Oscars 2022: CODA wins big on an evening of firsts and fists
Los Angeles, California – Oscars the night had a dual feature of historic honors for the cast Ariana DeBose and Troy Kotsur, while heartfelt film CODA mastered The Power of the Dog for a breakthrough win for Best Picture.
And in one of the craziest moments in Oscars history, a dust onstage saw Will Smith attack comedian Chris Rock over a joke about the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
CODA, a coming-of-age drama about a child of deaf adults, became the first film featuring a mostly deaf cast to win an Oscar.
DeBose, who played the feisty Anita in the musical West Side Story, was named Best Supporting Actress at the ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Calif., making her the first openly queer and the first Afro-Latina to win an academy. Award.
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Kotsur, who played the family patriarch in CODA, became the first deaf male performer to receive an Oscar with his Best Supporting Actor win.
“Imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford Focus. Look her in the eye,” DeBose said during her acceptance speech. “You see [an] openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art.”
“That’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate. So to anyone who has ever questioned your identity, ever, ever, or found themselves living in gray spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us.”
Her win came 60 years after Rita Moreno won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anita in the original West Side Story film adaptation. DeBose called Moreno, who was in the audience, “divinely inspired.”
Drama on and off stage
Kotsur is the second deaf person to win an Oscar, after her CODA co-star Marlee Matlin, who won Best Supporting Actress in 1987 for the drama Children of a Lesser God.
Kotsur, 53, called his father a “hero” when he accepted his award.
“He was in a car accident and he became paralyzed from the neck down, and he was no longer able to sign. Dad, I learned so much from you. I will always love you,” Kotsur signed .
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“This is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA community and the disability community. This is our moment. To my mom, dad and brother, Mark; they are not here today, but look at me now. I did this.”
Later in the ceremony, Rock joked with Pinkett-Smith, who has a shaved head, that he can’t wait to see her in GI Jane 2.
Will Smith then took the stage and slapped a stunned Rock in the face, before yelling at him, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” The producers cut the audio of the startling exchange.
Smith went on to win Best Actor for his portrayal of the eccentric father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard, saying in his acceptance speech, “Love will make you do crazy things.”
“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all of my fellow nominees,” Smith said tearfully, without apologizing to Rock.
A victory for the director of The Power of the Dog
Jessica Chastain won Best Actress for her performance as the titular televangelist in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. And Jane Campion became the third filmmaker to win Best Director for her work on The Power of the Dog, a dark Western drama about an overbearing cattle rancher.
The Power of the Dog led all films with 12 nominations on Sunday, including Best Picture.
Oscar hosts Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes provided laughs in an opening monologue filled with biting one-liners that poked fun at nominated films and controversies within the film industry.
“This year, the Academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring a man,” Schumer deadpanned.
Sykes, meanwhile, called the Oscars a place “where moviegoers get together and watch TV,” and said of Power of the Dog that she “watched that movie three times, and I’m all for it. At the half of it or in the middle”.
Other nominees for best picture on Sunday included King Richard, West Side Story and Belfast, a semi-autobiographical drama by Kenneth Branagh set amid social unrest in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s.
Billie Eilish also scored an Oscar, along with her brother Finneas, as No Time To Die won Best Song.
Sunday’s Oscars returned to the show’s longtime home at the Dolby Theater after last year’s Oscars moved to the more low-key Union Station in Los Angeles due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stars such as DeBose, Matlin, Chastain and Andrew Garfield wore varying shades of red on the first full-fledged Oscars red carpet in two years, where many wore bold dresses and sparkly outfits. Some, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Jason Momoa, Benedict Cumberbatch and Samuel L Jackson, showed their support for Ukraine with blue and yellow accessories.
The Oscars sparked controversy after organizers said the ceremony would not announce the winners of the eight craft categories during the live stream. These awards were instead unveiled online ahead of the show, with pre-recorded segments aired during the telecast. Most of them were won by Dune.
Cover photo: IMAGO / EFE Agency