The Academy Awards have been a staple of the film industry since 1929. Stars, directors, and artists meet together every year to participate in the celebration of the previous year’s movies and documentaries. Also known as the Oscars, this awards ceremony is broadcast around the world as moviegoers eagerly await the results. The 94th Academy Awards were held on March 27, 2022 and honored the films released from March 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. This year’s ceremony was home to several historic Oscar wins, but was mostly overshadowed by a surprising act of violence.
Dune: Part One obtained six Oscars including Best Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Cinematography, although it failed to receive Best Picture, the most revered award of the night. The Best Picture award was rather seized by the film CODA. Troy Kotsur made history by becoming the second deaf person to win an Oscar, winning the Award for Best Supporting Actor for his appearance in CODA. Ariana DeBose became the first queer woman of color to win an award, taking the prize for Best Supporting Actress for starring in the musical West Side Story. The character whom DeBose portrayed was awarded the same Oscar in the 1962 ceremony for Rita Moreno’s role. This victory is the third time in the history of the Academy where two different actors won an Oscar for playing the same character; Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro both played Vito Corleone, and Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix individually played the Joker.
The nominees for Best Animated Feature were all visually and emotionally stunning. The Mitchells vs. the Machines boasted inventive animation, Encanto created instant musical classics, and Luca marked yet another nomination for Pixar’s famous lineup. Encanto ultimately seized the award after its popular song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” was performed for the attendees, although the performance disappointed many fans. The Award for Best Actress was given to Jessica Chastain for her leading role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, a movie which also received Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
While all of the previously mentioned Oscar wins were indeed historic, arguably none were as memorable as Will Smith’s victory for his role in King Richard. Smith’s success marks the fifth African American win for the Award for Best Actor, although he did something else that created even more attention. Earlier in the evening, Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia, a syndrome that causes hair loss. The sudden act of violence resulted in Smith apologizing during his acceptance speech and releasing a statement of regret the following day via Instagram. Despite Smith’s remorse, the incident has garnered a large internet following.
Due to the now infamous slap, this year’s show is one of the most talked-about broadcasts in years and could prove to be a turning point for the Oscars. The 94th Academy Awards will go down in history, both for positive and negative reasons.
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