Surprises, Snubs, And Slaps: What Went Down During The 94th Oscars

CODA deserves the win.

The 94th Oscars saw some historic wins, breakthroughs for women and the deaf community, and a slap from Will Smith.

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If we go by theory, the 94th Oscars was supposed to be a return to normalcy and a change for the future. While the Academy Awards returned to the Dolby Theater where the show had been held for decades now with its trail of glitz and glam, this year’s show also switched things up a bit, most notably and controversially not airing eight categories during the show and just showing edited clips of the winners’ speeches during the actual show.

With the theme of “movie lovers unite,” the 2022 Oscars was meant to be a celebration of movies, both past and present. The night also had its moments alluding to the issues around the world and the need for love and empathy. And it definitely was an interesting show, for better and for worse. Here is a rundown of the biggest moments from the 94th Oscars.

HISTORIC WINS

‘CODA’ wins best picture in a streaming first at the Oscars 2022

Prior to the show, there was the potential for many records and barrier breaking wins to have been made. And true enough, the 2022 Oscars provided that. Kicking off the night, Ariana DeBose ended her exceptional awards season run by taking home Best Supporting Actress for Anita in West Side Story. In doing so, she became the second Latina and first openly queer woman of color to take home an acting Oscar. The first Latina was Rita Moreno who won for the same role Ariana won in. This is also the third time in history that two actors won an Oscar for the same role.

Troy Kotsur’s win for Best Supporting Actor for Frank Rossi in CODA made him the first male deaf actor to win an acting Oscar and second in history. The first, Marlee Matlin, plays his wife in the movie. CODA, in fact, was the biggest winner of the night in a breakthrough moment for the deaf community. It took home Best Picture along with Adapted Screenplay for director Sian Heder for a sweep of all the film’s nominations. The win marks the first time that a streaming service took home a Best Picture Oscar. (Since the movie was released on AppleTV+, this is also the first time that Apple has won an Oscar.) CODA’s Best Picture win also makes it the first time that a film won Best Picture without being nominated for Best Director or Best Editing.

Ariana DeBose accepts the award for

In terms of most wins, Dune takes that crown with six, all in the technical categories. Legendary composer Hans Zimmer’s win for Best Score marks just his second win and first in nearly 30 years since he won for The Lion King in 1994. Finally, Jane Campion became just the third woman in history to take home Best Director. Campion already made history as the first woman to be nominated in the category twice. This win also marks the first time women have won the directing award back to back (Chloe Zhao won it in 2021). Will Smith and Jessica Chastain’s wins for Best Leading Actor and Actress respectively also marks the first time that these two acclaimed actors finally took home an Oscar. Both have been nominated three times.  

SURPRISE WINS AND APPEARANCES

(L-R) Jared Bush, Clark Spencer, Yvett

Of course, this wouldn’t be the Oscars without some surprises along the way. Among them, Encanto won for Best Animated Feature. While the win of Encanto is well deserved, a lot of people expected that either The Mitchells vs the Machines or Flee to take it home considering their critical acclaim. Speaking of Flee, it also lost out to Summer of Soul for Best Documentary. This is by means not an upset though and more of a pleasant surprise. Aside from awarding movies, we also saw surprise appearances such as from BTS, and also in the form of cast reunions from classic films like The Godfather and Pulp Fiction. Seeing Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, and director Francis Ford Coppola on stage together was a sight to be seen.

NEW CHANGES

The 94th Oscars was meant to be new and different and supposedly better from past shows. But it instead led to a mixed bag of results. First, the show finally had a host in years with Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall. They were formidable, especially with moving the show along, but it wasn’t a hosting performance that stands out as legendary.

Coda Wins Best Picture Oscars 2022

When the Oscars announced that they were cutting eight awards from the main show, it led to a lot of controversy. And if there decision was driven by the need to shorten the show, it didn’t work as it lasted for over three and a half hours long. A clear disservice, the move also disrespected the people nominated for each category. While the average viewer may not care for who is nominated, it was a moment to spotlight the people and creatives who have important jobs that rarely get the recognition they deserve.

And of course, there was the introduction of the top five fan favorite scene and film. For favorite scene, the winners were crowd favorites such as the final battle in Endgame, seeing all three Spider-Men in No Way Home, and The Flash entering the speed force during the finale of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. As for fan favorite film, it was an interesting selection to say the least. Oddly enough, No Way Home was just at the fourth spot. At number three was Johnny Depp’s little heard of film Minamata. Number two was the new Cinderella movie that came out in 2021, which got that spot thanks to a strong push of Camila Cabello’s fans on Twitter. And the fan favorite movie of 2021? Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, another so-so movie that got its spot thanks to a dedicated fan base.   

PERFORMANCES OF THE NIGHT

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Like with most Oscars of the past, this year’s show also had most of the nominees for Best Song perform their tracks, as well as a few special performances. Beyoncé opened the night with a special performance of her Oscar nominated song Be Alive. Together with her backup dancers (which included Blue Ivy) and band, they lit up the room in a lime green color. It was a pre-filmed performance at a tennis court in Compton, but it wasn’t just any tennis court, as it was one that Serena and Venus Williams used to practice in when they were younger.

Sebastian Yatra then gave a lovely performance of Dos Oruguitas from Encanto while Reba McEntire sang the inspirational anthem that is Somehow You Do. Speaking of Encanto, while We Don’t Talk About Bruno wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, it was performed live for the very first time during the show. Most of the cast were on hand for the fun and colorful performance, as well as guest stars Becky G, Luis Fonsi, Megan Thee Stallion who gave the song a bit of an Oscars twist.

Billie Eilish

Finally, Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas were last as they sang No Time To Die, the theme song for the Bond film of the same name. Eilish and Finneas ended up taking home the Oscar for Best Song. The young superstar joins Adele and Sam Smith as other music superstars who won Oscars for making the theme song to a Bond film, making them the first Americans to win in the category for the franchise. Billie Eilish also makes history as the first Oscar winner born in the 21st century.

WILL SMITH AND HIS SLAP

Even if you didn’t see the 2022 Oscars, then you probably have heard of this moment. It will be a scene that most likely will be talked about for the weeks to come. Chris Rock came out on stage to present the award for Best Documentary. But before he did, he said some jokes, including one about how Jada Pinkett Smith is going to be in the sequel for G.I Jane due to her bald head. Last year, Pinkett Smith announced that she was shaving her head because of her issues with alopecia, which she has been advocating for. Will Smith then went up on stage and hit Chris Rock. As he got back to hit seat, he told Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth.

It was a controversy that launched a thousand memes. But on a serious note, it was controversial to the point that Smith’s publicist, Oscars producer Will Packer, and Denzel Washington all talked to him during the break. The police and the Academy themselves got involved. Whether or not you think this is a stunt is up to you (though we feel that it is real), but you can’t deny it got you talking. But above it all, ill-timed and unnecessary jokes at the expense of one’s health and physical assault is wrong, period. Such actions have no place on any stage and anywhere for that matter. As this was supposed to be a joyful return to the glory of cinema, the opposite happened, because despite the historic milestones made and victories clinched thereafter, the night was tarred with shocked and dampened spirits. Regardless, congratulations to all the winners.

By the way, if you’re in the mood to binge watch today’s winners, you can catch some of them on streaming services. Dune and King Richard are both available on HBO Go. Cruella, The West Side Story and Encanto can be streamed on Disney+. You can catch CODA on AppleTV+ while The Power Of The Dog is on Netflix.

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