Celebrating Netflix’s 2023 Oscar Wins
The 95th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was a celebration of years of creative dedication and determination from the artisans, actors, and auteurs that represented the year’s best in filmmaking. The evening, already a triumphant occasion, became a record-breaking night for Netflix and its winners All Quiet on the Western Front, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and The Elephant Whisperers.
All Quiet on the Western Front, directed by Edward Berger, arrived at the ceremony having already made Oscar history as the ninth non-English language film to be nominated for both International Feature Film and Best Picture in the same year. After taking home four wins, All Quiet on the Western Front became the most Academy Award-winning Netflix film yet.
Cinematographer James Friend, who harnessed the naturally “silvery light” of their Czech Republic shooting location, was emotional as he thanked his parents for letting him “run off to the circus of the film industry.” The film also won for Christian M. Goldbeck and Ernestine Hipper’s production design and Volker Bertelmann’s distinctive original score. “When I was working on the film, I was thinking a couple of times of my mom,” remembers the composer. “She was telling me every now and then, ‘When you want to change humanity and empathy in the world, you have to start by yourself and with your own surroundings.’”
As All Quiet was announced the winner of the International Feature Film category, the film’s cast and crew took the stage. “It’s just deeply moving for all of us,” Berger said. The filmmaker paid special tribute to his star Felix Kammerer’s profound performance. “This was your first movie. And you carried us on your shoulders as if it was nothing. Without you, none of us would be here.”
With his Animated Feature Film win for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, the filmmaker’s first first animated feature, Guillermo del Toro became the first person to have received Directing, Best Picture, and Animated Feature Film Oscars. An essential auteur, known for such films as Oscar winner Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Nightmare Alley (2021), and his Best Picture-winning The Shape of Water (2017), del Toro spent ten years on his epic stop-motion masterpiece. “Animation is cinema. Animation is not a genre, and animation is ready to be taken to the next step. We are all ready for it,” was the filmmaker’s rallying cry from the winner’s circle.
Documentary short The Elephant Whisperers, which follows a couple who have devoted their lives to taking care of orphaned elephants named Raghu and Ammu, made history as its filmmakers Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga became, respectively, the first Indian director and producer to win Academy Awards. Gonsalves dedicated her acceptance speech to coexistence between humanity and the environment: “I stand here today to speak for the sacred bond between us and our natural world, for the respect of Indigenous communities, and empathy towards other living beings we share our space with.”
From established to fresh cinematic voices, the 95th Oscars became a night where all could be heard honoring the power of teamwork and the global impact of cinema.