- Hollywood’s 2022 award season ended with the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday.
- The ceremony returned to the Dolby Theatre and was hosted by Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer.
- The night’s big winner was CODA, winning all three of its nominations, including Best Picture.
- Here are all the highlights from this year’s Oscars.
Deaf family drama CODA won best picture honours at the Oscars Sunday, the first-ever triumph for a streamer, in a ceremony that was overshadowed by best actor-winner Will Smith striking comedian Chris Rock on stage for making a joke about his wife.
Tinseltown’s biggest night began with a performance by pop megastar Beyoncé and touched on politics with a moment of silence over the Ukraine crisis.
But before the final awards were handed out, the shocking Smith-Rock altercation went viral and changed the mood of the night.
CODA, a feel-good indie drama starring deaf actors in lead roles, had been presumed a longshot for Hollywood’s biggest prize until very recently, but pulled off a remarkable late surge to emerge triumphant.
The film bagged the historic prize for Apple TV+, a relative newcomer in a streaming market dominated by rivals like Netflix.
Eugenio Derbez, Sian Heder, Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Emilia Jones, Daniel Durant and Amy Forsyth, winners of the Best Picture award for CODA in the Photo Room during the 94th Academy Awards.
“Thank you to the Academy for letting our CODA make history tonight,” said producer Philippe Rousselet.
Taking its title from the acronym for child of deaf adult, the movie also won for best-adapted screenplay, and best supporting actor for Troy Kotsur, who plays the father of a teenage girl who can hear and wants to pursue a career in music.
Kotsur dedicated his golden statuette to the deaf and disabled communities.
“This is our moment,” he said.
Jessica Chastain won best actress for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, in which she played a real-life televangelist who became an unlikely champion for the LGBTQ community.
“We’re faced with discriminatory and bigoted legislation that is sweeping our country… in times like this, I think of Tammy, and I’m inspired by her radical acts of love,” she said.
‘Art imitates life’
But Hollywood’s biggest night was dominated by a shocking moment in which Smith – who won best actor for his work on King Richard – slapped Rock on stage, before returning to his seat alongside his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and shouting profanities.
“Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” yelled Smith, forcing the producers to bleep out several seconds of audio from the televised broadcast in the United States.
Rock, presenting the best documentary prize, had compared Jada’s tightly cropped hair to Demi Moore’s appearance in the film G.I. Jane. Jada suffers from alopecia, a condition causing hair loss.
Chris Rock and Will Smith are seen onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards.
The moment left stunned viewers questioning if it had been scripted or genuine.
But when he returned to the stage to accept his award, a tearful Smith lamented “people disrespecting you” in Hollywood, and apologised to the Academy “and all my fellow nominees.”
Smith, who plays the father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams in King Richard, added: “Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams.”
In reference to the incident the Academy tweeted that it does not condone violence of any form.
The Academy does not condone violence of any form.
Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 28, 2022
Until recently it had appeared that dark, psychological Western The Power of the Dog was fated to earn Netflix its much-coveted first best picture statuette.
As it turned out, the film won only best director for Jane Campion.
She is only the third woman to do so in Oscars history, just a year after Chloé Zhao became the second (Nomadland). Kathryn Bigelow was the first for The Hurt Locker.
Kenneth Branagh’s childhood-inspired Belfast – another presumed best picture frontrunner – triumphed for best original screenplay.
Ariana DeBose won best supporting actress for playing Anita in West Side Story, and Disney’s Encanto was named best-animated feature.
DeBose, who first made her name on Broadway, celebrated her historic win for “an openly queer woman of colour, an Afro-Latina.”
Ariana DeBose poses with her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story.
Yvett Merino, producer of Colombia-set Encanto, said she was “so proud to be a part of a film that put beautiful, diverse characters in front and centre.”
Summer of Soul won best documentary for musician Questlove’s first movie about the huge “Black Woodstock” festival that took place in 1969 Harlem.
Japan’s Drive My Car, a Japanese arthouse film based on a short story of the same name by Haruki Murakami, was named best international film.
Beyoncé began the televised broadcast with her nominated tune from King Richard, from the Compton courts where Serena and Venus trained as girls.
But the award for best original song went to Billie Eilish for her James Bond theme song No Time to Die.
In another musical highlight, viral sensation We Don’t Talk About Bruno was performed live, with Megan Thee Stallion adding an Oscars-themed verse to the Encanto hit song.
Hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall kicked off proceedings inside the Dolby Theatre – where the Oscars returned after a year away due to the pandemic – with an opening skit that poked fun at everything from sexism in Hollywood to Florida’s “Don’t say gay” bill.
“This year, the Academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring one man,” said Schumer.
Sykes added: “We’re going to have a great night tonight. And for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night.”
Sci-fi epic Dune ended the night with the most wins, earning six in craft and technical categories – best sound, score, editing, production design, visual effects and cinematography.
The annual “in memoriam” paid tribute to cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was shot dead by Alec Baldwin in a tragic accident on the set of Western Rust last year.
Recently deceased Hollywood greats also honoured in the segment included Sidney Poitier – the first, and for many decades, the only Black man to win best actor.
The gala held a moment’s silence for Ukraine, while presenter Mila Kunis – who was born in the country – said it was “impossible not to be moved” by the resilience of “those facing such devastation.”
Several attendees wore blue ribbons reading #WithRefugees.
Watch a rebroadcast of the ceremony tonight at 21:30 on M-Net (DStv 101).