Highlights from the 2022 Oscars that were overshadowed by Will Smith debacle

The 2022 Oscars Awards Ceremony took place the evening of March 27. While the event has been widely-talked about for reasons rather unique to award shows, there were many awards and events that needed more attention following the ceremony. As a high-schooler whose dream is to work in the film industry someday, I was greatly anticipating this event. Here are some highlights of the night.

“Dune” was awarded a total of six Oscars, none of which surprised me. The film’s winning categories were “Cinematography,” “Film Editing,” “Sound,” “Visual Effects,” “Music (Original Score)” and “Production Design.” While I thought all of these technical elements were extremely deserving of awards, as I was blown away by these when watching the movie, I am glad “Best Picture” was given to a different movie. Other movies that swept more than one award were “Coda” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” 

“Coda” took away “Best Picture,” which I have to say surprised me. I have yet to see the film, but in comparison to the amount of attention “Dune” and “Licorice Pizza” got this year, I hadn’t really heard of “Coda” before the nominations came out. The movie is an Apple original and features many deaf actors, as the plot centers around a deaf family with a hearing teenage daughter. I am excited the award was given to an inclusive film, and it caused a wave of appreciation for the deaf community when it was awarded. 

If you are on social media at all or are just the tiniest bit knowledgeable on pop culture news, you have likely heard about the Will Smith and Chris Rock debacle. There isn’t much to discuss other than the fact that it is disappointing this event took away from more important topics to discuss, like the inclusivity brought with “Coda’s” wins. 

Shortly after the incident, Smith was on stage accepting the award for “Actor in a Leading Role,” for his role in “King Richard,” tears streaming down his face. I was disappointed that the winner of the award had just physically assaulted another man on live television, and I thought Andrew Garfield was more deserving of the award for his role in “Tick, Tick, Boom.” This was really the only award from the night I was disappointed by. 

Troy Kotsur took away “Actor in a Supporting Role” for his work in “Coda.” This was probably the most heartwarming moment of the night. Kotsur, being the first deaf man to win an Oscar, was crying and recognized his father who was also deaf in his speech. The entire audience was cheering in sign language, and it was an inclusive celebration that would make many emotional.

There were performances by Beyoncé, Billie Eilish and the cast of “Encanto.” Beyoncé opened the ceremony in a perfect way, and Megan Thee Stallion’s feature in “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” surprised me so much (and, frankly, made the performance of the extremely overplayed song more enjoyable). 

“Animated Feature Film,” the award I was least surprised by, went to “Encanto.” With the amount of attention “Encanto” has gotten this year, the other nominees didn’t stand a chance. 

Another movie I absolutely loved that got attention on Oscars night was “Cruella.” Jenny Beavan won the “Costume Design” award and channeled some of her inner Cruella in an iconic black and white outfit on the red carpet.

Speaking of red carpet looks, there were some amazing looks and some rather interesting ones. I will forever be a fan of Timothée Chalamet, and his look blew me away. The black, glittery, open suit was the perfect mix of classy and “Mr. Show-off.” Jessica Chastain’s violet dress was gorgeous and Megan Thee Stallion’s blue gown blew me away. Lily James didn’t get screen time, but her pink Versache dress with a long train deserved to be seen. 

This wasn’t the Met Gala, so some looks I didn’t enjoy just because they were too over-the-top. Julia Vernon did a little too much, while, on the other hand, Kristen Stewart’s outfit seemed even too casual for the red carpet. 

Toward the end of the ceremony, the “In Memoriam” presentation included a video tribute to people who had a history with the Oscars who passed away. This included African-American actors who made history at the ceremony and a special tribute for Betty White. The ceremony also included a moment of silence for those impacted by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

I really enjoyed the awards show this year. I felt this was the first year I could get excited about the results because I had seen a lot of the nominated movies. If you haven’t had a chance, I encourage you to look back on more important moments of the night, rather than the episode that has gotten a little too much attention.