Where were you when Will Smith told Chris Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his fucking mouth? Hopefully watching the Oscars. But if you weren’t, we’ve got all the good stuff right here.
Will Smith kind of stole the night after that whole debacle. But minutes later, he won Best Actor for King Richard, which makes one wonder, was the whole Chris Rock thing a bit like the Glenn Close “Da Butt” debacle? He is the Best Actor, after all… Unfortunately, Smith’s slap robbed him of his big moment, shifting focus from the show to his antics. Sounds like someone’s going to take it to the Red Table.
It wasn’t all fisticuffs though. Jazz hands were held high tonight as CODA won all three awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.
Troy Kotsur of CODA became the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar, and the second person overall. The first deaf person to win? His CODA co-star Marlee Matlin for 1986’s Children Of A Lesser God. “This is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA community, and the disabled community. This is our moment!” he said in his speech. CODA’s writer-director, Sian Heder, won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Speaking of writers, fresh off a COVID diagnosis (though was given the all-clear), Kenneth Branagh picked up his first Oscar, after eight nominations. The man simply never stops working, but tonight, he’ll likely drink enough champagne to fill the Nile.
Like Smith and Branagh, Jessica Chastain finally got that Oscar she’s been striving for. Winning for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, Chastain took home the second Oscar for those famous peepers. The film about the makeup enthusiast/televangelist also won, appropriately, for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.
Kotsur wasn’t the only one making history. Winning for Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story, Ariana DeBose became the first Afro Latina and first openly queer woman of color to win an Academy Award for acting. DeBose is also the second actor born in the ‘90s to win an Oscar (the first was Jennifer Lawrence). Truly something only ‘90s kids understand.
“Imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford Focus,” DeBose said in her acceptance speech. “Look into her eyes, you see, an openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina, who found her strength in life through art, and that is what I believe we’re here to celebrate. So anyone who has ever questioned your identity, or find yourself living in the grey spaces. I promise you, there is indeed a place for us.”
Though presented off-camera (because why would anyone watching an awards show want to watch people collect awards) Dune: Part One won early and often, picking up awards for Best Editing, Production Design, and Score. The 11-time nominee, Hans Zimmer picked up his second Oscar for his electronic BRHAAAAAAMS and the “vocal technique called ‘Hans Zimmer.’”
Once the cameras were rolling, Dune kept doin’. Cinematographer Greig Fraser, who most recently shot The Batman (with a camera, not like he shot the Batman) won for Best Cinematography. And they even let those previously thought unfilmable Best Sound winners do a little televised thank you speech, with some Jason Momoa burping for good measure. The movie also won Best Visual Effects without any burps to speak of.
Dune more or less shut the other favorite, The Power Of The Dog, out. Of its 12 nominations, Dog went home with one award for Jane Campion, who nabbed her second Oscar, becoming the third woman to win Best Director. She had previously won for her screenplay for The Piano.
Despite the hype surrounding the movie about a man exploring grief through routines, Drive My Car went home with only one award: Best International Feature. This makes Drive My Car’s prize the second time Japan has won—despite receiving several honorary awards.
Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) won best documentary. Encanto won for Best Animated movie, beating Mitchells Vs. The Machines, Flee, and fellow Disney films Raya And The Last Dragon and Pixar’s Luca. Riz Ahed picked up his first Academy Awards, which he shares with Aneil Karia, for The Long Goodbye, which won Best Live Action Short Film.
In other weird news, famed TV movie, Zack Snyder’s Justice League picked up a win for, um, the Number One Cheer-Worthy Moment for “Flash entering the Speed Force?” Not sure who voted for an ineligible movie, but sure. The Snyder faithful turned out for their man, voting his movie Army Of The Dead the fan-favorite of that weird fan vote thing. What a great idea that was.
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