One Of The Biggest & Most Memorable Oscar Mishaps
The 94th Academy Awards was held in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, with deaf family drama “CODA” winning best picture honours, handing Hollywood’s top award to a streaming service for the first time. From Will Smith slapping Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife to a film from Apple TV+ winning an Oscar for best picture, this year’s awards ceremony was packed with action and many firsts.
The Academy broadcast its 2022 edition with Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall presiding over the live ceremony as the show's first official hosts since 2018, but their well-received opening monologue — with jokes about controversial topics like Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill and the presumed death of the Golden Globes — didn't contain the sharpest jabs of the evening. Before capping a golden run through awards season that saw him take nearly every major precursor in existence, Will Smith overshadowed his first Oscars victory after he slapped comedian Chris Rock live on stage after the comedian and Best Documentary Feature presenter joked about the hair of Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia.
Other winners included Ariana DeBose (who won Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story 60 years after Rita Moreno won for the same role), Jessica Chastain (Best Actress for The Eyes of Tammy Faye), and CODA star Troy Kotsur, who became the second deaf person to win an acting Oscar for his performance in the film that would go on to become the first streaming title to win Best Picture in Academy Awards history.
Billie Eilish also won her first Oscar for writing "No Time to Die" from the James Bond movie of the same name with brother Finneas, while Power of the Dog filmmaker Jane Campion's Best Director victory marked the first time women have won the Best Director prize two years in a row, following Nomadland director Chloé Zhao's win last year. Campion is now the third woman to win Best Director overall, after The Hurt Locker's Kathryn Bigelow first blazed the trail in 2010.
Eight categories received Oscars before the live telecast. However, their wins were included in the telecast. The awards for – Animated Short Film, Documentary Short Subject, Film Editing, Live Action Short Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design and Sound, were not broadcast LIVE. Samuel Jackson, Elaine May and Liv Ullmann were honoured with the Honorary Academy Awards in 2022. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was given to Danny Glover.
For years, the Oscars has tried to be a jack of all trades. It wants to be a live event flying by the seat of its pants while cultivating a highly managed, positive image of Hollywood. It aims to sell the public on going to the movies and visiting its brand-new $482 million Museum of Motion Pictures. It’s also striving to be an entertaining piece of television that brings in lots and lots of viewers. Even the unfortunate buzzy moments of the night — the Slap and Smith’s acceptance speech for Best Actor addressing it — were handled clumsily. As much as Oscars organizers say they want to embrace live television and create an event that’s exciting and spontaneous, that’s not actually what they want. They want to stage an event that seems spontaneous but is as carefully choreographed as a Beyoncé performance or Godfather clip package. Chaos is fine as long as it’s planned, controllable chaos. When unanticipated events transpired Sunday night, the illusion fell apart.
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