The 94th Academy Awards were held on Sunday, May 27, at the Dolby Theatre right in the heart of Hollywood. The Oscars ceremony made for a night of unforgettable moments, including the slap that broke the internet.
The night began with words from Serena and Venus Williams before Beyonce’s performance of “Be Alive” from Best Picture nominee “King Richard.” The film stars Will Smith while following the story of the tennis sister icons childhood and rise to widespread athletic acclaim.
To reference the story even further, Beyonce’s pre-recorded performance took place at the former Lueders Park tennis courts in Compton. Sporting lime-green tennis-inspired attire, Beyonce and her dancers captivated the audience and started the show off flawlessly.
This year’s Academy Awards saw the return of a host for the first time since the 2018 showing, and three at that. Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes shared banter on the stage and separately throughout, successfully beginning with a bit directed towards Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Further controversy surrounding the night stemmed from the pre-recorded award announcement of eight categories and the New York Times stated this included the short films, production design, score, editing, makeup and hairstyling and sound. Conducted to seemingly shorten the duration of the show, this didn’t help much, as the show ended up extending to a long three hours and 40 minutes of showtime. Not to mention the pre-announced awards were aired as if they were live.
Amidst the contentious night of awards, we saw light as Ariana Debose became the first Afro Latina and openly queer women of color to win an Academy Award. While starring as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” we also saw DeBose become the second Latina to win an Academy Award following Rita Moreno for the same role dating back to 1962.
DeBose commended the trailblazing of Moreno during her acceptance speech while saying, “Now you see why that Anita says ‘I want to be in America,’ because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true, […] I’m so grateful your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me and I love you so much.”
DeBose rejoiced this moment in history, stating, “To anybody who has ever questioned your identity — ever, ever, ever — or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us.”
The most shocking night of the event that has had the entire world talking came when Will Smith punched Chris Rock on-stage after an insensitive comment about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair.
While presenting the Best Documentary award, Rock joked about Pinkett Smith, stating, “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” speaking about her shaved hair.
Back in 2018, Pinkett Smith revealed to the world that she had alopecia, which causes hair loss. It appeared Smith was laughing along at first, but then he got up and slapped Rock. After returning to his seat the audio cut out in the United States but was broadcasted internationally where audiences heard Smith then yell, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth!”
The conflict left the in-person audience stunned, and Rock reacted by saying, “Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me.”
Later on, Smith was awarded for his performance in “Little Richard” with the Best Actor award. He apologized for the altercation during his acceptance speech while referencing his role as the Williams sisters’ father in the film while stating, “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. […] I’m being called on in my life to love people. And to protect people. And to be a river to my people.”
He continued by thanking his fellow nominee Denzel Washington who came to his side after the dispute occurred, recalling his words when stating, “He said [to me], ‘At your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.’”
Smith continued to apologize and stated, “I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to my fellow nominees, […] This is a beautiful moment. I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all the people. […] I hope the Academy invites me back.”
Apple TV+’s “CODA” triumphed over Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog” for the esteemed award, though we still saw Netflix’s Jane Campion take home the Best Director award for the film. “CODA,” too, saw their very own Troy Kostur take home Best Supporting Actor as Frank Rossi and director Sian Heder win Best Adapted Screenplay.
Check out the full list of 2022 Oscar winners below.
Best Supporting Actress
Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
Best Costume Design
Best Original Score
Best Adapted Screenplay
“CODA” (Sian Heder)
Best Original Screenplay
“Belfast” (Kenneth Branagh)
Best Animated Short
“The Windshield Wiper”
Best Live Action Short
“The Long Goodbye”
Best Supporting Actor
Troy Kotsur (“CODA”)
Best Film Editing
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
Best Animated Feature
Best Documentary Feature
“Summer of Soul”
Best Documentary Short
“The Queen of Basketball”
Best Original Song
“No Time to Die” (“No Time to Die”)
Best International Feature
“Drive My Car”
Best Production Design
Best Visual Effects
Jessica Chastain (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”)
Will Smith (“King Richard”)
Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”)