Instead of slapping or gaffes, this year’s show simply offered great entertainment
Host Jimmy Kimmel began this year’s Oscars by parachuting onto the stage to the music of “Top Gun: Maverick.”
And from the moment he landed (with the aid of a secured harness), the show rarely missed a beat in being funny, entertaining and even profound.
Sunday’s show at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood was one of the best Oscars shows in recent years. Mr. Kimmel did well with most of his jokes in his opening monologue, and this telecast stood out for enthusiastic acceptance speeches.
Previous Oscars shows have suffered from some mishaps. But this year, no one slapped a presenter, as Will Smith did last year when Chris Rock cracked a joke about Mr. Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. No one read from the wrong envelope, as Warren Beatty did during the best picture announcement in 2017.
Although there were no gaffes or violence at this year’s show, there were some misses. During his monologue, Mr. Kimmel tried to use humor to make a valid point about the failure to nominate female directors, but the joke fell flat, and the audience reacted with silence.
He was more successful about his points about diversity when he stopped joking and pointed out great films that starred black women and were snubbed by the Oscars: “The Woman King,” starring Viola Davis, and “Till,” starring Danielle Deadwyler.
For the most part, Mr. Kimmel, one of the best hosts of the Oscars in recent years, kept the show moving with great humor and the perfect pace.
One of his funniest jokes came when he noted all the highest grossing movies were sequels or franchises.
“Even Steven Speilberg had to make a movie about Steven Spielberg,” Mr. Kimmel said, referring to the semi-autobiographical “The Fabelmans.” The audience, including Mr. Spielberg, laughed.
Mr. Kimmel handled references to last year’s incident with Mr. Smith with the right kind of humor. He pointed out people who could provide security, such as Spider-Man himself: Andrew Garfield, who played the web-slinger in Marvel Studios films. Mr. Garfield cracked a smile and showed some surprise when the camera caught his reaction from his seat.
Overall, the show had a genuine feeling of celebration,
The audience even sang “Happy Birthday” to James Martin, an Irish actor with Down syndrome, as he stood on stage with directors Ross White and Tom Berkeley as they accepted the Oscar for a short, “The Irish Goodbye.”
There were also some performances of Oscar-nominated songs, including Lady Gaga singing “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick” and Rihanna giving an incredible performance of “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Lady Gaga changed out of her glamorous dress into a simple black shirt and pants and wiped off her makeup for the bluesy “Hold My Hand,” and it was the right choice for that song. There’s nothing wrong with a simpler approach.
The tone for the show was set by acceptance speeches such as the one by Ke Huay Quan, who won for best supporting actor for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the movie that ultimately won for best picture. Mr. Quan’s sincere enthusiasm was a joy to watch.
Jamie Lee Curtis was equally enthusiastic when she accepted the Oscar for best supporting actress in the same film.
And Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan — Mr. Kwan, in particular — showed sincerity, humility, gratitude and sheer joy during their acceptance speeches for best directing and best writing for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Michelle Yeoh and Brendan Fraser gave inspirational acceptance speeches, marked with gratitude and enthusiasm, for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “The Whale,” respectively.
In this writer’s opinion, Mr. Fraser’s portrayal of an overweight teacher trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is easily the best performance of Mr. Fraser’s career.
This year’s speeches made good points about achieving your dreams and the progress made in diversity in movies, without being too preachy.
Mr. Kimmel had some fun with time limits for acceptance speeches as he demonstrated how the dancers from “RRR” would move people off the stage.
Other than that bit, acceptance winners knew their time was up when the great orchestra played them off the stage. (It was great to not just hear but at times, see the orchestra in action off on the side of the stage.)
But strangely enough, some winners were allowed to make longer acceptance speeches than others before the orchestra would play them off. The News-Press timed the speeches and found some people had to leave the stage at 45 seconds while others were allowed to talk for two minutes or longer before the orchestra would start playing.
In one instance, several people were on stage accepting for an Oscar when one person was allowed to give a speech, then the orchestra began playing just as the second person said, “Thank you.”
Even after 95 years of award presentations, there are still a few kinks to work out at the Oscars.