The Oscars are Sunday, but done last year’s Oscars ever really end?
When Hollywood reunites at the Dolby Theater the 95th Academy Awards, The ceremony will signal many things. The likely triumph of Everything, Everywhere at Once. A potentially historic night for Asians and Asian Americans in the film industry. Possibly a record number of jokes about “Cocaine Bear.”
But for many, nothing will register more than returning to The Slap’s side. In a way we are all silent Living in this frozen moment. Chris Rock’s face twisted sideways. Will Smith’s arm stretched out dramatically. A deadly silence over the Dolby Theater.
A new low for the Oscars but a peak of public fascination, The Slap was instantly etched into collective memory, and its shock never fails to reverberate. Rock, in a live stand-up special on Sunday, was just offering his fiery rebuttal and inserted a fresh new volley into the silence ongoing discourse about the incident.
For the first time this year, two sequels (“Top Gun: Maverick”, “Avatar: The Way of Water”) are nominated for Best Picture. But this year’s Oscars – whether they like it or not – will also be a sequel, just one without the main stars in attendance. Smith was Banned by the film academy for 10 years. Rock sticks to stand-up.
Presenter Jimmy Kimmel – who was on the Dolby stage in 2017 the river, a moment of Oscar shame now all but forgotten – has said he will address The Slap. It would be “ridiculous” not to, he said The Hollywood Reporter.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is also making preparations. After a sluggish reaction to Smith’s actions Academy President Janet Yang has called it “inadequate.” the Oscars have their first “crisis team” to deal with surprises. Kimmel, who has previously hosted twice, was brought in in part to have a steady hand on the broadcast, which will restore all categories to the live show. Kimmel is the show’s first solo host since he last hosted it five years ago.
“We learned from this that the academy must be completely transparent and accountable in our actions,” Yang said over lunch last month, “and especially in times of crisis, you must act quickly, compassionately and decisively for us and our industry.”
Kimmel’s challenge will be to refer to The Slap without allowing it to define other Oscars. Last year, after Smith’s punch and subsequent roar from his seat, the Academy Awards stumbled blurrily through the remainder of an airless ceremony and took away the spotlight the landmark victory for the deaf drama “CODA” and documentary winner “Summer of Soul,” the award presented by Rock Questlove. Smith also won his first Oscar for King Richard. He didn’t apologize at that moment, but he did in a statement the next day. Schmidt soon after resigned from the Academy.
This year, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” will be added an impressive 11 nominations. Despite being an unlikely Oscar front-runner, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s multiverse mashup is expected to win Best Picture after winning top Guild awards. The Daniels, as they are known, are favored over the best Steven Spielberg for best director. Former child star Ke Huy Quan is seen as a castle for Best supporting actor. Michelle Yeoh could become the first winner of Best Asian Actress.
CAN EVERYTHING STOP “ALL AT ONCE”?
The A24 indie hit had an enviable run before the Oscars. Winning with the Screen Actors Guild, The producers guildThe Directors’ Guild and the Writers Guild. History says nothing can beat it. Still some doubts remain that the crazy action comedy just isn’t Oscar enough material to win, and that the World War II film “All Quiet on the Western Front” – which won at the BAFTAs and comes in with nine nominations – could sneak in for the excitement. The harrowing anti-war Netflix film from Germany has found particular appeal in Europe, where Russia’s war in Ukraine rages on. The documentary-nominated “Navalny” about the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, is more directly related to current events in Eastern Europe.
WHAT’S THE LATEST IN BEST ACTRESS?
By far the most violent and controversial category this year is Best Actress. It’s seen as a clash of heavyweight contenders in first-time nominee Yeoh and two-time winner Cate Blanchett for “Tár.” Both went home with the trophy Andrea Riseborough received a nod for little-seen drama ‘To Leslie’ after a host of celebrities ran an A-list grassroots campaign for the British actress. Two acclaimed black actresses at the same time – Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) And Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) – were left out, prompt a debate on the influence of connections, money and race on awards campaigns. Just as the whole matter seemed to be fading, Yeoh on Tuesday, with hours before the end of the Oscar voting, posted screenshots of a Vogue article on Instagram advocating for Yeoh to win Blanchett over. Academy rules prohibit “any tactic that singles out ‘the competition’ by name or title.” Yeoh deleted the post. Throughout the race, however, she and Blanchett shared hearty celebrations.
WHERE ARE THE STREAMERS?
Last year’s Best Picture winner, “CODA,” marked the first time a streamer had won Hollywood’s grand prize. Many of the pandemic-era nominees were released home quickly, if not immediately. This year it’s a completely different story. Only one of the 10 films nominated for Best Picture was from a streaming service: Netflix’s “All Quiet on the Western Front.” This film was due to receive a number of awards on Sunday, including best international film and best cinematography. Netflix’s Guillermo del Toros Pinocchio is also a strong favorite to win Best Animated Feature. But after years of Oscar rise, Netflix and co could experience a setback in the top categories. This coincides with cutbacks across the streaming industry after years of rapid growth.
WILL BLOCKBUSTERS BOOST RATINGS?
It’s been years since the best picture contestants have been this cash rich. Top Gun: Maverick grossed nearly $1.5 billion worldwide. (Spielberg was overheard telling Tom Cruise at the Oscars luncheon that he had “saved Hollywood.”) “Avatar: The Way of Water” is the third-highest-grossing film of all time with nearly $2.3 billion in ticket sales. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ($858.8 million) Angela Bassett could win the first acting Oscar for a Marvel movie, although the Supporting actress category remains one of the hardest to call. But historically, ratings have often increased with the popularity of the nominees. Last year’s ceremony, which was perhaps fueled by those rushing to catch episodes of The Slap, drew 16.6million viewers. That was a 58% increase from the pandemic-stricken 2021 edition (viewed from a record low of 10.5 million), but still a far cry from the viewership of a few years ago. Last year’s show had been billed as a return to normalcy for the Oscars — at least before, well, you know what. This year will go a long way in defining what the new normal is for the Oscars telecast.
WHAT IS THE OVER/UNDER IN SLAPS?
As Kimmel noted, you can bet on anything at the Academy Awards, including whether someone will beat the presenter.
“If you bet $100 on yes, you win $1,200,” Kimmel said on his late-night show earlier this winter. “From what I have to say seems like they are encouraging someone with a game problem to hit me. Correct?”
Follow AP film writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP
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https://www.local10.com/entertainment/2023/03/08/at-the-oscars-a-year-later-the-slap-stays-in-the-picture/ At the Oscars a year later, The Slap stays in the picture