Oscars 2022: Coda triumphs while Will Smith attacks Chris Rock on stage | Oscars 2022
Coda was 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 at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival for a record $25 million, became the first film from a streamer to take home the award. It is a remake of the French film La Famille Bélier, centering on the only hearing member of a deaf family.
“Thank you to the Academy for allowing us to make history,” said producer Philippe Rousselet. Producer Patrick Wachsberger thanked the Academy for “recognizing a film 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 win an Oscar, joining his co-star Marlee Matlin who won for Children of a Lesser God in 1987. “I really want to thank all the wonderful stages of theater for the deaf where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor,” he said in a moving speech. “This is dedicated to the Deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community. It’s our time.
Coda writer-director Sian Heder also won Best Adapted Screenplay, becoming the first woman to win the award on her own since Emma Thompson in 1995. Coda became the first Best Picture winner with fewer than four nominations. since Grand Hotel in 1932.
Will Smith had the most viral moment of the night 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 has revealed last year that she suffered from alopecia, was not amused. and an angry Smith then came on stage and appeared to slap Rock before the sound cut out and footage later showed Rock saying ‘Will Smith just slapped the shit on me’ before Smith shouted, ” Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
Rock attempted to defuse the situation by saying “it was a GI Jane joke” before Smith repeated his warning. Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg tweeted that Smith was then calmed down by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry during the commercial break as he appeared to wipe tears from his eyes.
Smith then got his first Oscar, winning Best Actor for playing Venus and Serena Williams’ father in King Richard. “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” he said in tears. “I know to do what we do, you have to be able to take abuse, you have to be able to make people talk crazy about you, in this business, you have to have people who disrespect you and you gotta smile and pretend you’re okay.”
He then recalled the advice his fellow candidate Washington had just given him: “At the highest moment, be careful, that’s where the devil is coming for you.”
He continued, “I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees…art imitates life. I look like a crazy dad, like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things.
“Will Smith said it all, let’s have peace, love and quiet,” Anthony Hopkins said later on stage.
The Best Director award 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 win the Best Director Oscar, following Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker and Chloe Zhao last year for Nomadland. She thanked the “actors of the film whom I am humbled to call my friends” and called the victory “the honor of a lifetime”.
Jessica Chastain was named Best Actress for the 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 sweeping our country.”
“At times like this, I remember Tammy,” she said, and her “radical acts of love.” She said to anyone feeling lonely, “I just want you to know that you are unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that you are.”
The film also won the only other award it was nominated for, Best Hairstyle and Best Makeup.
Ariana DeBose has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the remake of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. She became the first openly queer woman of color and only the second Latina to win an Oscar. She joins her West Side Story co-star Rita Moreno, who also won for playing the character Anita in 1962, as a “divine inspiration who paved the way for tons of Anitas.”
Kenneth Branagh has chosen Best Original Screenplay for his semi-autobiographical drama Belfast. “It’s a beautiful tribute to an incredible city,” he said of the award, his first win out of eight nominations.
There was an uproar last month when it was announced that eight craft awards would be announced before the ceremony and then edited on the show later. These were dominated by Dune, which won for Hans Zimmer’s original score as well as editing, sound and production design. The film went on to win for Cinematography and Visual Effects, making it the most awarded of the night 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 Feature. Summer of Soul by Questlove was named Best Documentary.
This year also saw the introduction of two special Twitter-voted fan prizes. Fan-favorite film was won by Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie thriller Army of the Dead, while happiest moment ever was won by Zack Snyder’s Justice League for the scene where The Flash d ‘Ezra Miller comes in strong.
Last year’s Best Actor nominee Riz Ahmed also became the first Muslim and the first person of Asian descent to win the live-action short film for The Long Goodbye. “It’s for anyone 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.” Two-time British Oscar winner Jenny Beavan also won the award for her costume work on Cruella.
The ceremony was hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes. “We’re going to have a great night tonight and for you guys in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night tonight,” Sykes said to applause, referring to the state’s controversial ‘don’t say gay’ bill that aims to prohibit the teaching of sexual identity and gender orientation in primary education as well as “in a way that is not appropriate to the age or development of the pupils”. Sykes also attempted to suppress voters by presenting a shredded Texas voter registration form.
The evening kicked off with an extravagant performance by Beyoncé, singing her Academy Award-nominated song King Richard on the Compton tennis courts. 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 marked by the war in Ukraine with stars such as 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, it’s just, you know, beyond belief,” Cumberbatch said on the red carpet.
“One can’t help but be in awe of those who find the strength to keep fighting in unimaginable darkness,” said Ukrainian-born Mila Kunis in her introduction to a performance by Reba McEntire. It was then followed by a message asking for a minute of silence and a call for help. “We ask you to support Ukraine in every way possible,” the screen reads.
Schumer previously expressed a wish for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to appear while Sean Penn said he would feel his Oscars if it didn’t happen. Sykes was asked about this idea on the red carpet. “You know, in Hollywood we can be a little bit full of ourselves and we think what we do is so important,” she told Variety. “I understand that, yes, what we do affects a lot of people and we can persuade a lot of people, but it’s also [respectful] to find your way. Do you know what I’m saying? Know your path.
Schumer used a moment towards 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 Oscars were led by wins for Nomadland and its director, Zhao, and star, Frances McDormand. It was watched by the smallest TV audience for an Oscar ceremony.