During another break, “Triangle of Sadness” actress Dolly de Leon indicated she, too, was having a great time at the show while also noting how different it all felt in person. “It’s perhaps not as big or grand. You know, it all looks a little different on TV.”
Indeed, things do look different on TV, but at least to this journalist, the Dolby inner workings weren’t any less impressive than the selective sheen of the telecast, with acrobatic cameras and virtually invisible cameramen and showrunners circling the orchestra section, making sure that the live broadcast went smoothly without a hitch (or, to quote host Jimmy Kimmel, “without Hitch”). And to Wells’ point, the whole evening was a disarming celebration end-to-end, with frequent cheers, gasps, and standing ovations, many of which were in favor of “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” They were, in fact, so numerous and loud that even the so-called “open” races—like the ones between Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”) and Yeoh, or Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) and Curtis—seemed not to be all that open after all. The support for The Daniels’ original work was vast, and not much else was in the cards, other than brief moments when I felt maybe—just maybe—that Best Picture would go to Edward Berger’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” after the film won four Oscars across Cinematography, Production Design, Musical Score, and International Feature categories.
As I later slowly started to reclaim my senses during the Governors Ball after being overwhelmed by the sensational Hollywood make-believe on display, I realized how welcome that win would have been in a year when the spread of the Oscar-nominated movies—from blockbusters and works of veterans to smaller, riskier pictures—embodied almost everything we all say we want from cinema. The nominees represented a profound range of themes and aesthetics, but the major winners, for the most part, did not. In the aftermath of it all, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “The Fabelmans,” “TÁR,” “Elvis,” and “Triangle of Sadness” closed the awards season with zero Oscars each. Meanwhile, one movie that concealed the superhero craze of the zeitgeist within an indie spirit claimed nearly everything.
Still, it was also hard to argue against the victories of “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which continued the strides made for Asian representation in Hollywood. My feelings for the film aside—I admire its intentions while finding the entire package a little too much and too exhausting—it was genuinely disarming and joyous to hear Quan’s teary “Mom, I just won an Oscar,” Curtis’ “We just won an Oscar” (in support of all her collaborators), and Yeoh’s unapologetically feminist acceptance speech: “Ladies, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re past your prime!” During all of these moments, I couldn’t help but applaud their joy and pride. I even shed a few tears of my own, remembering that Quan’s comeback story was well-earned, Curtis had zero Oscars until Sunday night, and Yeoh became the first Asian woman (and only the second-ever woman of color after Halle Berry) to win a Best Actress Oscar.