94th Academy Awards Winners

Andrew Buckle,

Today marked the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and hosted by Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Reginal Hall. It was a doozy. Where to begin.

In what many expected to be the most notable change to this year’s ceremony it was announced, in an attempt to shorten the ceremony and make it more accessible for modern audiences, that eight of the awards would be cut from the live broadcast, their acceptance pre-recorded. Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune swept most of these categories on its way to collecting six in total, including Best Editing, Cinematography, Original Score and Visual Effects. It looked like the favourite to pick up Best Picture, despite the momentum of The Power of the Dog and CODA throughout the preceding industry awards.

As part of the telecast Disney Pixar’s Encanto picked up Best Animated Feature, Drive My Car won Best International Feature and Summer of Soul won Best Documentary Feature.

Towards the end of the ceremony one of the most shocking moments in Oscar history occurred. A “where were you when..?” moment. The entire world, it seemed, was sent into a frenzy, taking to social media to seek explanation for a bizarre exchange that was quickly censored in some countries, and receive confirmation that they hadn’t imagined it.

During the broadcast presenter Chris Rock made Jada Pinkett-Smith the subject of a, let’s say, ill-conceived joke. While she and husband Will Smith, nominated for Best Actor for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard, initially appeared amused and took it in good humour, Smith shortly thereafter took to the stage, approached Chris Rock and slapped him violently across the face. The audience was left reeling as Smith continued to obscenely shout at Rock, who was obviously shaken up and trying to remain composed. Was it a bit? It certainly didn’t seem like it on first look.

An incredibly awkward scenario would soon follow. Smith, still sitting in the auditorium after receiving some comfort from fellow actors as well as a visit from his publicist, was up for Best Actor. He wins. Any doubt about whether this kerfuffle was staged was soon abolished as Smith emotionally apologises for his actions and makes a rather poor attempt to justify them.

It is a shame that such an incident overshadows an annual and beloved ceremony that is struggling right now to find a way to honour the industry’s most talented professionals.

Following all this Jessica Chastain would win Best Actress for her incredible transformation into evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. Jane Campion became just the second woman to win Best Director for The Power of The Dog, which led the field in nominations (twelve) but ended up with this sole win. Ariana DeBose became the first openly queer woman of colour to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story.

But, in the end it was the divisive CODA, a feel-good coming-of-age story about a young woman who is the only hearing member of a deaf family – that silenced the crowd. It won Best Picture, along with Best Adapted Screenplay for writer-director Sian Heder and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur.

If you missed the ceremony, you sure missed a lot of chaos. To save you some time – though you’ll be wanting to dig up the ‘slap’ – we have put together a list of all of the winners in under 3 minutes.

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