Oscars 2022 highlights: ‘CODA’, Ariana DeBose’s wins mark historic firsts in show overshadowed by Will Smith outburst

·8 min read
Oscars 2022: Troy Kotsur and Ariana DeBose
Oscars 2022: Troy Kotsur and Ariana DeBose make history winning Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories, for CODA and West Side Story.

Oscars 2022 is definitely one for the history books, both for some legendary successes, including massive wins for AppleTV+ hit CODA, and some more controversial moments, like the now infamous Will Smith-Chris Rock slap that is being watched around the world.

Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger win the Oscar for Best Picture for
Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger win the Oscar for Best Picture for "CODA" at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 27, 2022. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The highlight worth your time: The power of 'CODA'

CODA took home several major awards at the Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Best Supporting Actor award went to Troy Kotsur, now the first Deaf man to win an Oscar for acting, 15 years after his co-star Marlee Matlin received the Best Actress award for Children of a Lesser God.

In his acceptance speech, Kotsur signed that it’s amazing that CODA made it all the way to the White House, joking that he was going to teach the U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden some dirty sign language, but Matlin told him to behave himself.

“I really want to thank all of the wonderful Deaf theatre stages where I was given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor,” Kotsur stated.

He went on to tell a story about how his father was the best signer in his family but he was in a car accident and become paralyzed from the neck down, and was no longer able to sign, with Kotsur indicating that he learned so much from his father, who is his “hero.”

“This is dedicated to the Deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community," Kotsur signed in his speech. "This is our moment."

“To my mom, my dad and my brother Mark…look at me now, I did it.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA - March 27, 2022. Ariana DeBose in the Photo Room during the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022.  (Allen Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - March 27, 2022. Ariana DeBose in the Photo Room during the 94th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 27, 2022. (Allen Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Ariana DeBose makes history for 'West Side Story' role

The first award of the night was history making with Ariana DeBose winning the award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, her very first Oscar.

DeBose is the first openly queer woman of colour to win an Oscar in an acting category and this is also the first time Oscars have been won for the same role twice.

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of colour, an Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art,” she said in her acceptance speech.

“That’s what I believe we are here to celebrate. So to anybody who has ever questioned your identity, ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this, there is indeed a place for us.”

Will Smith hits Chris Rock after Jada Pinkett-Smith G.I. Jane 2 joke

It's clear that the one thing that will stick with many people is the slap seen around the world.

Before announcing the award for Best Documentary, Chris Rock joked "Jada [Pinkett-Smith], I love ya. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it."

Will Smith is then seen walking up to the stage, standing in front of Rock and hits the comedian in the face.

The uncensored version of the clip shows Smith yelling to Rock, "keep my wife’s name out of your f—king mouth."

Smith, receiving the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard apologized to the Academy, but not Rock, saying that God is calling on him to "love people and to protect people," and that he wants to be "a vessel for love."

"I know to do what we do, you've got to be able to take abuse, you've got to be able to have people talk crazy about you," he said. "In this business you've got to be able to have people disrespecting you. You've got to smile and you've got to pretend like that's OK."

"I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees... I hope the Academy invites me back."

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: (L-R) Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli speak onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 27: (L-R) Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli speak onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Liza Minnelli's appearance with Lady Gaga

Shortly following the Will Smith, Chris Rock fiasco, the Best Picture award was presented by the iconic Liza Minnelli, alongside Lady Gaga.

Minnelli, at the age of 76, appeared on stage in a wheel chair. She has been diagnosed with viral encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, caused by a virus, that can cause seizures, paralysis and in most severe cases permanent brain damage.

In one of the sweetest moments of the night, as Lady Gaga helped Minnelli sort through here notes, you hear Gaga say "I gotcha" and Minnelli responds, "I know."

Beyonce starts off the event with Blue Ivy

The night started with a performance from Beyonce, introduced by Venus and Serena Williams in the tennis stars’ hometown tennis court in Compton, California, “where we truly came alive as professional athletes.”

Of course, the Beyhive took to social media to comment on her performance.

If you looked closely at the performance, you can actually see Beyonce's daughter Blue Ivy dancing in front of her mom with sunglasses on.

Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall mock nominees

Triple-threat hosting duties were courtesy of Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall this year.

“This year, the Academy hired three women to host, because it’s cheaper than hiring one man,” Schumer said at the outset of their Oscars opening segment.

They closed out their opening set by saying, specifically to Florida, “we’re going to have a gay night,” repeating the word “gay,” in reference to the state’s “don’t say gay” bill.

The three comedians didn’t hold back poking fun at the nominees this year. Mentioning Don’t Look Up being nominated means the academy “don't look up the reviews,” and saying the movie’s star Leonardo Di Caprio continues his environmental efforts to leave a cleaner planet for his younger girlfriends.

Things got a little awkward when Hall, introducing presenter Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin a “COVID pat down.”

Some viewers thought it was funny, while others weren’t on board for the bit.

Following the famous Kim Kardashian "work hard" comment that went viral, hosts Hall and Sykes told Dame Judi Dench that they have an inspirational quote for her.

"Work harder," Hall says. "That's what we need you to do."

"You gotta move that ass Dame," Sykes adds.

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