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Saturday, September 30, 2023
September 30 , 2023

Why you should care about the 2023 Oscars

The nominations for this year’s Oscar Awards mark a shift in the way that people view media and theater. As people return to the theater post-Covid, thanks to movies like “Spiderman: No Way Home” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” viewers have become more valued within the film industry, and this year’s Oscar nominations movies highlight that shift.

The prestigious award show recognizes the best films each year, an annual ceremony that solidifies a movie’s reputation. A group of “qualified filmmakers” from around the world form the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that handpicks projects for nomination in each award category.

Films that usually take home an award tend to be high-craft, intellectual pieces of work. Sometimes they are considered inaccessible to mainstream audiences, so people watching at home may not know or care about the films winning.

However, the nominated films this year are more mainstream than usual. Take the anticipated Best Picture category, for example: this year, “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick” were both nominated. Despite both films being considered “blockbusters,” typically only one would have been recognized.

This shift in the Academy is due to the lack of viewership award shows have had in recent years. Take the Golden Globes, for example — they’ve suffered from scandals and inability to change with the times. No one cares anymore about what is the best new arthouse film in a post-COVID world. People just want the movies they watch to be celebrated.

Maybe that’s why there have been a record-breaking 16 first-time nominees this year. Or, maybe it’s in an effort to reach different types of people. For example, actors like Michelle Yeoh — the first ever Asian woman to get nominated for Best Actress — have gained the attention of the Academy.

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“Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,” the film Yeoh starred in last year, leads with 11 nominations, an almost-record-breaking number.

Other notable additions include fan favorite Ke Huy Quan for best supporting actor and Paul Mescal for “Aftersun” in the Best Actor category, my favorite A24 indie film that I didn’t think would clinch a nomination. Andrea Riseborough’s nomination for Best Actress in “To Leslie” comes after a fair amount of controversy for its lack of a campaign and abrupt nomination.

The Oscars, however, did snub a few films this year including “The Woman King” starring Viola Davis and “RRR,” a recent Bollywood action flick that received a lot of buzz. Both films center stories about people of color.

This upcoming Oscars race is a chance to look back on the Academy’s history as an institution and see what it means to the best of the best. Is film about breaking boundaries and pushing the envelope, or is it about creating something that connects people and makes us laugh and cry together?

Tune into the the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday, March 12 at 8 p.m. to see which films take home an Oscar award.

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