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Oscars 2023 Review: A Ho-Hum Affair Loses Its Magic by Playing It Too Safe

It’s been a rollercoaster couple of years for the Academy Awards. The 2021 ceremony was a subdued, socially distanced event due to COVID-19, which resulted in a record low viewership of just 10.4 million. Last year’s ceremony, however, saw a dramatic increase in viewership after the infamous incident where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock live on stage. This year’s broadcast, while too early to predict its success, seemed to lack the buzz and excitement that typically generates watercooler moments.

The show started off on a solid, if predictable, note with host Jimmy Kimmel making a grand entrance after a Top Gun spoof. Kimmel, an experienced host, worked the room well with friendly jabs at celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Steven Spielberg. However, some of his jokes fell flat, especially those related to the Will Smith incident, which felt outdated. The set design was stunning, evoking a Great Gatsby-esque glamour, but the broadcast noticeably cut corners to reduce running time, leading to abrupt cutoffs of winners’ speeches.

Despite the lack of suspense in the winners (many were predictable after sweeping other awards shows), there were still emotional moments, such as Ke Huy Quan’s tearful acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor. Jamie Lee Curtis’ win for Best Supporting Actress also provided a touching nod to Hollywood history. However, these moments couldn’t fully compensate for the overall blandness of the ceremony.

The Oscars shined when they took risks, like John Travolta’s heartfelt tribute to Olivia Newton-John during the “In Memoriam” segment and the energetic performance of “Naatu Naatu” from RRR. These moments reminded us of the magic of cinema and the power of storytelling.

In conclusion, while the 2023 Oscars had its moments, it failed to capture the excitement and intrigue of previous years. It’s a reminder that the Oscars, like all awards shows, are evolving in a rapidly changing media landscape, where capturing the audience’s attention is more challenging than ever.

What did you think of this year’s Oscars? Give it a grade in our poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.

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