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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Oscars 2022: Coda triumphs while Will Smith attacks Chris Rock onstage | Oscars 2022

Coda has been named this year’s best picture at an Oscars ceremony that featured an unusual confrontation between Will Smith and Chris Rock.

The Apple TV+ drama, bought from 2021’s Sundance film festival for a record-breaking $25m, became the first film from a streamer to win the award. It’s a remake of French film La Famille Bélier, focusing on the only hearing member of a deaf family.

“Thank you to the Academy for letting us make history,” said producer Philippe Rousselet. Producer Patrick Wachsberger thanked the Academy for “recognising a movie of love and family in this difficult time”.

Troy Kotsur also won best supporting actor for his role in the film, making him the second deaf actor to bring home an Oscar, joining his co-star Marlee Matlin who won for Children of a Lesser God in 1987. “I really want to thank all of the wonderful deaf theatre stages where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor,” he said in an emotive speech. “This is dedicated to the deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community. This is our moment.”

Sian Heder, Coda’s writer-director, also won best adapted screenplay becoming the first woman to bring home the award by herself since Emma Thompson in 1995. Coda has become the first best picture winner with less than four nominations since 1932’s Grand Hotel.

Will Smith had the night’s most viral moment with Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, saying he was looking forward to GI Jane 2. Pinkett Smith, who revealed last year that she has alopecia, was unamused and an angered Smith then came on to the stage and appeared to slap Rock before the sound muted and footage later showed that Rock said “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me” before Smith shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

Watch the moment Will Smith smacks Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, drops F-bomb – video
Watch the moment Will Smith smacks Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars, drops F-bomb – video

Rock tried to defuse the situation by saying it “was a GI Jane joke” before Smith repeated his warning. Scott Feinberg of the Hollywood Reporter tweeted that Smith was then calmed by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry during the commercial break as he appeared to wipe tears from his eyes.

Smith later secured his first Oscar, winning best actor for playing the father of Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard. “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” he said tearfully. “I know to do what we do, you gotta be able to take abuse, you gotta be able to take people talk crazy about you, in this business, you gotta have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and pretend that it’s okay.”

He then recalled advice just given to him by fellow nominee Washington: “At your highest moment, be careful that’s when the devil comes for you.”

He continued: “I wanna apologise to the Academy, I wanna apologise to all my fellow nominees … art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.”

“Will Smith said it all, let’s have peace and love and quiet,” Anthony Hopkins said later onstage.

The award for best director went to Jane Campion for queer psychodrama The Power of the Dog, the only win for a film that had led the pack with the most nominations. Campion is only the third female director to ever win the Oscar for best director, following in the footsteps of Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker and Chloé Zhao last year for Nomadland. She thanked the film’s “actors I’m moved to call my friends” and called the win “a lifetime honour”.

Jessica Chastain was named best actress for televangelist biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye, her third nomination and first win. The actor spoke of recent times of “trauma and isolation” and how suicide has affected many, including herself. She paid tribute to LGBTQ+ youth who “feel out of place with their peers” and face “discriminatory and bigoted legislation that is sweeping our country”.

“At times like this I’m reminded of Tammy,” she said and her “radical acts of love”. She said to all those feeling alone: “I just want you to know that you are unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you.”

The film also won the only other award it was nominated for, best hair and makeup.

Ariana DeBose
Ariana DeBose Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Ariana DeBose was named best supporting actress for her performance in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. She became the first openly queer woman of colour and only the second Latina to ever win an Oscar. She joins her West Side Story co-star Rita Moreno, who also won for playing the character of Anita in 1962. “For anyone who has ever questioned your identity … there is indeed a place for us,” DeBose said while paying tribute to Moreno as a “divine inspiration who paved the way for tons of Anitas”.

Kenneth Branagh picked up best original screenplay for his semi-autobiographical drama Belfast. “It’s a great tribute to an amazing city,” he said of the award, his first win from eight nominations.

There was outcry last month when it was announced that eight craft awards would be announced before the ceremony and then edited into the broadcast later. These were dominated by Dune, which won for Hans Zimmer’s original score as well as for editing, sound and production design. The film later won cinematography and visual effects too, making it the night’s most awarded with six wins.

Drive My Car, which was the first Japanese film nominated for best picture, was named best international feature film. Encanto beat out competition from Flee and The Mitchells vs the Machines to win best animated film. Questlove’s Summer of Soul was named best documentary.

This year also saw the introduction of two Twitter-voted special awards for fans. The fan favourite film was won by Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie thriller Army of the Dead while the all-time most cheer-worthy moment was won by Zack Snyder’s Justice League for the scene where Ezra Miller’s The Flash enters speed force.

Last year’s best actor nominee Riz Ahmed also became the first Muslim and first person of Asian descent to win live action short for The Long Goodbye. “This is for everyone who feels like they don’t belong,” he said in his speech. “Anyone who feels like they’re stuck in no man’s land. You’re not alone.” British two-time Oscar-winner Jenny Beavan also won for her costume work on Cruella.

Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall.
Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall. Photograph: ABC/Getty Images

The ceremony was hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes. “We’re gonna have a great night tonight and for you people in Florida, we’re gonna have a gay night tonight,” said Sykes to applause, in reference to the state’s controversial “don’t say gay” bill which seeks to ban teaching of sexual identity and gender orientation in early-grade education as well as in “a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students”. Sykes also made a jab at voter suppression by presenting a shredded Texas voter registration form.

The night was kicked off with an extravagant performance by Beyoncé, singing her Oscar-nominated song from King Richard in the tennis courts of Compton. But the award for best original song went to Billie Eilish and her brother, Finneas, for their Bond song No Time to Die.

The ceremony was also by the war in Ukraine with stars including Jason Mamoa, Jamie Lee Curtis, Benedict Cumberbatch and Samuel L Jackson all wearing ribbons or badges. “To see children buried under the rubble of theaters, to see pregnant women being injured in maternity wards, I just, you know, it beggars belief that it is happening,” Cumberbatch said on the red carpet.

“One cannot help but be in awe of those who find strength to keep fighting in unimaginable darkness,” the Ukrainian-born Mila Kunis said in her introduction to a performance by Reba McEntire. It was then followed by messaging that asked for a moment of silence and a plea for help. “We ask you to support Ukraine in any way that you are able,” the screen read.

Schumer had previously expressed a desire for the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to appear while Sean Penn said he would smelt his Oscars if this didn’t happen. Sykes was asked about this idea on the red carpet. “You know, in Hollywood, we can get a little full of ourselves and we think that what we’re doing is all so important,” she said to Variety. “I understand that, yeah, what we do reaches a lot people and we can persuade a lot of people, but it’s also [respectful] to just know your lane. You know what I’m saying? Know your lane.”

Schumer did use a moment near the end of the night to improvise a reminder that there is “a genocide going on in Ukraine and women are losing all their rights … and trans people”.

Last year’s Academy awards were led by wins for Nomadland and its director, Zhao, and star, Frances McDormand. It was watched by the smallest television audience for an Oscars ceremony ever.

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