Sunday March 27 was the 94th Annual Academy Awards ceremony or the Oscars. Check out the full list of winners here. The famously lengthy ceremony is a tough watch but if you stick with it, they can be pretty fun.
Here are all the best, worst and weirdest moments from this year’s show:
CODA taking home Best Picture
Per my prediction and desire, CODA took home the top prize for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The joyful film about a young hearing woman who is navigating adolescence with her entirely deaf family was an underdog who spent the entire Oscar season slowly creeping up the ranks and winning over the hearts of voters ultimately taking the prize. CODA also won Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Troy Kostur)
Regina Hall, one of three Oscar hosts, did a bit where she demeaned and objectified conventionally attractive male attendees. The bit was her pretending she was doing an extra intense COVID-19 check for the men she wants to see naked. I’m not really sensitive to jokes (what is funny is funny) but it was very creepy and one of the men in her joke has opened up in the past about being very uncomfortable being routinely sexualized in Hollywood. All the men were very good sports about it but it was cringey.
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock and cussed him out (for real, not a joke – I did a deep dive).
Chris Rock was presenting and made a joke about Jada Pinket Smith’s shaved head indicating his excitement for “GI Jane 2.” Even though the footage clearly shows Will Smith laughing at the joke, Jada rolls her eyes, not impressed. The next we know Will is storming the stage and slaps Chris and then cusses at him telling him to “leave his wife’s name out of his f**king mouth.” The United States telecast cut the audio for the entire exchange but lucky for us, other countries don’t do that.
For a while it wasn’t totally clear whether the whole thing was a bit or if Will was serious but then Will won Best Actor for his role in King Richard and gave a tearful self-congratulating speech where he justified his actions because they were “out of love.” Bizarrrrrrrrre.
The absolute class act that is Lady Gaga helping the icon Liza Minelli present the award for Best Picture.
The duo was slated to present the award together and Liza gave all her enthusiasm to the task but at 76 survived a rare case of encephalitis in 2000 the effects of which are degenerative on her speech and control of body movement. Gaga made sure she paid all of the respect due to Minnelli and stepped in to help present as needed with grace, patience and humility.
The awards were sponsored by Big Vax.
There were several commercials promoting the COVID-19 vaccine and booster since the ceremony was sponsored by the vaccine duo Biontech and Pfizer. Beyond the fact of irony that Hollywood suddenly LOVES Big Pharma, the American taxpayer provided Pfizer with hundreds of billions of dollars and our insurance companies (which we pay the premium for) also provided them hundreds of billions when we were forced to get their product against our will. So in a way, the Oscars were sponsored by all of us.
Jason Momoa burped into the mic.
While presenting for Best Sound, Jason Momoa joked that he writes his name in for all the categories when voting. Josh Brolin joked back wondering what he’d win for Best Sound other than burping. So of course after announcing the nominees, Momoa burped into the mic. Had to be done.
Youn Yuh-jung presenting Best Supporting Actor to winner Troy Kostur.
Youn Yuh-Jung won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Minari in 2021 and made a joke about everyone mispronouncing her name. She returned to the stage with a self-deprecating joke about karma after reading the tricky names on the nominee list for her presenting category (such as Ciaran Hinds). Ironically, winner Troy Kostur would not know if she pronounced it correctly or not. The entire segment was witty and sweet.
The political commentary/jokes.
As always Hollywood thinks they’re the only ones who can save us. They made quite a few jokes about the Florida legislation which prohibits schools from teaching gender identity or sexuality before third grade or as idiots call it the “don’t say Gay” bill (which is not what it is). But the jokes were weird and didn’t land at all and some of the guests didn’t even seem to understand the reference. And then later Jessica Chastain made a very self-righteous speech about it instead so it was odd to have the juxtaposition of poorly landed jokes and very serious speeches about the same issue which they don’t seem to know anything about.
Then they made a joke about Texas voter registrations being shredded which I didn’t even get. Then Amy Schumer sort of weirdly singsonged that there is Ukranian “genocide” which actually there is not even if war is a bad thing and war crimes are being committed.
Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater and Sean White presenting a Bond tribute.
The three sports stars were quite funny and good at their presentation but it was never made totally clear to me why they were the ones tasked with honoring 60 years of Bond instead of, oh I don’t know, maybe the actors who played Bond. It was some sort of play on the “GOAT” concept but it was very weird and shoehorned.
The musical performances.
The audience were treated to Reba McEntire, the cast of Encanto featuring Becky G and Megan Thee Stallion, Travis Barker, and Billie Eilish who ultimately took home the Oscar for Best Song for No Time To Die from the latest Bond installment of the same name.
Will Smith’s Oscar speech.
Coming after he slapped someone in the face and cussed him out for a tiny tease of his wife’s hairstyle, Smith crumbled into manic tears saying that he was called by God to be a vessel of love. He also said he was a protector and he was a lot like his character, Richard Williams. It was all very self-important and self-aggrandizing. While he chose to apologize to the network and Oscars team, he didn’t have the courage or humility to apologize to the person who he hit not ten minutes prior. It was a mess and it really took away from the victory.
The chemistry between the three hosts.
Perfectly encapsulated by a bit where each host chose a different movie to come onstage dressed as instead of choosing one cohesive story, the three hosts were all individually funny (sometimes) but never collectively made much sense. It was like watching three different Oscars.