Now presenting Boardroom’s guide to watching film’s most prestigious ceremony on Sunday, March 12th
The gilded Oscar statuette once emerged as a meritorious mark of filmmaking achievement. While award season still evokes its longstanding fanfare, the 95th Academy Awards is wrestling with a fractured image that it’s slated to come back from with ratings, a room filled with star-studded presenters and honorees, and an Emmy award-winning host.
The inaugural ceremony wades through murky claims of racism, sexism, and a myriad industry fiascos. In 2015, media strategist April Reign’s #OscarsSoWhite sparked after all 20 acting nominations were awarded to white actors. And while it attempted to absolve itself with staggering diversity in 2017, 2018, and 2019, it thwarted its redemption campaign again in 2020 with a predominantly white male nomination slate.
Despite box office craze and top ratings, Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Kasi Lemmons (Harriet), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), and Lulu Wang (The Farewell) were all exiled from the Best Director category.
Even 2023’s Oscar noms deliver a grim blow to women in filmmaking. After back-to-back wins, no female directors joined the list of seven women ever nominated for Best Director. Gina Prince Bythewood, the director of The Woman King, exclusively told Boardroom her exclusion from the category isn’t just an affront, but “a collective middle finger.” She continued: “It means a lot because when I spoke out, The Woman King is reflective of the systemic issues, but I was speaking for all of us … We can’t stay quiet. We have to be loud about this.”
As the anticipation for this award season rises, one question remains: Will even the most triumphant storytelling face defeat at the hands of the Academy’s voting committee?
Ahead is Boardroom’s breakdown of this year’s Oscars — from novel inclusivity initiatives to expected frontrunners.
Where and how to watch the Oscars
Jimmy Kimmel will be hosting this year’s ceremony for the third time after previously emceeing in 2017 (the year of the Moonlight–LaLa Land blunder) and in an immediate 2018 return. The 2023 Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 12, 2023 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles.
The Oscars carpet (now champagne-colored in lieu of red) will feature American Sign Language interpreters for the first time. With more audio accessibility than ever before, the inclusive pre-show event will air at 1 p.m.
Both the carpet and award ceremony airs live on ABC and will also be available on various streaming giants, including Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, and FuboTV.
For more mobile accessibility, you can visit ABC.com or download the ABC app to watch the festivities via your cable provider sign-in. For international network listings, visit the Academy’s website.
Who are this year’s presenters?
Halle Berry, The Little Mermaid’s Halle Bailey, Andrew Garfield and Don’t Worry Darling’s Florence Pugh are all set to grace the stage as presenters for this year’s ceremony. Berry historically won Best Actress for Monster Ball in 2001 and remains the only Black actress to do so.
This year all 23 categories for the Academy Awards will be presented live, a redemptive notion from last year’s backlash. The 2022 Oscars telecast for the Academy Awards received lambasting from the industry for pre-taping these eight categories: original score, makeup and hairstyling, documentary short, film editing, production design, animated short, live action short and sound.
Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has remained adamant about the re-inclusion of the categories. “We are committed to having a show that celebrates the artisans, the arts and sciences and the collaborative nature of moviemaking,” Kramer told Variety.
John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Banks, Melissa McCarthy, John Cho, Hugh Grant, Danai Gurira, Salma Hayek Pinault, Nicole Kidman, Questlove, and Sigourney Weaver are also a part of the annual bevy of presenters.
Who is confirmed to perform?
This year’s hotly-anticipated performances boasts four of five nominees for Best Original Song. Still basking in her 2023 Super Bowl Halftime heyday, Rihanna will perform her first Oscar-nominated song “Lift Me Up,” from Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The tribute to the franchise’s late Chadwick Boseman was co-written by the Fenty mogul, Tems, Ludwig Göransson and the film’s writer-director Ryan Coogler.
David Byrne, Son Lux and actress Stephanie Hsu (a nominee for Best Supporting Actress) will perform “This is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once; Descendants actress Sofia Carson joins Diane Warren’s accompaniment for the women-empowerment ballad “Applause” from Tell It Like A Woman; and RRR’s “Naatu Naatu” will also take stage. Lady Gaga’s nominated “Hold My Hand” (Top Gun: Maverick) won’t be sharing the spotlight as the pop star is filming for Warner Bros’ DC sequel Joker: Folie à Deux.
This year’s “In Memoriam” performance, a formal tribute to fallen film luminaries, will be delivered by four-time Grammy winner Lenny Kravitz. The 58-year-old musician boasts acting credits from Precious, The Butler and The Hunger Games’ film series.
Who are the first-time Oscar nominees?
All snubs aside, the 20 nomination spots for acting categories flaunts 16 veteran and budding stars as first-time Oscar nominees.
The eldest of the group is 73-year-old Bill Nighy (Living), nominated for Best Actor. In fact, the quintet for Best Actor consists of all first-time noms: Austin Butler (Elvis), Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Paul Mescal (Aftersun), and Nighy (Living).
The staggering demographic unveils quite a bit of recognition for stars who’ve awaited the Academy’s stamp of their merit. Acting legends like Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All At Once) and Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) are finally in the running for their acting chops.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is already at the fore of this year’s awards with 11 nominations and the industry eyeing its viability this award season. All four of its main characters (Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, and Jamie Lee Curtis) are nominated for their first Oscar, added yet another studded accomplishment to the film.
Who are the predicted frontrunners?
Everything Everywhere All At Once is lurching through the pack with the most nominations. It’s poised to snag Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh), and Best Director (Daniel Kean and Daniel Scheinert).
The Best Supporting Actress category is entering contentious territory as Angela Bassett’s performance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever as Queen Ramonda has won at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice and the acclaim around Kerry Condon in The Banshees of Inisherin won at the British Academy Film Awards. Bassett is leveraging quite a bit momentum as she is the first actor in the Marvel franchise release to receive an Oscar acting nomination.
While The Whale has been encircled in discourse around fatphobia and fat suits, Brendan Fraser is still a contender for Best Actor. Fraser’s stature rests next to Austin Butler’s breakout role in Elvis and Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin.
An Optimistic Expectation
This year’s award ceremony is hopefully steadying itself to recover without a hitch or a faulty answer to the calls for heightened representation. With expectations soaring and viewership declining, a sanguine outlook is the only buoyancy.
Stay tuned here for Boardroom’s coverage of the 2023 Oscars.
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