The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

An Oscars Review by the Esteemed A&L Team

Before launching into our reflections on the 2024 Oscars on March 10, we deem it appropriate to begin in the exact manner the ceremony commenced: with a short delay to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. On the morning of, hundreds gathered to denounce the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, showing solidarity against the catastrophic violence in Palestine. Protesters marched near the Dolby Theater starting at 10:30 a.m. at Sunset and Highland, chanting and displaying signs to raise awareness. Oscar attendees had to pass through the protesters, who aimed to disrupt the event, drawing attention to the crisis and demanding action from President Joe Biden. Mark Ruffalo, wearing an Artist4Ceasefire pin, raised his fist in support and declared “Humanity wins!” as he hurried down the red carpet.

 

Red Carpet Looks (Leah)

From reliable news sources to random bloggers, everyone has opinions on the outfits at the Oscars – including me. I can’t say that they’re based on anything besides my opinions and the slight amount of research I did. 

 

Best dressed…

America Ferrara wore a stunning pink sequin Versace dress. (Greta Gerwig tried something similar in gold and did not succeed the same way in my opinion.) Celine Song wore a subtle but beautiful Loewe suit/gown. Peplum and feathers?! Lupita Nyong’o made it work in Armani Privé. Da’Vine Joy Randolph in custom Louis Vuitton had the first win of the night for Best Supporting Actress in “The Holdovers.”

My jaw dropped when I saw Carey Mulligan in Balenciaga from the 1950s (pictured here). Lily Gladstone worked with Joe Big Mountain of Ironhorse Quillwork and Gucci on a blue velvet dress that spoke to Indigenous design. Emily Blunt’s interesting Schiaparelli dress had floating straps and underwear lines in sequins. Brittany Snow shined in yellow! (Only a fan because of her iconic role as Chloe in “Pitch Perfect.”) 

Billie Eilish and Finneas matched in Chanel with a crazy patterned black and white look with a red rose for Palestine! Vanessa Hudgens debuted her pregnancy in a turtleneck, black, tight floor-length dress. 

Cynthia Erivo was in a gorgeous reptilian-vibe leather teal gown as a callout to her future role as Elphaba in Wicked. Colman Domingo in a double-breasted suit and bedazzled bow tie was one of my favorite masculine notes. David Oyelowo was in a solid orange suit with a brown shirt. Amatus Sami-Karim and Mahershala Ali stunned as a duo in black with pops of color. Chrissy Marshall, a deaf TikToker, wore a lovely black and gold dress! 

Leah Lewis was in a floaty pink dress that trailed to the ground which was one of my favorites of the night (pictured here)! Margot Robbie was a fan favorite in simple Versace, black sparkles, and cowl-like drape at the hips. Rita Moreno was stunning in Badgley Mischka – a ruffled black gown and opera gloves!

 

Worst dressed… 

Ariana Grande wore a custom strange puffy and bandaged pink look as a shoutout to her role as Glinda in Wicked. The Rock did not slay in his shimmery plastic silver suit by Dolce and Gabbana (pictured here). Andrea Riseborough wore a trippy plaid number that extended neck to toe. Anya Taylor-Joy wore an oddly shaped scalloped custom Dior. 

However, when Emma Stone wore a seafoam peplum it didn’t work quite as well. Florence Pugh was a little too futuristic for me, her satin skirt with a bedazzled structured corset top was paired with 2016 hair and makeup. Melissa McCarthy wore one of my favorite color combos: red and pink. Unfortunately, the fit was a little off. Ava Duvernay was in a unique blue dress with buckled straps and a red flower for Palestine.

 

Winners: Snubs and Surprises (Ana)

The 2024 Oscars might not have made history like last year’s Oscars – Ke Huy Quan as the actor born in Vietnam to win or A24 being the first studio to sweep the top six awards – but the ceremony certainly astonished. 

Predictably, taking home the most awards was Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” with a whopping seven wins, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Score, and Best Cinematography. “Barbie,” however, scored just one win in an anticlimactic conclusion to the cinematic race of 2023: Barbenheimer. 

“Poor Things” garnered four wins, including a Best Actress win for Emma Stone (now a two-time Oscar winner!), Best Production Design, Best Makeup & Hairstyling, and Best Costume Design. 

The night encompassed both surprise and expected wins. 

 

Surprise: 

In a surprising turn, Emma Stone beat out frontrunner Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) for Best Actress. Considering the win is for her (captivating) performance in the offbeat and provocative comedy, “Poor Things,” this is especially baffling. So, who truly deserved the Best Actress? This year graced us cinephiles with an exceptionally strong lineup of Lead Actress performances.

Gladstone, poised to make history as the first Indigenous actress to win an Oscar, fell short after securing the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Female Actor. However, Gladstone is slated to star in a new Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) film, so I have no doubt we will inevitably see her standing on the Oscars stage. 

Stone joins the ranks of an elite group of just 12 actresses who have won Best Actress twice, including Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Ingrid Bergman, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, and Sally Field, the latter of whom gave Stone a beautiful introduction.

 

Expected: 

Robert Downey Jr. and Cillian Murphy won their first-ever Oscars (Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively) for their buzzworthy performances in “Oppenheimer” (I would’ve bet $1 million they’d win). RDJ, overcoming drug addiction and several stints in county jail and prison, is a triumphant example of human resilience. He can officially say “Sayonara” to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and hopefully keep appearing in prestige films.

 

Surprise:
Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” beat “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” for Best Animated Feature. “Spider-Man” defeated “Heron” at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, Annie Awards, and Producers Guild of America Awards, so the prize could’ve gone either way. With this win, Miyazaki secured his status as a Giant in animation with his second Oscar win after winning in 2001 for the masterpiece, “Spirited Away” (2001).

 

Expected: 

Unsurprisingly, Da’Vine Joy Randolph took home Best Supporting Actress for her devastating turn as a grieving mother forced to deal with entitled board school students in “The Holdovers.” She has dominated the entire awards season, winning the award at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Screen Actors Guild. Kudos to Randolph on her first Oscar nomination and win!

 

Surprise: 

The Academy completely shut out Martin Scorcese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Maybe a slow-paced 3.5-hour-long movie isn’t as award-worthy as the tighter, sharper narratives of the other nominated films. Martin Scorcese certainly has terrible luck at the Oscars. For such an illustrious career spanning over 50 years, he has just one Oscar win to his name: Best Director for “The Departed” (2006). 

 

Expected: 

Jennifer Lame, the editor of “Oppenheimer,” scored her second Oscar win for Best Editing. The Academy certainly loves its flashy filmmaking, so Lame’s win comes as no surprise. First winning for her adroit editing of the intricately reversed action in Nolan’s “Tenet” (2020) – easily the best part of an overall mediocre movie. This time around in “Oppenheimer,” Lame continues to show her shows in the film’s dynamic, time-shifting tempo, delivering the Academy a feast they could indulge in. 

 

Surprise: 

Wes Anderson secured his inaugural Oscar win for his live-action short film, “The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar.” However, his absence from the ceremony raised questions. Presenters Issa Rae (who notably starred in three Oscar-nominated films in 2023) and Ramy Youssef found themselves awkwardly accepting the award on his behalf. Was Anderson occupied with work commitments, or could his absence have been a form of protest against the snubbing of “Asteroid City”? 

 

Expected: 

Billie Eilish and brother Finneas took home Best Original Song for the “Barbie” ballad, “What Was I Made For?” Billie Eilish is officially the youngest person to win two Oscars at just 22 years old! Screw you, Billie, for making us all look unaccomplished and lazy.

 

(FUN) Surprise: 

Hollywood has world-class seamstresses, so how did Emma Stone’s dress break? Looks like someone is losing a job… Also, her beautifully authentic speech is a reminder that Stone is one of the most wholesome and real actresses in Hollywood. It’s always nice to see winners act like normal people instead of like robots (I’m looking at you, Tom Cruise).

 

Noteworthy Moments (Hadley):

Let’s start right out with the biggest moment of the entire night: John Cena announcing the award for Best Costuming without clothes. In an ode to a previous Oscar year (around 50 years ago) when a streaking man ran across the stage, Kimmel wondered aloud what would happen if it happened again.

John Cena, of all people, poked his head out from stage right with fear. After a moment of bickering, (that the male body isn’t a joke; a surprisingly well-thought statement) he waddled to center stage, completely nude, holding the award card to cover the not-so-family-friendly parts. 

Before honoring the Stunt community, Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling, both stars of the Barbenheimer movies, appeared onstage with a dynamic rivalry that kept the audience going with their comedic bit. Their battle led to Gosling roasting “Oppenheimer” with support from the audience: “I figured out why they called it Barbenheimer and they didn’t call it Oppenbarbie. I think you guys are at the tail end of that because you were riding Barbie’s coattails all summer.”

Blunt responded with fire in her words “Thanks for Kensplaining that to me. All right, Mr. ‘I need to paint my abs on to get nominated.’” The audience went wild, everyone happy that a mention of the summer’s headliner blockbusters was one final time battling it out at the Oscars.  

For the rest of the night, Kimmel’s hosting was full of the usually tad-uncomfortable jokes where you ask yourself “Who wrote that one?” or “I forgot how much I love dad jokes.” But there was one moment he couldn’t possibly have scripted. Right before the big awards of the night, former President Trump posted his views on the night on Truth Social (his company’s social media platform). Kimmel came onstage, phone in hand, and read the post to the audience. “Thank you for watching, I’m surprised you’re still – isn’t it past your jail time?” This was so bit-worthy that I had to ask my friend to verify the post (oh, the world we live in).

This year the Academy revived the tradition of having previous actors highlight the nominees with personal messages. It was wonderful. Heartfelt messages of wisdom, fun anecdotes or moments of praise were well received from the presenters to the nominees. I hope this continues for years to come.

Throughout the night, the performances for Best Original Song kept the viewers engaged, even though the program ran later than expected again. I don’t know how they keep making these 24 category award shows last three hours; maybe it was a nod to the length to which some of the movies nominated were.

Anyway, Scott George’s and Osage Tribal Singers’ performance of “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)” from “Killers of the Flower Moon” received a well-deserved standing ovation from all of the attendees in the room. If you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend it. Since the Oscars required that the music be written down to be submitted, George recalled in an interview that he asked a friend to write the music. The emphasis placed by the Academy on written music highlights the potential for future improvement. Rather than solely analyzing a song or score within the context of a movie, consideration should also be given to its standalone musical qualities. This includes exploring alternative methods of recording, sharing, and preserving music beyond the classical Western style of sheet music, which has often overshadowed other forms. 

“Barbie” was nominated for two original songs: “I’m Just Ken” (Music and Lyrics by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt) and “What Was I Made For?” (Music and Lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell). Eilish’s performance was moving, but it was “I’m Just Ken” that stole the show. Maybe Ryan Gosling knew it wouldn’t win – or hoped it would – but he went all out. Decked out in a completely pink Barbie suit with matching gloves, he performed a completely choreographed rendition of “I’m Just Ken” joined by the other “Ken’s” from the movie, including Simu Liu.

Now, the chorus of this song has been overplayed to exhaustion, but my favorite part of the song is the synth dance break, and he did not disappoint. He even, at one point, laid in a circle of spinning Barbie cardboard heads. Gosling’s vocals were surprisingly in tune, even with the ear monitor in. I forget he’s in a band. He ran, danced and even showed up with Slash and Wolfgang Van Halen to bring the final chorus home, all while the colors and choreography were an homage to Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” This is another watch-worthy performance

At the end of the night, it came time to wrap it up with the announcement of Best Picture. That job fell to none other than Al Pacino, a fitting man for the job. In a very Pacino-esque way, he didn’t bother to name the other nominees or revel in the anticipation.

“This is the time for the last award for the evening and it’s my honor to present it. Ten wonderful films were nominated but only one will take the award for best picture. And I have to go to the envelope for that. Here it comes. And my eyes see ‘Oppenheimer.’” 

Short and sweet, so much so that the audience didn’t know what to do. They were frozen to their seats. Perhaps if they gave the hosting job to Pacino the awards ceremony would last barely thirty minutes. 

 

A Final Recap:

A night of indisputable entertainment, we thoroughly enjoyed this year’s Oscars. More than in the past few years, the ceremony was sophisticated and respectful. Thankfully, the echoes of The Slap Heard Around the World have faded. 

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About the Contributors
Leah Belber, Assistant Arts & Leisure Editor

Leah is a sophomore from Washington, D.C. who will likely major in English with a minor in French. Deeply opinionated about food, she enjoys trying new restaurants and baking elaborate birthday cakes. You can find her filming TikToks for Bates on the quad or attending PAUSE on Wednesday nights!

In her first year, Leah was a staff writer writing primarily for Arts & Leisure, continuing her work from high school at The Augur Bit.

Hadley Blodgett, Assistant Arts & Leisure Editor
Hadley (she/her) is a Sophomore from Buckfield, Maine which is really close to Bates. She is a member of the Brass Ensemble and also the Jazz Band, and does music in her free time too. In her free time volunteers with the Auburn Community Concert Band providing free community concerts through the summer and winter. Besides a minor interest in music she also enjoys being outside and exploring parts of Maine she hasn’t been to before. Her favorite hike is currently Eyebrow Loop Trail. In her free time she writes, works, and also dabbles in photography.
Anastasia Fowler, Managing Arts & Leisure Editor
Ana is a senior from Westfield, NJ double-majoring in English and Politics. In her free time, Ana enjoys singing with her a cappella group, photosynthesizing in the quad or at the beach, kicking the soccer ball around with buddies, and seeing live music. Previously, Ana served as a Contributing Writer for The Student.

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