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Recapping the 96th Academy Awards



By: Hopster
March 11, 2024

Oscars 2024 Best Picture Nominees (Source: Variety)

An Abridged Overview of the Results


* **Best Picture:** *Oppenheimer* – Emma Thomas, Charles Roven, and Christopher Nolan, producers * **Best Director:** Christopher Nolan – *Oppenheimer* * **Best Actress:** Emma Stone – *Poor Things* as Bella Baxter * **Best Actor:** Cillian Murphy – *Oppenheimer* as J. Robert Oppenheimer * **Best Supporting Actress:** Da'Vine Joy Randolph – *The Holdovers* as Mary Lamb * **Best Supporting Actor:** Robert Downey Jr. – *Oppenheimer* as Lewis Strauss * **Best Adapted Screenplay:** *American Fiction* – Cord Jefferson; based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett * **Best Original Screenplay:** *Anatomy of a Fall* – Justine Triet and Arthur Harari

Doing some kind of "Oscar Winners & Losers" write-up seems like an exercise too dull and rudimentary even for us (and we love producing the occasional clickbait, let me tell ya). This year's Academy Awards (the 96th one for you cultural historians out there) came and went with few surprises. This was, as expected, what we'll look back on as the Christopher Nolan and Oppenheimer Oscars. Heading into the night with 13 nominations, Nolan's 3-hour biopic about the 'father of the atomic bomb' J. Robert Oppenheimer won in seven categories, including two for acting (Cillian Murphy for Best Actor and Robert Downey Jr. for Best Supporting Actor) in addition to the top two prizes, Best Director for Nolan and Best Picture. Reminiscent of the Everything Everywhere All at Once sweep that we saw last year, this is essentially what we thought would happen – Oppenheimer would win big, a couple of the headlining films would get shut out altogether, and the rest of the trophies would then be divvied up in a way that was reasonable and/or on point aside from a few exceptions. I guess the only big surprise was that there was no big surprise. The history of this Oscars will be written in chalk. As for the telecast itself, I'll leave that to other corners of the movie- and media-corners of the internet to talk about the highs and lows. I only have two quick thoughts to get out: (1) it is nice to keep the ceremony trim but not at the expense of the clips and montages, and (2) while I think Jimmy Kimmel is serviceable and sturdy, I am declaring it now: John Mulaney will host the Academy Awards next year. He is a great joke-writer and would be an inspired choice, someone who has proven they can host and work a room full of famous people.

Oppenheimer winning Best Picture Oppenheimer winning Best Picture

4-Pack of Random Takeaways


* ***Killers of the Flower Moon*** was nominated in ten categories but left last night's ceremony emptyhanded. For those of you keeping track at home, this is now the fourth consecutive feature film directed by **Martin Scorsese** that has been recognized by the Academy Awards (the previous three being *The Irishman* in 2019, *Silence* in 2016, and *The Wolf of Wall Street* in 2013) and completely shut out on Oscar night. I should mention that those four films received a combined 25 nominations, including three best picture nominations. Scorsese himself has been nominated for 16 Oscars over the course of his career, and the only time he's won was for *The Departed* in 2006 when he was awarded Best Director. The point I'm making is that we let one our greatest filmmakers to ever live sit quietly through yet another Academy Awards rigmarole wherein he and one of his great late-career films was all but ignored and swallowed up in the unimpeachable *Oppenheimer* maelstrom. I'm so very sorry, once again, Marty.
  • At 22 years young, Billie Eilish became the youngest person to ever win two Academy Awards for her song in Barbie, "What Was I Made For." Apparently this victory smashed the previous 80-some-year-old record set by Luise Rainer in 1938 (she won her second best actress Oscar at 28 years old). Other than the fact that her meteoric ascent is completely unprecedented and unrivaled, it seems she is on pace to win north of 35 Oscars. Walt Disney has 59 nominations to his name, and John Williams has 54. If we're taking bets on Eilish, I'd take the over.

  • Now that the Oscars are over and we're slowly closing up shop on discussing 2023 movies (though don't be surprised if we have a few things left to discuss in retrospect), I am finally allowing myself to lose my cool and nerd out about one of my favorite current working actors, Mark Ruffalo. Do you realize that he received his fourth nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Poor Things? As a Ruffalo scholar and acolyte, I thought I had as good of a grasp over his career trajectory than anyone. But as mentioned during yesterday's ceremony preview (and confirmed during my Wiki research today), this fourth Best Supporting Actor nomination tied him for the most all time in this category and puts him on a short list of other all-time great actors including, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, and Jeff Bridges (to name a few). Like the others in that cohort (not including Nicholson), Ruffalo has yet to secure a victory. As one of Hollywood's most endearing character actors and best supporting performers, my hope is that when Ruffalo receives his next nomination in this category, which again would be a record-setting fifth time, I would hope that is the moment where he takes home gold. There was a lot of chatter about how incredible Ruffalo was in Poor Things, an opinion I absolutely agreed with, but it was sometimes delivered in a way that made it sound like there was doubt that he could pull off such a risky performance. Let me just say, if there were any lingering doubts about the limits of his talent or courage as an actor, I should hope they have been unequivocally retired. He's the best.

  • What will Christopher Nolan do next? He's talked about looking for a great idea for a horror movie. That would be pretty cool, as long as he finds the right collaborators to help him weaponize all his technical prowess in service to the genre elements that he seems almost too cool for at times. OR would you rather see him tackle James Bond? He's mentioned that these rumors are not true, but why should we trust that he isn't lying to us to not distract from his Oppenheimer Oscar press tour. It's kind of hard to think of him doing either of these things at the moment, since it would be such a stark departure from what he's been doing ever since The Dark Knight Rises. Think about it: Tenet kind of was his Bond movie and in some ways, Oppenheimer is the closest he's flirted with horror. In this case, the best case scenario for him directing a horror movie would be something like what Stanley Kubrick did when he directed The Shining. Just to have the chance to see perhaps the most powerful director in Hollywood working on a horror movie seems like too rich of an opportunity to pass up.


Our Predictions Tally


* **Hopster**: 16/23 * **Isaac**: 19/23

Hopster: Another year, another middling performance from yours truly. I saw every Best Picture nominee AND every short film nominated! I did my homework, covered my bases, and it still wasn't enough for me to crack into the top 25th percentile. Now would be the time to admit that I was voting with my head and not my heart, but alas, that is not true. I guess I'm just aggressively mediocre at filling out an Oscars ballot.

Isaac: I am inevitable.

Hopster: I'm fine. We're fine.

Froth


Described as "a kitchen sink of collaboration // crazy little concoctions from the people behind Pilot Project," Brewer's Kitchen is an off-shoot of **Pilot Project Brewing**, the Chicago- and Milwaukee-based brewing incubator, tasting room, and restaurant that hosted our Milwaukee Oscars watch party this year! The way I understand Brewer's Kitchen in its relationship to Pilot Project is that it is something of a sub-brewery or a side-project type deal. It's like when **David Fincher** makes *Mindhunter* for Netflix while he's simultaneously preparing to direct one of his passion projects, *Mank*. You know? Like, a full-time side-project that basically becomes your day job but is in service and conversation with your broader goals. No? Am I not making any sense? This analogy doesn't probably make any sense since I'm even having a hard time processing it. Sorry, I was probably just trying to shoehorn a Fincher tidbit in there and got distracted. No matter! During the Oscars, I ended up drinking a few of the **Brewer's Kitchen Hazy Pale Ale, Fifty-Five Rocks**, a hoppy but fruit-forward beer with a nice orange-y taste and a sudden but welcome dry finish (I'm certainly no expert but this is probably the cause of some late-in-the-game dry-hopping post-fermentation, is it not??) This was a highly drinkable beer with a manageable ABV, which is important when trying to pace yourself during a 3.5 hour Oscars show. The Fifty-Five Rocks is a pour that I would absolutely return to, whether that be as part of a flight or even as a standalone pour.

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