Sydney, 2022-03-27 17:53:00. Oscars 2022: ‘CODA Wins Best Picture’
LOS ANGELES – After a cinematic year that often lights up crowds, the Oscars unabashedly chose deaf family drama “CODA” for Best Picture on Sunday, handing out the first Hollywood Award for the streaming service at a gala that saw greatest drama as Will Smith marched on stage slapped chris rock.
Sian Heder’s “CODA,” which premiered at the virtual Sundance Film Festival in the winter of 2021, started out as an underdog but gradually emerged as an Oscar favourite. It also has a very rich backer in Apple TV+, which took home its first Academy Award for Best Picture on Sunday, less than three years after launching the service.
It also caused yet another defeat that Netflix, the veteran player who for years tried in vain to score the best picture, almost missed. Her best chance came, “The Power of the Dog” by Jane Campion, with 12 Leading nominations. Won one, for Campion direction.
But “CODA” had a flurry of goodwill driven by its cast including Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Emilia Jones and Daniel Durant. It is the first film with a largely deaf cast to win Best Picture. “CODA” managed to achieve this despite being one of the lowest-nominated films, with only three appearances on Sunday. Not since 1932 has “Grand Hotel” taken home a Best Picture award with less than four nods.
Kotsur also won Best Supporting Actor, becoming the first deaf actor to win an Academy Award, and the second deaf actor to do so, joining fellow cast and “CODA” co-star Matlin.
“This is for the deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community,” said Kotsur, signing off the stage. “This is our moment.”
However, many were talking about another moment. After Rock, as a presenter, joked to Jada Pinkett Smith that he was looking forward to a sequel to “GI Jane,” Will Smith got up from his seat near the stage, walked over to Rock and hit him. After sitting down again, Smith shouted at Rock “To keep my wife’s name out of your mouth (expletive).” When Rock, who joked about Jada Pinkett Smith while hosting the Oscars in 2016, protested that it was just a “GI Jane” joke, Smith repeated the same line.
“That was the greatest night in television history,” said Rock, before awkwardly returning to presenting the best documentary, which went to Questlove’s “Summer of Soul (…or when the revolution wasn’t televised).”
The moment shocked the Dolby Theater audience and viewers at home. At the commercial break, presenter Daniel Kaluuya came to hug Smith, and Denzel Washington accompanied him to the side of the stage. The two talked and hugged, and Tyler Perry came to talk as well.
Smith, who plays the father of Venus and Serena Williams on “King Richard,” later on the show won Best Actor, his first Oscar. It meant Smith took the stage again shortly after what seemed to be one of the most iconic moments in Academy Awards history. His acceptance speech oscillated between defense and apology.
“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith said in his first remarks. He continued, “I am called in my life to love people, protect people, and be a river for my people.”
Smith then shared what Washington told him: “In your highest moments, be careful because that’s when the devil comes for you.”
In the end, Smith apologized to the academy and to his fellow candidates.
“Art imitates life. I look like a crazy dad,” Smith said with a laugh. “But love will make you do crazy things.”
Until then, the show – which was conceived as a revival of the Oscars and the movies – had been running fairly smoothly. Ariana DeBose became the first Afro-Latina and LBGTQ actress publicly to win an Academy Award for a supporting actress. Jane Campion won the Academy Award for Best Director for “The Power of the Dog,” her psychological drama on the open plains that upended and upended Western conventions.
Campion, who was the first woman to be nominated twice in this category (previously for 1993’s The Piano), is the third woman to win Best Director. It’s also the first time the director’s award has been given to women in consecutive years, after director Chloe Chow won “Nomadland” last year.
And the Best Actress award went to Jessica Chastain, who also won her first Oscar. Chastain won for her sympathetic portrayal of televangelist Tami Fey in “The Eyes of Tami Fey,” a film she also produced.
After record-low ratings and a 2021 show marred by the pandemic, this year producers turned to one of the biggest stars around the world – Beyoncé – to kick off an Academy Awards ceremony aimed at reviving the awards’ standing in pop culture. Following an introduction by Venus and Serena Williams, Beyoncé performed her King Richard-nominated “Be Alive” song, in a meticulously choreographed performance from the lime-coloured open-air stage in Compton, where the Williams sisters grew up.
Then hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall began broadcasting television from the Dolby Theatre.
Sykes, Schumer, and Hal joked about high-profile Hollywood issues like pay equity – they said three flight attendants were “cheaper than one man” – Lady Gaga drama Sykes called “House of Random Accents,” the Golden Globes (now Sykes said) and Leonardo’s girlfriends Di Caprio. The most obvious political point came at the end of their routine, where they promised a great night and then hammered into a Florida “Don’t Say Like Me” bill.
“For you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night,” Sykes said.
The first broadcast award, fittingly, went to Ariana DeBose, whose win came 60 years after Rita Moreno won for the same role in the original 1961 West Side Story. DeBose thanked Moreno for leading the way “to tons of Anitas like me.”
“You see an outspoken, Afro-Latin woman of colour, who has found her strength and her life through art. And that, I think, is what we are here to celebrate,” DeBose said.
Pushed by a chart-topping soundtrack, Disney’s hit “Encanto” won Best Animated Feature. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the hit songs for the movie, missed the party after his wife tested positive for COVID-19. Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s three-hour Japanese drama “Drive My Car”, one of the most popular films of the year, won the award for best international film.
Two years into the pandemic, and under the warm California sun Sunday, the glamorous Hollywood ritual is once again in swing, with a glowing red carpet and a COVID-tested audience. Before the conversation with Smith, Rock remarked with amusement: “Nobody wears a mask. Just raw dog breath tonight.”
To help restore the cultural spotlight, the Academy Awards have relied heavily on musical performances (Billie Eilish, Reba McIntyre), film anniversaries (“The Godfather”, “Pulp Fiction”, “White Men Can’t Jump”) and numerous cues To the “Encanto” Breakout song, “We’re Not Talking About Bruno,” as much as possible. Ukraine-born Mila Kunis led a 30-second moment of silence for Ukraine. Some stars, such as Sean Penn, pressured the academy to lure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak at the concert
But aside from a few blue streaks spotted on the red carpet, politics has rarely taken center stage. Instead, she doubled down on Oscars for dazzling, and movies as getaway. Producers brought in the likes of BTS and Tony Hawk to attract more viewers. Some things worked better than others. The fan-favorite awards, as voted by Twitter users, were overtaken by Zack Snyder fans, who voted for Snyder’s version of “Justice League” and “Army of the Dead.”
The happy films also did well. “CODA” also won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Kenneth Branagh’s biographical “Belfast,” a soulful, nostalgic family drama filmed in black and white, won Best Original Screenplay.
Eilish and her brother Vince won the Bond theme for “No Time to Die,” a song released before the pandemic started. The film was subsequently delayed several times.
Sunday’s Oscars ceremony began off-camera, with the night’s top eight awards handed out at the Dolby Theater before the start of ABC’s television broadcast. Dolby was pretty much full in time for the introductory show at 7 p.m. ET, which the Academy dubbed “the golden hour.” The speeches were later edited into the broadcast.
“Dune” achieved an early lead in those early awards, and it held that up all night. Among the top 10 picture nominees of the year, “Dune” earned six leading awards in production design, cinematography, editing, visual and sound effects, and a Hans Zimmer score.
Greg Fraser’s cinematic win deprived him of a single opportunity to make an Oscar history. Some rooted with Ari Winger, whose film The Power of the Dog made Jane Campion the first woman to win Best Cinematography, the only Oscar category no woman has won at the Academy Awards in nine decades—plus history
Best Makeup and Hairstyle went to Linda Dodds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh for “Tami Fay’s Eyes”. Chastain was among several Academy members who believed that all awards should have been handed out live during the broadcast. Chastain hugged each winner while they took the stage.
Behind this year’s TV broadcast changes, there’s been an alarm about the rapid decline in Academy Awards rates. While dips were common on all major network awards shows, last year’s show drew only about 10 million viewers, down from half of the 23.6 million in the previous year. A decade ago, it was close to 40 million. The evaluations will provide their verdict on Monday.
Associated Press writers Lindsey Barr, Jocelyn Novick and Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.
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