by Charissa Roberson
This year’s Academy Awards featured numerous landmark moments, both for cinematic history and the gossip columns! While the ceremony still had its struggles and faux pas, the Academy awarded many well-deserved Oscars and succeeded in honoring a diverse population of entertainment professionals.
Simply having an in-person ceremony was a historic moment this year, as the 2022 Academy Awards were held at the Dolby Theatre for the first time in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, for the first time ever, the ceremony’s co-hosts were all women – Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Skyes.
The biggest award of the night, Best Picture, went to “CODA,” the first film with a primarily deaf cast and the first ever streaming film to win the Academy’s most coveted prize. “CODA,” which stands for “Child of Deaf Adults,” follows Ruby, the hearing daughter of two deaf parents, as she navigates adolescence. The film’s creators took the stage to a moving response from the audience, who waved their hands in silent applause. Troy Kotsur, who plays Ruby’s father, also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor: the first deaf man to win an Academy Award for acting. “CODA” also won Best Adapted Screenplay, meaning it won all three awards for which it was nominated.
Another major winner at the Oscars was Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic “Dune,” which won a whopping six Academy Awards, more than any other nominated film. The team took away the awards for best score, production design, sound, editing, visual effects and cinematography. On the other hand, “The Power of the Dog,” a strong contender coming into the night, only won one Oscar. However, it was a major one, with Jane Campion receiving her first Oscar for Best Director and becoming only the third woman in history to win that prize.
Other notable wins included Jessica Chastain for Best Actress (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), and Ariana Debose for Best Supporting Actress (“West Side Story”). Debose is only the second Latina to win an Academy Award for acting. The first, Rita Moreno, won her Oscar for portraying the same role of Anita in the original “West Side Story.” “Encanto” easily snagged the Best Animated Picture award, while Northern Irish film “Belfast” claimed Best Original Screenplay.
But perhaps the most talked-about moment of the night concerns the winner for Best Actor, Will Smith. Earlier in the night, Smith walked up to the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Later, Smith accepted his award with a tearful speech, in which he stated that “[l]ove makes you do crazy things” (Today).
Overall, this awards season has given us a wide selection of excellent films to celebrate and enjoy. With the Oscars returning to in-person, we can hope that this will mark a return to brighter days for the entertainment industry as a whole.