oscars awarded, this cinema season has been officially concluded, and 2024 has begun to make its entrance, with new pictures like Dune: Part 2, and A24’s Love Lies Bleeding. Only time will tell if 2024 will live up to its predecessor.

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