This year the 94th Academy Awards made history in many ways. Firstly, by having three women host the live ceremony. The emmy-winning comedians, Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall took the stage on Sunday, Mar. 27 and charmed the audience with their humor and witty remarks.
More history was made with the film CODA. Streaming on Apple TV, directed by Sian Heder, has a largely deaf cast in leading roles and won best picture. CODA had multiple wins that night including the adapted screenplay award for its writer/director, and the best supporting actor award for Troy Kotsur who is deaf. CODA became the first streaming movie to win an Oscar for best picture.
Drive My Car, an international film from Japan directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, was the first Japanese film to be nominated for best picture. The film went on to win the award for best international feature.
There were also many performances throughout the night. Beyoncé opened the show with an artistic performance of her original song “Be Alive” from the film King Richard. Billie Eilish and her older brother Finneas performed their song “No Time to Die” from the film No Time to Die and also went on to receive their award for best original song.
Country music legend Reba McEntire performed “Somehow You Do” from the film Four Good Days, and Sebastián Yatra performed “Dos Oruguitas” from the Disney animated film Encanto. The cast of this animated film, including Adassa, Mauro Castillo, Diane Guerrero, Carolina Gaitan, and Stephanie Beatriz, teamed up with hip-hop artist Megan Thee Stallion, Latino singer Luis Fonsi, and pop music star Becky G to perform a remixed version of the film’s hit song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”.
Will Smith also won his very first Oscar for best actor for the role he played in this King Richard as well.
This year’s Academy Awards were star studded and filled with entertainment. There were a few moments, however, that sparked some controversy. The ceremony took time during the show to honor those in the industry who have passed away the past year. The presentation included a slideshow highlighting the deceased and their work while a gospel choir performed alongside Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott.
This memorial, however, fell a little flat and was a bit distasteful. The gospel choir was very distracting with their full choreography in front of the slideshow featuring the deceased. The choir sang and danced in the middle of the screen, taking attention away from the slideshow. During Betty White’s segment they used the time to encourage everyone to adopt a dog from a specific shelter, almost like a sponsored message. Also, some celebrities were left off of the slideshow entirely.
Later on in the evening, well-known comedian Chris Rock attempted to present an award during the ceremony. During the delivery of his speech, he poked fun at Jada Pinkett-Smith, who was sitting front row next to her husband Will Smith. Rock made a comment about the actress’ hair and his joke ended up not landing well. This resulted in Will Smith storming the stage and assaulting him on live television.