Letter From the Editor: Slow and Steady

The year was 1999 and our family was gathered around the TV to watch the Oscars. I was shy of 10 and had immigrated to Toronto the year before. This was the first memory I have of watching the Oscars, and while spotty in present day, I still recall being enamored with the whole ceremony. And even though I wasn’t fluent in English at the time, I understood the excitement as chosen honorees accepted their awards —something very important was unfolding and I couldn’t take my eyes off the action. One particular scene that stood out —and still does— was Roberto Benigni’s win for Life Is Beautiful. Having no idea who he was, and being quite young, my first reaction was of pure shock and disdain. Other recipients elegantly walked to the podium to accept their award, and here’s this guy stepping over people and jumping over chairs. As an adult who has since seen his films and grown to admire his work, my perspective on the manner in which he accepted his award is of complete respect.

Beyond the glamour of the evening, the Oscars repeatedly serve as a cultural thermometer and opportunity to gauge progress in an industry often (and rightfully) criticized for lack of representation. This year’s awards failed to recognize female directors such as The Woman King’s Gina Prince-Bythewood and After Sun’s Charlotte Wells. And while Women Talking director Sarah Polley was honoured for Best Adapted Screenplay, she too was left out of the Best Director category.

Despite the oversight in female representation in Best Picture and Director categories, the ceremony still succeeded to inspire in meaningful ways. The evening’s biggest film, Everything Everywhere All at Once, received a total of seven awards. The film’s Best Supporting Actor, Ke Huy Quan, remarked on the significance of the honour as someone who spent a year in a refugee camp, and Michelle Yeoh, the film’s lead, marked a big milestone as the first southeast Asian performer to win an Oscar.

On the grand scheme of things, and considering current events, these awards shows might feel insignificant and superficial, but I’d argue that as imperfect as they might be, they continue to act as a source of hope, especially for marginalized groups. They also highlight the universality of film by spotlighting different cultures, stories, and styles of filmmaking that would otherwise go unnoticed.

As we kick off the year with our Spring 2023 issue, we invite you to lean into the essence of season: growth and renewal. From Lucy Boynton’s understated star status to Feist’s latest album (her first in six years) to the talented new players in fashion and sustainable design, there is no shortage of creativity and progress to be seen.