What This Years Oscar Winners Mean For the Future

This years Oscars were actually a big deal. Not that the ceremony itself was anything special, but the winners and ramifications of these movies winning, including all of the ripple effects we can now start to expect are certainly pretty interesting.  A number of records were actually set by this bunch of Oscar winners. And almost all of it comes down to one movie. Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.

This movie pretty much swept the awards, picking up everything in its path from Best Directors, Original Screenplay, and Picture to acting honors in Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor. And this is significant for a number of reasons. For one, by giving this movie so many awards, it causes all kinds of upsets. Angela Bassett was the favorite to win Best Supporting Actress for her role in Black Panther 2.  But instead of Bassett, Jamie Lee Curtis won for Everything. And instead of Spielberg winning best director, (he was the favorite for The Fablemans,) best director went to the Daniels for Everything. So that’s two upsets, already. A third would be that Cate Blanchet didn’t win for Tar, and that Michelle Yeoh won for Everything instead. This movie was just going down the list picking off the favorites one by one, in each category.

And what these upsets mean are actually two things. First, they mean that a movie that is generally though to be innovative and creative beyond all measurement can actually win it all. Not just picture and director, but actually sweep through the categories. Usually that doesn’t happen. Usually a movie will either win Best Picture and Director, or it will win a bunch of acting awards. But not both. In fact, it has never happened before! That’s right. There were records set by these winners, such as Michelle Yeoh being the first Asian actress to ever win, but the most interesting of all has got to be that no movie has ever won three acting awards and also best picture.

In fact, winning three out of the four acting awards is so rare, that only two other movies in the history of the Oscars, have ever done it before. Those movies were, Network in 1976 and A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951. Of those, only Everything also won best picture. And also best director. So this is a tremendous accomplishment to say the very least.

Another major accomplishment here is in the genre of Sci-Fi. Science Fiction movies nearly never win for best picture. Gravity won for best director, but not picture. And that was realistic sci-fi. But there was one fairly recent movie that did win in this genre… the Shape of Water. So that movie (which in my humble opinion did not deserve to win at all, especially not over Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri,) paved the way for this one, and Parasite also paved the way for this one in 2020, as the first foreign language film to win best picture, and also the first movie featuring an Asian cast. Now Everything is not a foreign language movie, although it easily could be mistaken for one, with not only its cast, but tons of subtitles. But certainly the movie about an Asian family, parasite, paved the way for this other movie about an Asian family, both of them winning best picture within four years of each other.

So while the night did clearly belong to Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, it wasn’t the only winner. In fact, some movies that didn’t actually win on Oscar night, were still major winners for the year. Two actually. Top Gun: Maverick, and Avatar: The Way of Water. Now, unlike Everything, these were not original films, but sequels with built in IPs (another reason why Everything was so special and unique.) But Top Gun Maverick and Avatar The Way of Water brought people back to theaters. These were the movies that everyone went to see. An action drama and a sci-fo action movie.

Top Gun Maverick was pretty cool. Avatar 2 was pretty lousy. But what they both did was kicked the door to theaters wide opened, so that people felt comfortable going back again. And that’s how we get movies like Creed III having tremendous success, when the franchise seemed to be running out of steam. That’s how we get Scream 6 debuting to the biggest box office numbers of any Scream movie yet. It’s a good time to be a fan of genre movies, be it the teen horror movie or the crazy Kung Fu action (will we see a resurgence now, since Everything won? We didn’t get one after Crouching Tiger, but that movie also didn’t win best picture or all of these acting awards.) It’s no secret that the Marvel movies, which have dominated the box office for the past decade and a half, or slowing down and becoming more and more lousy. So it just might be time for something else to take its spot. Something smart. Movies that actually find a creative angle. And that’s certainly something that can be said about Everything, Everywhere, All At Once.

Getting back to the Oscar night one more time, Spielberg not winning means something. Angela Bassett and Cate Blanchet not winning means something. These weren’t just the favorites, they were Hollywood royalty. They were expected to win, not just because they were good, but because of their names. Because of who they were. Because of their reputations in the industry. And too often in the past, Hollywood did that They gave the Oscar out as more of an honorary award than an individual accomplishment. But not this year. This was the year we got back to the individual accomplishment. To one movie winning it all. Let’s hope that’s the start of a trend that is now here to stay.