The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Discussing the legacy award phenomenon

What the legacy award truly means and who this affects
Jamie Lee Curtis holding her Oscar after winning Best Supporting Actress at the 2023 Oscars (Photo from Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

During Academy Award season, I have been following the phenomenon of the “legacy award” that sometimes gets handed to actors, actresses and filmmakers.

If you’ve never heard of the term legacy award, it was coined by fans and critics of films around the world. It is not an actual award presented at the Oscars, yet it’s the winning of a certain award at the Oscars because of one’s status and career.

This idea of a legacy award is hard to juggle. There is so much talent and many deserving performances in films that it’s hard to say an award was won simply on that individual’s film career and not their performance.

It’s also difficult to assess who truly deserves an Oscar with varying opinions and preferences from fans and the academy. Films are fit to preference and to those to have their own opinions on the films.

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With that being said, it is still fair to find and point out reasons as to why an individual deserved an award and why one didn’t.

In this case, I will talk about the 2023 Best Supporting Actress award. The recipient of the Oscar in that category was Jamie Lee Curtis for her performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” as Deirdre Beaubeidre, an IRS inspector.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” was fantastic. It won seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Leading Actress and Best Original Screenplay. 

Curtis’s performance was good. It was good but not Oscar-worthy in a year that included powerhouse performances from Kerry Condon in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Hong Chau in “The Whale,” Stephanie Hsu in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and Angela Bassett in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Not to take away from Curtis’s performance, but I asked someone what they thought of her performance, and they asked what character she played and had to search it up. Along with the articles I’ve read and YouTube videos I’ve watched, her win was not taken super well by the media.

Curtis had a screentime of just 17 minutes and 15 seconds, one of the lowest screentime for Best Supporting Actress winners. The movie had a runtime of 2 hours and 19 minutes.

That being said, actors don’t need big screen time to leave their mark. The great Anthony Hopkins only had a screentime of 16 minutes in his Oscar-winning performance in “The Silence of The Lambs” as Hannibal Lecter. 

The drama surrounding Curtis’s Oscar nod was her win over Angela Bassett. Bassett portrayed the grieving Ramonda, Queen of Wakanda. Bassett gave a chilling performance that notched her a Critic’s Choice Award and a Golden Globe Award. 

Bassett also made history for her performance in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Bassett was the first actor in any acting category to be nominated for an Oscar in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. 

I think the point I am trying to make is that we have the Oscars every year. To commemorate all of the hard work, performances and effort put into the best films of the year. The “legacy award” takes away the year-by-year aspect that should give the award to who had the best performance in that year. 

Curtis has had an amazing career with 83 acting credits that have spanned over a 46-year mark. There is a way though that we can applaud and award careers like hers, while also rewarding individuals who had the best performance in that year.

Benes can be reached at [email protected].

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