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Marquette Wire

CURRAN: Oscars Recap

The Oscars premiered March 27.
Photo by Lily Werner ([email protected])
The Oscars premiered March 27.

Editor’s Note: This story contains opinionated statements.

“That was the greatest night in the history of television,” Chris Rock said, after a slap from Will Smith, about the 94th Annual Academy Awards.

Even though it did not top past Oscar ceremonies such as 2009 or 2017, there was a clear improvement from the last few years. Sunday’s Academy Awards certainly broke the mold of a typical Oscars ceremony.

Ariana Debose became the first openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar for her performance as Anita in “West Side Story.”

After Debose thanked her collaborators and her family, she ended her acceptance speed with a heartfelt message: “Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes. You see a queer, openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina who found her strength in life through art.”

Jane Campion took home Best Director for “The Power of The Dog,” marking the first time two female directors have won the award two years in a row following Chloé Zhao’s win last year for “Nomadland.” Campion was the third woman to win in the category, following Zhao and Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for “The Hurt Locker.”

“CODA” took home the highest honor of the night with Best Picture along with its two other wins, Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kostur and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Kostur joined his co-star Marlee Matlin as the second deaf actor to take home an Oscar. Matlin won Best Actress in 1986 with “Children of a Lesser God,” and now, 35 years later, she is not alone.

With a primarily deaf cast, it is a milestone for the deaf community in the entertainment industry, a group that does not get enough attention.

For all of those breakthroughs, the biggest moment of the night was Will Smith getting up on stage and slapping Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

In 2018, Pinkett Smith announced she was diagnosed with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss. After Rock compared her to “G.I. Jane,” who is bald, Smith got up on stage and physically confronted Rock.

The audio then cut out on the live broadcast, but Smith was heard screaming at Rock to not talk about his wife again.

The Academy has launched an investigation into the altercation. “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show,” a spokesperson for the organization said.

Apart from the ongoing Smith versus Rock feud, the show had other controversies leading into the ceremony.

There was lots of mayhem (as always) with the decision to remove eight of the crafts, or “Behind the Scenes” categories, from the ceremony to make time for more entertainment.

However, the show ran longer than last year despite 2021’s ceremony airing all 23 categories.

This may be due to the extra musical performances, including Beyoncé, Reba McEntire, Billie Eilish, and two performances from the cast of “Encanto.” The “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” performance was a show-stopping moment in the ceremony with appearances by Meghan Thee Stallion, Luis Fonsi and Becky G. The performance did feel cluttered as it was odd only to have the cast perform half of the song while guest performers took up the rest.

As a whole, apart from a few chaotic moments, I thought the show was the funniest it’s been in years. Hosts Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall did surprise me with their interactivity with the audience and their shady jokes.

The last time the Oscars had a host was in 2018, and ever since then, the shows have felt incomplete. The female trio brought a much needed energy to the ceremony that had been lacking in past shows.

The hosts showed nothing was off limits with their jabs at A-list Hollywood stars.

The most talked about joke was Schumer’s directed at Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating life, where he typically dates women much younger than him.

The trio also incorporated the nominated movies and actors well in the audience by going into the crowd and talking with the nominated stars such as Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemmons, Denzel Washington, Bradley Cooper and Penelope Cruz.

Regina Hall dressed up as Tammy Faye from “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” while Wanda Sykes was decked out as Richard Williams in tennis clothes, making the star of “King Richard” Will Smith laugh in his seat.

Schumer flew down as Spider Man honoring last year’s biggest movie, “Spider Man: No Way Home” with Andrew Garfield smiling in the audience.

Regarding the awards, The Academy spread the wealth among the movies throughout the show, with no film winning all of the main categories.

Every few years, the Academy has one surprise win, such as Anthony Hopkins winning Best Actor last year for “The Father” and “Parasite” taking home Best Picture in 2020.

However, most of the winners were predictable this year, considering actors such as Ariana Debose and Troy Kostur nearly swept the entire awards run.

Hollywood veterans Jessica Chastain and Will Smith both took home trophies for their performances, Chastain for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and Smith for “King Richard.”

“CODA” taking home Best Picture was something that the Academy would not have voted on a decade ago. With more auteur-driven films such as “Nomadland,” “Parasite” and “Green Book” winning in past years, it was refreshing to see a change in the Academy’s selection for Best Picture.

Apart from the controversy surrounding Will Smith and Chris Rock, I thought it was an enjoyable show. Even though it did go long, I think the Academy and ABC did what they intended to do, making it a more entertaining show.

The ratings also increased by 56%, according to Variety, after the show last year reached the lowest viewership ever, showing that there was more interest this year in the films and performances.

The Oscars will always be an uphill battle because controversy is bound to happen when you put the biggest celebrities in one room.

In the future, let’s hope for more hosts, more drama and more history-making awards because I had the time of my life last night. Oscars 2022 gave, and I am not afraid to admit that.

This story was written by Patrick Curran. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Patrick Curran
Patrick Curran, MUTV Arts & Entertainment Multimedia Journalist
Patrick is an MUTV Arts & Entertainment Multimedia Journalist at the Wire. He is a senior from Wilmette, IL studying digital media and minoring in public relations In his free time, Patrick enjoys watching movies and hanging out with friends. This year Patrick is looking forward to getting to work with great people everyday. 

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