Yes, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards and lived to tell the tale. While nobody is recovering from Slapgate anytime soon, least of all Chris Rock, there were some other, pretty major, things that happened at the Oscars. A lot of it had to do with CODA; some old and beloved faces showed up; Anita from West Side Story rocks as much as she did six decades ago, the In Memoriam tribute turned out truly evocative, and Hollywood wore their hearts on their sleeves for Ukraine. Here are 10 things we didn’t hate about this year’s Academy Awards.
Jane Campion became only the third woman to win Best Director (for The Power Of The Dog) after Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and Chloe Zhao (Nomadland).
Jane Campion with her Oscar
CODA‘s Troy Kotsur became the second hearing-impaired actor to win an Oscar, 35 years after Marlee Matlin. He is the first male actor with hearing disabilities to win. Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor and received a standing ovation with signed clapping.
Troy Kotsur at the Oscars (Image credit: Getty)
CODA is the first streaming film to win the Oscar for Best Picture, it features a mostly hearing impaired cast – including Troy Kotsur and Marlee Matlin – and scored the biggest upset of the awards over the much-nominated The Power Of The Dog.
A film still from CODA
All four acting Oscars went to first time winners – Will Smith, Jessica Chastain (Best Actress), Troy Kotsur and Ariana DeBose (Best Supporting Actress). Other first time winners include Kenneth Branagh (Best Original Screenplay for Belfast). Siblings Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell were thrilled to win a joint Oscar for Best Original Song for No Time To Die from the Bond film of the same name.
Oscar winners Ariana DeBose, Troy Kotsur and Jessica Chastain
The role of Anita in West Side Story has won two women the Best Supporting Actress Oscar – Ariana DeBose now and Rita Moreno 60 years earlier. Ms Moreno also appears in Steven Spielberg’s remake of the musical.
A film still of Ariana DeBose from West Side Story
Ukraine was in everyone’s thoughts – stars like Mila Kunis and Jamie Lee Curtis wore blue ribbons to show their support. The Oscars went silent for 30 seconds for Ukraine, with the screen fading to black, at the end of a speech by Mila, who is of Ukrainian origin.
Jamie Lee Curtis wears a blue ribbon for Ukraine
The In Memoriam tribute not only had the traditional montage and music, it also had presenters speaking about some of those being honoured. “For you sir, with love,” said Tyler Perry about the late and very great Sidney Poitier. Jamie Lee Curtis paid tribute to Betty White. Bill Murray spoke about Ghostbusters‘ Ivan Reitman.
The tribute to Sidney Poitier
Several ‘reunions’ took place – Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro appeared for The Godfather which celebrated it’s 50th anniversary; A Pulp Fiction reunion saw John Travolta and Uma Thurman recreate their iconic dance while Samuel L Jackson spoke; Elliott Page, Jennifer Garner and JK Simmons appeared for Juno, which released 15 years earlier; and White Man Can’t Jump stars Rosie Perez, Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson presented together.
Uma Thurman, Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta at the Oscars
Liza Minelli, now 76 and in a wheelchair, presented the final Oscar – Best Picture – with Lady Gaga. “The public, they love you,” Lady Gaga said of the Hollywood legend who won a Best Actress Oscar for Cabaret, also celebrating 50 years.
Liza Minelli and Lady Gaga at the Oscars (Image credit: Getty)
The ‘Fan Favourite’ and ‘Cheer Moment’ populist honours the Academy put in place this year didn’t go quite as they planned. Spider-Man: No Way Home didn’t show; instead, fans gave their love to two Zack Snyder films – Army Of The Dead was the ‘Fan Favourite’ and the Speed Force scene from Justice League was the “Cheer Moment.”
A film still from Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Which was your favourite Oscar moment this year, Will Smith notwithstanding?