Oscar aftermath: Missteps and madness … and were the Academy Awards brought to you by Pfizer?

The 95th Academy Awards have come and gone and while one movie stole the show with the most awards, sketchy sponsorships, and awkward moments from the red carpet that wasn’t truly stand out.

With blockbusters like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” among the nominees, along with the ripple effect of the slap heard ’round the world leaving many wondering at the possibility of another scandalous moment, many were expecting an upturn in the downward spiral for the Oscars ratings. Counted among those hoping to capture the largest audience possible was one of the “lead sponsors,” Pfizer.

As former assistant Treasury Secretary Monica Crowley put it, “‘The 95th Academy Awards…brought to you … by Pfizer.’ Because of course.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “A source familiar with the matter said the rates for a 30-second spot this year sold for between $1.6 million and $2.1 million, down from a peak of $2.2 million last year,” a fact that was sure to please the American taxpayer who footed the bill for the Big Pharma company to continue their unending propaganda.

Even more unusual was how the spot for Pfizer came with the nominees for Best Documentary Film which included “All the Beauty and Bloodshed” which, in part, covers the downfall of the Sackler family known for founding Purdue Pharma and making billions on OxyContin.

“Can we get [back] to the day when the government and Big Pharma weren’t in complete lockstep?” asked Fox News contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier.

On the point of getting back to how things were, the creative team behind the award show was decidedly not interested in that as the red carpet was swapped out for one champagne-colored instead. When asked about the decision, team lead Lisa Love told the Associated Press, “We chose this beautiful sienna, saffron color that evokes the sunset, because this is the sunset before the golden hour.”

It was from that champagne carpet, which was already getting soiled and urgently repaired before celebrities began arriving, that actor Hugh Grant had another widely criticized moment from the evening.

Attending the ceremony to present the award for best production design alongside Andie MacDowell, Grant was stopped by model Ashley Graham who was part of the hosting team for ABC’s “Countdown to the Oscars,” and while she was enthusiastic about making small talk on camera, he seemed less than interested in the banal questions.

Graham lost Grant early after he responded that his favorite thing about attending was “It’s fascinating. The whole of humanity is here. It’s vanity fair,” and she seemed to believe he was referring to one of the after-parties.

He proceeded to give abrupt answers, saying “No one in particular” to whom he might like to see win an award, and “My suit” to the question of what he was wearing.

Grant seemed to clue in that the interview had little to do with him specifically and was more about grabbing someone off the line to fill airtime as the model proceeded to ask him about his experience making a cameo in the Netflix movie “Glass Onion” in which he had a blink-and-miss-it role.

“I’m barely in it, I’m in it for like three seconds,” he told her before answering about whether he had fun, “Almost.”

Those who were tuning in to the red, er, champagne carpet interviews were not pleased with the actor’s refusal to play along with the trivialities and sniped at his clipped responses.

Meanwhile, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” stole the show, taking home the biggest prizes of the night including Best Picture, Best Actress, Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor Ke Huy Quan and Best Supporting Actress, Jamie Lee Curtis.

Best Actor went to Brendan Fraser for his performance in “The Whale.”

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 12: Michelle Yeoh accepts the Best Actress award for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
US-Vietnamese actor Ke Huy Quan, winner of the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, attends the 95th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball in Hollywood, California on March 12, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT – US actress Jamie Lee Curtis celebrates after winning the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” as she attends the 95th Annual Academy Awards Governors Ball in Hollywood, California on March 12, 2023. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 12: Brendan Fraser accepts the Best Actor award for “The Whale” onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Yeoh, 60, was the first Asian to win Best Actress and she spoke to that in her acceptance speech, “Thank you. For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams dream big and dreams do come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime. Never give up.”

“I have to dedicate this to my mom, all the moms in the world, because they are really the superheroes, and without them, none of us will be here tonight. She’s 84, and I’m taking this home to her. She’s watching right now in Malaysia with my family and friends. I love you guys. I’m bringing this home to you,” she continued, before adding, “And also to my extended family in Hong Kong, where I started my career. Thank you for letting me stand on your shoulders, giving me a leg up so that I could be here today…Thank you to the academy, this is history in the making. Thank you.”

As for “Top Gun: Maverick,” which stood out as an example of American exceptionalism in an industry heavily subsidized by Chinese dollars, the film won the Academy Award for Best Sound.


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Kevin Haggerty


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