Oscars 2022: In pugnacious Oscars, Apple’s ‘CODA’ wellness triumphs


The 94th Academy Awards named ‘CODA’ best picture, awarding a streaming service Hollywood’s highest honor for the first time in a ceremony that also saw Will Smith take the stage and slap Chris Rock.

Sian Heder’s “CODA,” which premiered at a virtual Sundance Film Festival in the winter of 2021, started out as an underdog but gradually became an Oscar favorite. It also had very rich backing in Apple TV+, which won its first Best Picture Oscar on Sunday, less than three years after the service launched.

It also inflicted another near-miss defeat on Netflix, the veteran streamer that for years tried unsuccessfully to score the best picture. Her best shot, Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” came in with 12 nominations. He won one, for the management of Campion.

But “CODA” rode a wave of goodwill carried by its cast including Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Emilia Jones and Daniel Durant. It is the first film with a mostly Deaf cast to win Best Picture. “CODA” managed that despite being one of the least nominated films with just three entries on Sunday. Not since 1932’s “Grand Hotel” has a film won Best Picture with less than four nods.

Kotsur also won Best Supporting Actor to become the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar, and only the second deaf actor to do so, joining fellow castmate and “CODA” co-star Matlin.

“It’s for the deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community,” Kotsur said, signing from the stage. “Now is our time.”

Many, however, spoke of another time. After Chris Rock as presenter joked with Jada Pinkett Smith that he was looking forward to a sequel to “GI Jane”, Will Smith got up from his seat near the stage, walked over to Rock and hit him. After they sat down, Smith yelled at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your mouth (expletive)”. When Rock, who joked about Jada Pinkett Smith at the 2016 Academy Awards, protested that it was just a “GI Jane” joke, Smith repeated the same line.

“It was the greatest night in television history,” Rock said, before clumsily returning to the presentation of best documentary, which went to “Summer of Soul (…or when the revolution didn’t was not televised)” from Questlove.

The moment shocked audiences at the Dolby Theater and viewers at home. At the commercial break, anchor Daniel Kaluuya came to hug Smith and Denzel Washington escorted him to the side of the stage. The two talked and hugged and Tyler Perry also came over to talk.

Smith, who plays Venus and Serena Williams’ father in “King Richard,” later in the series, won best actor, his first Oscar. So Smith took to the stage again shortly after what seemed to be one of the most infamous moments in Oscar history. His acceptance speech wavered between defense and apology.

“Richard Williams was a fierce advocate for his family,” Smith said in his opening remarks. Smith then shared what Washington told him: “At your highest moment, be careful because that’s when the devil comes for you.”

Eventually, Smith apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees.

“Art imitates life. I look like the crazy dad,” Smith said with a laugh. “But love will make you do crazy things.”

After the show, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement saying it “does not condone any form of violence.” The Los Angeles Police Department said it was aware of a slap incident at the Oscars, but said the person involved refused to file a police report.

So far, the ceremony — intended as a revival for the Oscars and the movies — had gone fairly well. Ariana DeBose has become the first Afro-Latin and openly LBGTQ actress to win a supporting actress Oscar. Jane Campion won the Best Director Oscar for “The Power of the Dog,” her open-air psychodrama that twisted and upended Western conventions.

Campion, who was the first woman nominated twice in the category (previously for “The Piano” in 1993), is only the third woman to win the Best Director award. It is also the first time that the directing award has been given to consecutive women, after “Nomadland” filmmaker Chloe Zhao won it last year.

Best Actress went to Jessica Chastain, who also won her first Oscar. Chastain won for her empathetic portrayal of televangelist Tammy Faye in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” a film she also produced.

After record ratings and a show in 2021 marred by a pandemic, producers this year turned to one of the world’s biggest stars – Beyoncé – to kick off an Oscar ceremony meant to revive the awards spot. in pop culture. After an introduction from Venus and Serena Williams, Beyoncé performed her song named “King Richard,” “Be Alive,” in an elaborately choreographed performance on a lime-green outdoor stage in Compton, where the Williams sisters grew up.

Hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall then began broadcasting from the Dolby Theatre.

Sykes, Schumer and Hall joked with ease about important Hollywood issues like pay equity — they said three female hosts were ‘cheaper than a man’ — Lady Gaga’s drama Sykes called ‘House of Random Accents ”, the state of the Golden Globes (now relegated to the memoriam package, Sykes said) and the girlfriends of Leonardo DiCaprio. Their sharpest political point came at the end of their routine, during which they promised a good night out and then alluded to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

“And for you in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night,” Sykes said.

The top broadcast award fittingly went to Ariana DeBose, whose win came 60 years after Rita Moreno won the same role in the 1961 original “West Side Story.” DeBose credited Moreno for paving the way for “tons of Anitas like me.”

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look her in the eye: you see a queer, openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina who has found her strength in life through art. And that’s, I think, what we’re here to celebrate,” DeBose said. “So if anyone has ever questioned your identity or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you – there is indeed a place for us.”

Disney’s smash hit “Encanto” powered by its chart-topping soundtrack won Best Animated Feature. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the film’s hit songs, missed the ceremony after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s three-hour Japanese drama “Drive My Car,” one of the most acclaimed films of the year, won the Best International Film award.

After two years of the pandemic, and under a hot Californian sun on Sunday, the Hollywood rite of glamor has regained momentum, with a flush red carpet and a COVID-tested audience. Before the exchange with Smith, Rock commented, with delight: “No one wears a mask. I’m just breathing raw dog tonight.

To help regain the front of the cultural scene, the Oscars relied heavily on musical performances (Billie Eilish, Reba McEntire), movie anniversaries (“The Godfather”, “Pulp Fiction”, “White Men Can’t Jump”) and as many mentions of the “Encanto” escape song, “We’re not talking about Bruno”, as possible. Ukrainian-born Mila Kunis led a 30-second minute of silence for Ukraine. Some stars, like Sean Penn, had lobbied the academy for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak at the ceremony.

But aside from a few blue ribbons spotted on the red carpet, politics was rarely the center of attention. The Oscars instead doubled down on dazzling and movies as an escape. The producers brought in BTS and Tony Hawk to attract more viewers. Some things worked better than others. The fan-favorite awards, as voted on by Twitter users, were topped by Zack Snyder fans, who voted for Snyder’s version of “Justice League” and his “Army of the Dead.”

Feel-good movies also performed well. “CODA” also won Best Adapted Screenplay. Kenneth Branagh’s autobiographical ‘Belfast’, a loving family drama steeped in nostalgia and shot in black and white, won Best Original Screenplay.

Eilish and her brother Finneas won for their Bond theme to “No Time to Die,” a song that was released before the pandemic hit.

The Oscars kicked off off-camera on Sunday, with the night’s top eight awards being presented at the Dolby Theater before the ABC broadcast began. The Dolby was largely full in time for the 7 p.m. EDT pre-show, dubbed “the golden hour” by the academy. The speeches were then incorporated into the broadcast.

“Dune” took an early lead in those early awards, and he held it all night. The biggest blockbuster of this year’s top 10 nominees, “Dune” won six awards, for production design, cinematography, editing, visual effects, sound and score by Hans Zimmer.

Greig Fraser’s film win denied a chance for Oscar history. Some were backing Ari Wenger, who filmed Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” to become the first woman to win Best Cinematography, the only Oscar category that has never been won by a woman in the nine decades of the Oscars. as well as history

Best makeup and hairstyles went to Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” Chastain was among many members of the academy who believed that all of the awards should have been presented live during the show. Chastain hugged each winner as they took the stage.

Behind this year’s telecast changes was concern over the rapidly plummeting Oscars ratings. While declines have been common to all of the network’s major awards shows, last year’s show only drew around 10 million viewers, less than half of the year’s 23.6 million. former. Ten years ago it was closer to 40 million. Will the slap heard around the world help boost ratings?

“Welp,” tweeted Oscar producer Will Packer after the show. “I said it wouldn’t be boring.”

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