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Oscar Sunday

By Vanni Bhardwaj

The Oscars 2024, held under the radiant lights of the Dolby Theatre, drew Hollywood's crème de la crème to the red carpet, blending haute couture with high drama. The evening was hosted by none other than America’s late-night funnyman Jimmy Kimmel. As the curtains fell, the films "Oppenheimer" and "Poor Things" took centre stage, both securing prestigious awards for their outstanding contributions to filmmaking.

"Oppenheimer" stood tall, with Christopher Nolan earning Best Director for his visionary guidance. The talented cast, including Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., played pivotal roles in the film's success, with Murphy winning Best Actor and Downey Jr. claiming his first Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. During his acceptance speech, Downey humorously quipped, “I’d like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy, in that order,” injecting his signature wit into Hollywood's biggest night.

Murphy dedicated the award to peacemakers worldwide, recognizing the impact of Oppenheimer's world and concluding with heartfelt thanks in Irish. Technical triumphs followed, with "Oppenheimer" securing awards for Best Film Editing (Jennifer Lame), Best Cinematography (Hoyte van Hoytema), and Best Original Score (Ludwig Göransson). Finally, the film received the Best Picture award as its crowning jewel, recognizing the collaborative efforts of Nolan, Emma Thomas, and Charles Roven.

Emma Stone clinched her second Academy Award, securing the Best Actress trophy for her performance in the  dark comedy "Poor Things," where she portrayed Bella Baxter, a woman brought back to life. The 35-year-old actress had previously won her first Oscar for the 2016 musical "La La Land." In a moment of unexpected humour, Emma addressed a wardrobe malfunction during her acceptance speech. She expressed gratitude to her fellow nominees, the collaborative effort behind "Poor Things" that brought the film to life, and director Yorgos Lanthimos for the "gift of a lifetime in Bella Baxter."

"Poor Things" not only shone in the creative realms but also made a stylish statement on the Oscar stage. The film received Best Production Design for its visual world and Best Costume Design for Holly Waddington's imaginative designs. The film's makeup and hairstyling team, led by Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier, and Josh Weston, also won the Best Makeup and Hairstyling award.

The celebration went beyond the glamour, acknowledging diverse cinematic achievements beyond major motion pictures. Da'Vine Joy Randolph’s role in "The Holdovers" earned her the Best Supporting Actress award, and Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell claimed Best Original Song for "What Was I Made For?" from "Barbie." Wes Anderson and Steven Rales received the Best Live Action Short Film award for their work on "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar." Cord Jefferson's adept adaptation of "American Fiction" earned him Best Adapted Screenplay, while the innovative storytelling of "Anatomy of a Fall" by Justine Triet and Arthur Harari took home the Best Original Screenplay award.

The 96th Academy Awards reminded us of cinema's power to move and inspire. The awards celebrated the diversity of stories, voices, and visions that make up the world of film. Like  Steven Spielberg said, “At their very best, films can do more than to entertain us. They can open our hearts to each other, they can show us ourselves, and they can shine a light on where we’ve been and make us think about where we are going.”

This is the essence of what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) recognizes each year as they present these awards. The iconic Oscar statuette, an Art Deco-style knight, stands as a symbol of this honourable recognition. As the night ended, it left us eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the glorious history of the silver screen.

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