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NEWSFLASH: The Oscars 2022: The Winners and Losers


The 94th Academy Awards will definitely not be forgotten any time soon. With the continued jokes and discussions made about the La La Land/Moonlight mishap in 2017, it is safe to say that debates and memes will be forever carved into the history of pop culture after Will Smith slapped and swore at Chris Rock in the middle of the ceremony. Despite this shocking turn of the events, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences had some big wins (and losses).

CATEGORYWINNERBest Sound, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Visual EffectsDuneBest Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture CodaBest Supporting ActressAriana DeBose in West Side Story. DeBose is the first openly queer woman of colour to have won this cateogory.Best Costume DesignCruellaBest Original ScreenplayKenneth Branagh for BelfastBest Animated ShortThe Windshield WiperBest Live Action ShortThe Long Goodbye. Riz Ahmed’s win for this production makes him the first Muslim and Pakistani to win this award.Best Makeup & HairstylingThe Eyes of Tammy FayeBest Animated FeatureEncantoBest Documentary FeatureSummer of SoulBest Documentary ShortThe Queen of BasketballBest Original SongBillie Eilish’s ‘No Time to Die’ for James Bond: No Time to DieBest International FeatureDrive My CarBest ActressJessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy FayeBest ActorWill Smith in King RichardBest DirectorJane Campion in The Power of the Dog. Campion is the first woman to have won this category twice.

The Winners: Representation and Hosts

Moving far from the 2015 controversy of #OscarsSoWhite, the Awards have broken milestones for many underrepresented groups this year.

Kirsten Stewart in Spencer had her first nomination and made history becoming the first openly gay female to be nominated for Best Actress. She was also accompanied by best supporting actress winner Ariana Debose being the first an openly queer Afro-Latina female to win in this category. Denzel Washington’s nomination for The Tragedy of Macbeth continues his lead as the most nominated African American with ten nominations and two wins. Latinos Guillermo Del Toro and Lin-Manuel Miranda also nabbed nominations. Chicano director of Raya and the Last Dragon Carlos López Estrada also received a nomination for best animated feature.

Coda actor, Troy Kotsur, has become the second deaf actor in the Academy’s history to be nominated for an award, and the first to win the Best Supporting Actor category. Rasmussen’s Flee nomination for best animated was also a monumental win for the Muslim community. This comes in light of Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Report which found no Muslim characters represented in animation in the top 200 grossing films between 2017 and 2019.

Despite some of these “wins”, only four actors of colour were nominated for awards. This falls from the nine nominations of people of colour in 2021. However, it must be noted that many large studios halted releases of big picture films due to the pandemic in 2021, which begs the concerns about how many films with people of colour are funded by smaller and independent studios - studios that only gained traction because of the exclusions by larger studios who support and fund more white actors.

Despite the controversial comments made by Amy Schumer, Schumer’s co-hosts Regina King and Wanda Sykes were entertaining hosts. The three hosts played with unique comedic styles to keep both their audience and viewers at home entertained. The three hosts also managed to keep composure and comedic execution after the Smith-Rock altercation despite the drastic change in atmosphere and tension after the incident.

Artwork by Stephanie Sutton

The Losers: ‘The Hit’, Omission of Presentations, and Animation Fiasco

The losses of this year’s event cannot be discussed without being reminded of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock in the middle of the ceremony. Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith comparing her to GI Jane due to her bald head. Pinkett-Smith, who has been open about managing alopecia was clearly unimpressed with the comment, provoking Smith to go on stage and slap Rock. Smith could then be heard telling Rock to “keep [his] wife’s name out of [his] f*****g mouth”. Smith apologised to the Academy and nominees in his acceptance speech for Best Actor but did not apologise to Rock. However, Smith uploaded on Instagram a public apology to Rock citing he ‘was out of line and…was wrong’.

The Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed that Chris Rock has declined to file a police report. The slap has resulted in both memes and discussions about male toxicity, jokes about people suffering with auto-immune diseases, and the relationship with hair for African American women. After the Academy publicly considered expelling Smith, Smith took action by announcing his resignation, stating that he will accept any further disciplinary actions that the Academy decides to make.

This year, the Oscars made the decision to cut the live presentations of nominees and winners for eight categories to increase viewer engagement due to the decline in viewership. The eight categories omitted were: documentary (short subject), film editing, makeup and hair styling, music (original score), production design, short film (animated), short film (live action), and sound. President of the Academy, David Rubin, in a letter that was sent to the Academy’s members cited the cutting of the live presentations to “prioritize the television audience to increase viewer engagement and keep the show vital, kinetic, and relevant”.

The backlash to the statement was strong. Sound editors and engineers petitioned against the decision stating that they “respectfully disagree and are opposed to the changes”. It continues that “every film is greater than the sum of all the parts…we all make films together”. Film professionals including Guillermo Del Toro and James Cameron also signed a letter insisting the Academy reverse its decision.

Many were also upset about the comments made about the animation category. The display for the category, hosted by Halle Bailey, Lily James, and Naomi Scott, were all actresses who have played, or will be playing, in the live remake of Disney princess animated films. The hosts not only emphasised that animation is part of “movie experiences as kids” and an experience which “kids watch and adults have to endure”, undermining and belittling the animation category angering many animation fans and producers.

The comments are especially untimely given Flee which was nominated in two animation categories is about a queer Afghan man leaving Afghanistan as a refugee. Director Alberto Mielgo who won the Best Animated Short category noted that “animation for adults is a fact. It’s happening. Let’s call it cinema”.


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