The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

A Great Year for Movies: ‘Oppenheimer’ Sweeps at the 96th Academy Awards


For those who have been following the 2024 awards season, there were few surprises at the 96th Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars. Although “Oppenheimer” ultimately swept the competition with 13 nominations and seven wins, the competition was fierce and the movies were some of the best in recent years.

Among the best dressed, Zendaya ranked high in a perfectly-fitted Armani Privè dress (okay — maybe Zendaya just looks good in everything), America Ferrera stunned in a pink chainmail Versace gown and Carey Mulligan wore an elegant 1951 archival Balenciaga piece, a reference to the actress’s character in “Maestro.”

Some of the less popular looks were Emily Blunt’s Schiaparelli dress with gravity-defying straps and a bedazzled underwear outline, as well as Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior Couture get-up that just missed the mark on classic French polka dots.

Jimmy Kimmel’s opening monologue was equal parts praise and poking fun at other actors. He spoke about the biggest stars in attendance, including guests Stephen Spielberg and Messi, the dog who starred in “Anatomy of a Fall.”

Kimmel made some jokes towards “Barbie” stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

“Margot and Ryan, I want you to know that even if neither one of you wins an Oscar tonight, you both already won something much more important: the genetic lottery,” Kimmel said.

He also acknowledged the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) strike that defined the entertainment industry this past year and sparked conversation around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) within the industry.

“Actors no longer have to worry about getting replaced by AI,” Kimmel said. “Thanks to this historic agreement, actors are now able to go back to worrying about being replaced by younger, more attractive people.”

For the first time in 15 years, five past winners of each award presented the nominees for Best Supporting Actress and Actor as well as Best Actress and Actor. This revived tradition elevated the show completely, redefining the awards as truly meaningful and connective. Viewers became invested in the nominees on an emotional level.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph kicked off the acceptance speeches after winning Best Supporting Actress with her touching remarks on the people who encouraged her to be herself. 

Backed by a moving orchestra, Billie Eilish’s straightforward but powerful performance of “What Was I Made For?” — which won an Oscar later that night — earned a standing ovation that astonished Eilish. 

An almost completely naked John Cena — unless you count his Birkenstocks — presented the award for Best Costume Design to Holly Waddington. The bit was a reference to an infamous streaker that crossed the Oscars stage 50 years ago.

Ke Huy Quan presented the award for Best Supporting Actor to Robert Downey Jr., who cracked some cheeky jokes. 

“I would like to thank my terrible childhood and the Academy — in that order,” Downey said. 

Ryan Gosling stole the show with his performance of “I’m Just Ken,” which had Margot Robbie doubled over in laughter and Gosling himself unable to keep his face neutral at times. Thank goodness for his classy oversized sunglasses. Adorned in a sparkle-studded pink suit, Gosling was the most nonchalant drama queen to ever take the stage.

Matthew Perry, Jane Birkin, Michael Gambon and others were honored in the “In Memoriam” tribute, which blended classical music and a string orchestra with modern dance.

Stephen Spielberg presented Christopher Nolan with the award for Best Director, marking his first win, despite it being his eighth nomination.

“Oppenheimer” star Cillian Murphy expectedly won Best Actor, which was his first nomination and first Oscar. He admirably dedicated the award to “peacemakers everywhere.”

First-year Amanda Ariunzaya shared her approval of Murphy’s win.

“Cillian Murphy is an amazing actor with a remarkably wide range. He is also one of the most unproblematic actors in Hollywood,” Ariunzaya said. “While this is his first award at the Oscars, I’m sure it won’t be his last.”

The award for Best Actress was perhaps the biggest toss-up, as both Lily Gladstone and Emma Stone showed promise. Stone herself appeared genuinely shocked to win. Her flustered acceptance speech was charming, honest and kind.

Al Pacino clumsily announced “Oppenheimer” as the winner of the highly anticipated “Best Picture” award. Ariunzaya agreed that Oppenheimer was clearly deserving of this title. 

“‘Oppenheimer’ absolutely deserved to win best picture,” Ariunzaya said. “The work behind the cinematography and the soundtrack is phenomenal. Nolan took a lot of creative liberties, which I think made the film feel more compelling instead of just a documentary about the atomic bomb.”

First-year Henry Combs concurred with this sentiment.

“I would definitely say [‘Oppenheimer’] was Oscar-worthy,” Combs said. “It was easily one of the best movies I’ve seen in the last few years.”

The “Oppenheimer” sweep was expected, but well-deserved. The historical drama was a standout amongst an array of truly exceptional films. More than anything, however, the 96th Oscars fostered a sense of community in individuals across all aspects of the movie industry from all different projects as the artists emerged from a time of shared struggle and strike.

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