The Oscars Recap and Hunterdon Central students’ thoughts on it


Despite the expected controversy, the 95th Oscars were undoubtedly enjoyable this year. Production company A24 won big this year, taking home awards in eight out of the eight major categories between Everything Everywhere All At Once, and Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. All Quiet on the Western Front received the best international film, best original score, production design, and cinematography. Additionally, Top Gun: Maverick won for sound design, Avatar: The Way of Water won for best visuals effects, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever won for achievement in costume design. Jimmy Fallon was the host and added a necessary layer of comedy to the award ceremony. The musical aspect of the night featured performances from Rihanna, Dianne Warren, Lenny Kravitz, and David Byrne, and a surprise performance by Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga performed Hold my Hand and will be appearing in the Todd Phillips-directed sequel Joker: Folie á Deux in October of 2024 as Harley Quinn. 

Hunterdon Central students seemed to agree with the academy’s picks for the most part, aside from a few expected oppositions. Senior Anya Fenn was thrilled about the awards Everything Everywhere All At Once received. She said “It was by far my favorite movie of the year, and I’m so happy everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did. The cast was incredible and they deserved the nominations and wins.” Even those who didn’t like the film had no choice but to be moved by the acceptance speech given by the best-supporting actor winner Ke Huy Quan. Quan recounted his experiences in the film industry, entering as a child actor and not receiving roles for decades. After being without money or a steady job for years, co-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert called him for a role and brought him back into the spotlight, giving him the opportunity to win the award. “It was good to see him win after all these years”, a Hunterdon Central sophomore said, “I didn’t find the movie very interesting but he seems like a great person and his speech was fantastic.”

Central junior Nate Ruttenberg was less pleased about the results of the ceremony, wishing that some less conventional films got the attention they deserved. “My favorite 2022 film that was nominated was The Banshees of Inisherin,” he said, “I was sad to see it not get any awards. I also think that Aftersun deserved more nominations and Paul Mescal should have won best actor.” It is true that like almost every other year, those who enjoy lesser-known movies are disappointed. The Banshees of Inisherin was nominated for seven awards and took home zero, while Aftersun was only recognized by the best actor nomination, which ended up going to Hollywood legend Brendan Fraser for his depiction of a morbidly obese man named Charlie in The Whale.  

Other students were more disappointed by the nominations than the actual awards. A Central senior said, “Decision to Leave should have at least been nominated for a best foreign movie, it was so creative and well written, the fact that it wasn’t even acknowledged is crazy.” This student is not alone, many other well-regarded films were either not nominated or received zero Oscars. This list includes X, The Batman, Barbarian, Nope, and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story

Other central juniors were grateful that smaller movies got the attention they did. One sophomore said, “I’m happy that Naatu Naatu [an original song from the recent film RRR] got best original song. Bollywood films usually get no representation at the academy, so this is a good change” A junior also said, “It’s great that Women Talking won best original screenplay. Female representation is so important in the film industry.” Overall, there appears to be some social progression in which films are awarded and how they are chosen.

As expected, the 95th Academy Awards left some happy and others less so, providing us with the excitement and entertainment that was promised. The films of 2023 are already looking promising, with Infinity Pool, Creed III, and Scream VI receiving positive reviews from esteemed critics. These films and many more should make next year’s awards as exciting as this year’s, and we can only wait.