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After the Oscars, UMN students share their thoughts

The prestigious award ceremony awarding the best in film took place March 10 in Los Angeles.
Image by Ava Weinreis
Among the awardees, “Oppenheimer” and “Poor Things” were the biggest heavy-hitters, with seven and four wins, respectively.

The Academy Awards, often considered to be one of the most prestigious award shows in the film industry, had its 96th ceremony last Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

The ceremony had some of the most memorable moments in recent years, from a naked John Cena presenting the award for best costume design to an elaborate performance of “I’m Just Ken” led by Ryan Gosling.

However, some University of Minnesota students agreed the night had good wins but was overall predictable.

For the technical awards, “Poor Things” and “Oppenheimer” saw plenty of success, with wins in categories such as best makeup and hairstyling, best cinematography and best production design. However, students chose to mention other films that took home the gold in technical categories.

Adam Meyers, a computer science major and an officer for UMN Film Club, specifically mentioned “Godzilla Minus One” winning for best visual effects and “The Zone of Interest” winning for best sound as two highlights of the ceremony. Meyers appreciated the academy choosing to honor international films whose wins were more unexpected rather than giving those awards to cultural juggernauts like “Oppenheimer.” 

“I thought [‘Godzilla Minus One’ and ‘The Zone of Interest’] were really good picks for both of those [categories], and they were not exactly the film that I thought would have been the safe pick,” Meyers said.

With seven wins, “Oppenheimer” was by far the biggest winner of the night, but many of its wins were deemed predictable. 

Carolyn Sackett, a developmental psychology major and another officer for the University’s film club, said films like “Oppenheimer” are often the biggest Oscar winners.

“There’s always a certain type of movie that happens to win the Oscars most of the time,” Sackett said. “It’s always some sort of obscenely long and dramatic movie with a really star-studded cast.”

Eric Patton, a computer science major and president of StudioU, noticed both “Poor Things” and “Oppenheimer” had sections of the film in black and white. While he does not think this is explicitly why the films won the most awards, he agrees with Sackett’s sentiment: these types of films are often the ones to win Oscars.

In contrast, despite its popularity, Patton said “Barbie” is not the type of film that should win many Academy Awards.

“‘Barbie’ was a good movie, but I don’t know how much it should have won anything at the Oscars, to be honest,” Patton said.

On the acting side, students shared the opinion that Emma Stone winning best actress for “Poor Things” over Lily Gladstone for “Killers of the Flower Moon” was one of the biggest surprises of the night.

Mara Ristow, a biomedical engineering major at the University, thought Gladstone was a lock for best actress but thought Cillian Murphy’s best actor win for “Oppenheimer” was well-deserved.

One of the most widely shared opinions about the night was about the musical numbers scattered throughout the ceremony. “I’m Just Ken” from “Barbie,” performed by Gosling, other “Kens” and musician Slash, was deemed one of the best moments of the night.

Another topic that commonly came up was host Jimmy Kimmel. Sam McKenney, a studies in cinema and media culture major and another officer for the film club, wished that someone else would have been chosen to host.

“I would prefer if someone who is actually a more direct, recognizable part of the film industry, hosts,” McKenney said. “That would have been more interesting, you know, a comedic actor or something.”

In a shorter comment, Patton, in response to Kimmel’s hosting, said, “Yikes.” Instead, he would rather have had John Mulaney, another host during the ceremony, take the reins as main host.

Another aspect of note was the ceasefire pins that various guests wore to call attention to the conflict in Palestine, between Israel and Hamas. Ristow was a fan of celebrities using their platform for a cause greater than themselves at a ceremony as well known as the Oscars.

“It was nice seeing people wear ceasefire pins on their lapels,” Ristow said. “That was something that I was looking for and I’m glad I saw some of my favorite actors representing that.”

Despite the predictable nature of this year’s Oscars ceremony, students thought many of the wins were well-deserved and highlighted excellent work in the film industry.

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