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The 2022 Oscars is full of surprises

| Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Makayla Hernandez | The Observer
Image sources: newindianexpress.com, pngimg.com

Although recent years have featured a worldwide decline in Oscar audiences, this trend could be overstepped due to sensationalism — or become more pronounced, depending on negative reactions to controversies — thanks to the 2022 ceremony. The 94th academy awards, which took place this past Sunday, will forever be marked in history, whether by the surprising crowning of the long “CODA” as Best Picture of the season, or by the terrifying, and perhaps all too eclipsing, slap given by Will Smith to comedian Chris Rock. The fact remains that the 94th edition of the Oscars has already become unforgettable.

While presenting the award in the Best Documentary category, Chris Rock began to make fun of the Oscar audience but overstepped limits in commenting on the appearance of Will Smith’s wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith. The joke referenced the movie, “G.I. Jane” (1997), in which actress Demi Moore plays a military woman with shaved hair.

Jada Smith had her hair shaved at the Oscars as a result of alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. Initially, everyone at the ceremony believed the incident was a pre-arranged prank between Rock and Smith. But the seriousness of the matter became evident when curses flew on air, forcing the sound to be cut off.

With an irony of fate, moments after delivering the blow, Will Smith was called to the stage to finally receive his first Oscar. He won Best Actor for the film King Richard. After an emotional speech wherein he apologized to the Academy, Smith joked that he hoped to be invited again next year. 

The slap was not the only surprise of the night, however. Since its launch, “The Power of the Dog” has led the polls of predictions for receiving the statuette for Best Picture. “CODA,” however, gained strength in recent months and ended up taking the award. The prestigious Oscar previously crowned the work of the big movie studios is now handing awards to tech giants. This year, Apple and Netflix had films vying for the main category of the night. Despite Apple’s support, the film had a low budget and was praised for its depiction of a deaf family with a cast of deaf actors. Apple became the first streaming service to win the prestigious Best Picture award, which Netflix had been chasing for years.

This was not the only feat of the CODA production team. Actor Troy Kotsur, who plays Frank Rossi, father of protagonist Ruby, made history by being the first deaf actor to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Now, Kotsur shares the feat with co-star Marlee Martin, who was the first deaf actress to win an Oscar for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987. In his speech, Kotsur dedicated the Oscar to the deaf and disabled communities, highlighting the fact that this was their moment.  

It is worth mentioning, however, that some productions confirmed speculations and took the statuette home, as is the case with “Encanto,” which won Best Animated Feature, and “Dune,” which received numerous technical awards.

New Zealander Jane Campion, was crowned Best Director for “The Power of the Dog,” and became the third woman in the 94 years of Oscar nominations to win the best director award. She had already been nominated in this category in 1993 for the film “The Piano,” but on that occasion, the award went to Steven Spielberg for “Schindler’s List”.

This year’s Oscars ceremony also minimized airtime for categories that don’t increase viewership. Although these awards were presented in a shortened ceremony, the categories are intended to provide visibility for otherwise uncredited work. It seems like an unjustified and counter-intuitive adjustment. 

There were, however, many elegant and positive aspects of the ceremony, such as mini reunions that celebrated anniversaries of classic films and excellent performances. Billie Eilish and Fineas’ “No Time to Die” surpassed Lin-Manuel Miranda for Best Original song, but all songs were notable for praise, including Reba McEntire’s rendition of “Somehow You Do.”

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About Marcelle Couto

Marcelle Couto is a first year student studying Philosophy and Theology. She is from São Paulo, Brazil, and she was born in Rochester Minnesota.

Contact Marcelle