Post-Oscars Movie Awards: A Highly Unserious Year in Review 

With the Oscars airing this past Sunday, the movie season of 2023 has officially come to an end, including the media circus that is awards season. We watched Oppenheimer take home the big awards, we were surprised by Poor Things stepping over Barbie to compete in the same categories (costume, production design, stories about women discovering the world for the first time…), we saw Killers of the Flower Moon get left in the dust. Anyone who follows the awards circuit is undoubtedly burnt out by now, but I had too much fun last year making a list of silly fake awards to let the opportunity slip past me. So to officially-officially wrap up awards season, I present another list of movies and their various parts that stuck out to me over the past year: the highly unserious Post-Oscars Movie Awards.  

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Best Performance by a Dog in a Motion Picture: Messi, Anatomy of a Fall 

Beyond being maybe my favourite movie of the year with maybe my favourite human performance (Sandra Hüller hive rise!), French film Anatomy of a Fall offers so much to admire: a tight, impeccable script; a hilarious cover of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P”; that one lawyer’s hair…but nothing is more impressive to me than the performance by the family’s dog played by the beautiful Border Collie named Messi. A performance so good I was really sitting there going “let’s get back to the murder trial in a second—is that dog real? How is it doing that? Is it a puppet?” If you watched the Oscars this past Sunday, you would have seen good boy Messi sitting in the audience, clapping politely for Robert Downey Jr’s win (turns out that was footage from the rehearsal—as a dog, he was too excitable for the actual ceremony). Jokes aside, all of the performances in Anatomy of a Fall are peak, including young Milo Machado Graner who plays Daniel and is distractingly good for a child.  

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Message that went the most over my head: Barbie 

Hear me out. I’m not referring to the America Ferrera speech or the commentary on how the patriarchy harms both men and women—I get all that. Very important stuff. But what I don’t get is Barbie’s decision to leave Barbie Land after experiencing the real world. You’re telling me she gives up a place where she and her girls reign supreme and spend all their days rollerskating and having dance parties? For what, the misogyny and drudgery of the “real world”? Even the Kens had it made in Barbie Land, in my opinion (I would love for my job to be beach, personally). I know for the sake of narrative and proper messaging (especially for the kids) Barbie needed to want to grow, but from where I’m sitting as a tired adult in this increasingly difficult world…girl. I’ll swap places with you any day. Put me in that Dream House, I’m tired of relating to Depression Barbie.  

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Most notable height difference: Cailee Spaeny (5’1) and Jacob Elordi (6’5), Priscilla 

Not since Gandalf traversed Middle Earth with the hobbits has there been such a significant height difference in movie leads. Jacob Elordi’s menacing giant act carries over well from Euphoria, creating an Elvis Presley whose presence is overwhelming both in the narrative and onscreen. Where Austin Butler channeled that loose-hipped swag in 2022’s Elvis, Elordi’s version is a bit stiffer and stranger as seen through the eyes of his put-upon wife. Meanwhile, itty bitty Cailee Spaeny looks at all times like she’s being eaten by her wigs as Priscilla Presley, the towering mountains of hairspray serving to highlight both her youth and her complete lack of power in her marriage. She’s a porcelain doll; he’s her towering keeper. The power of visual storytelling!  

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Best (worst?) “My eyes!! My eyes!!” moment: Saltburn, take your pick 

Saltburn overall feels like a still life painting of a rotting tableau, and it revels in making the audience squirm. There are just…so many bodily fluids in this movie. It’s hard to single out just one squicky moment–and it’s best to watch without spoilers. As such, I will just make vague allusions to the moments that elicited the most uncomfortable laughter from my theatre crowd: the bathtub scene (specifically the dreaded drain), the grave scene, and the, uh, nude victory dance. Scenes that just will not end, keeping the audience suspended in “he’s not gonna do what I think he’s gonna do, is he?” horror. And reader, he sure is. Saltburn isn’t good so much as it is audacious, but I’ll give it kudos for getting people talking. It’s not available on DVD just yet, so I can’t link to the VPL catalogue, but may I direct everyone to the superior (and clear reference point) The Talented Mr. Ripley.  

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Best 2000s needle drop: “Get Low”, Red, White and Royal Blue 

A tough category this year, with Saltburn’s “Low” and “Murder on the Dancefloor” scenes (the latter of which has re-entered the charts), and the use of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” in Bottoms. But I’m giving it to the New Year’s Eve party in Red, White and Royal Blue, in which a consequential romantic moment hinges on Lil Jon’s filthy 2000s party staple “Get Low” (highly NSFW). As the crowd drops to the floor per the song’s instruction (“Lemme see you get low! You scared, you scared!”) Alex and Prince Henry are the only two who remain standing, and their eyes lock across the dance floor as the song fades. The spell is only broken when the crowd pops back up as Lil Jon commands everyone to “back, back, back it up.” Extremely silly, but what else would a 2000s needle drop be? Also, Nicholas Galitzine (Prince Henry in RWRB and Jeff in Bottoms) is involved in both the “Get Low” and “Complicated” scenes. Millennial king.  

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Most realistic “Don’t do that! Are you stupid?!” plot: Talk to Me 

Famously, horror movie plots often rely on terrible decision-making. How many times have we yelled “Don’t go in the basement! Don’t run up the stairs! For the love of all that is holy, make sure he’s dead!” at some hapless figures with poor self-preservation skills? Alas, if horror movie characters acted rationally, there would be no story. You may glance at the plot of Talk to Me and wonder what kind of idiot would repeatedly play with an object that facilitates possession as a party game. And to that I say: teenagers! Talk to Me’s story relies on its teenage characters to repeatedly (and knowingly) touch a cursed object despite how many times they almost die. But it’s not a hard sell for the audience; like, of course these kids would film themselves getting possessed for TikTok. It’s one of the most believable stupid-action plots as far as horror movies go. You better believe 15-year-old me would be shaking that demonic hand.  

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Most Left-Field Career Move: Timothée Chalamet, Wonka 

Golden boy Timothee Chalamet was full of surprises last year, from dating Kylie Jenner to taking the starring role in a musical Willy Wonka prequel. Not going to lie, when that casting decision was announced I fully thought it was a joke. Alas, the boy who broke our hearts in Call Me By Your Name and Little Women decided to don the iconic top hat and put on his dancing shoes. The end result isn’t as disastrous as it could have been—he’s got enough talent to pull it off fine, if not exceptionally—but I’m still scratching my head about this one. There is a lot of competition these days in the Sad Boy department (Paul Mescal is taking the crown) but surely there’s still room for Timmy. Director Luca Guadagnino seems to have found new muses of late, but let’s get Timothée back in front of him. In the meantime, we can watch him flex his dramatic acting skills in Dune 2.  

That’s all, folks! Thanks for joining us this time for another round of silliness. For more unique (legit) awards, check out Claire’s post about the Dorian Awards! And of course, leave your movie faves of the year in the comments! 

About Alyssia

Alyssia is an Adult Services Librarian at the Vaughan Public Libraries. Nothing makes her happier than a great book and a great cup of coffee. She loves fiction in all formats - books, movies, television, you name it - and is always on the lookout for awesome new music.  |  Meet the team