Our Oscars 2023 verdict: did the best films win?

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Everything deserved Everything — and got it.

There’s probably a parallel universe in which Edward Berger’s wildly predictable anti-war drama All Quiet on the Western Front won big (call it the Baftas). What luck that, in our world, the Daniels’ mind-and-heart pummelling multiverse romp triumphed with seven wins, including Best Film. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a riot of fanny packs, hot dog fingers and kung fu, that revolves around two Chinese immigrants, in the hostile environment of America, trying to cope with their chronically-depressed daughter. Yet it is, above all, an audience-pleasing comedy which is why it’s so perfect that cast member Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Tony Curtis, who starred in one of the best comedies ever made, Some Like It Hot, which won a single Oscar (for best costume design). Academy voters have overlooked excellence on many occasions. In 2023, they let the right ones win.

Yeoh deservedly made history

I remember watching the Malaysian actress in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and thinking, “She’s cool. What a shame her character gets sidelined!” I never thought Yeoh, at 60, would become the first Asian woman to win a Best Actress Oscar.

Fraser’s Whale should have been harpooned

And the award for best hyperactive eyebrow wiggling goes to... Brendan Fraser. Poor guy. You can see, in The Whale’s opening 10 minutes, what he’s capable of as the obese shut-in professor, but he can’t rise above the bargain-basement theatrics that follow. Did he deserve to beat Colin Farrell, Austin Butler or Paul Mescal? No, he did not. What use is it to viewers that the 54-year-old former heart-throb has a gripping backstory? Both he and EEAAO’s Ke Huy Quan have one of those. But Quan has that narrative IRL, after disappearing from screens after The Goonies, and, playing Waymond Wang, he consistently dazzles on screen. We’ll be celebrating Waymond for years to come. The Whale’s Charlie, not so much.

A wail for the Banshees

In case you hadn’t noticed, The Banshees of Inisherin and The Quiet Girl came away with nothing. There was much talk about the “great green wave”, but the takeover vanished into thin air. Nach mór an trua é. That’s Irish for “rats!”