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Oscars 2022: The Highlights, Surprises and Snubs

The 94th edition of the Oscars that took place on Sunday saw Sian Heder‘s CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) win three awards, including Best Picture. The biggest awards night for cinema brought its share of controversy, surprises and snubs.


Silverscreen India brings you five highlights from this year’s Academy Awards:

Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

Will Smith slapping Chris Rock is, undoubtedly, the most talked-about part of the event with several memes already circling the internet. Even Smith’s first-ever Oscar win for his role in King Richard could not eclipse that. It all began when Rock joked about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s shaved head, a consequence of her medical condition alopecia areata, and said, “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see it, all right?” Smith went up on stage and took everyone by surprise by striking Rock on the face. He returned to his seat, and screamed, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The incident started making the rounds on social media soon after, with #WillAndChris trending on Twitter. While most netizens expressed disapproval of Smith’s action, some others noted that the actor was smiling when Rock cracked his joke. Although the Academy released a statement, shortly after, disapproving of the act, netizens responded to the post and noted that the curators did not do anything while the incident happened.

CODA’s Best Picture Win

CODA made history by becoming the first streaming movie as well as the first film to predominantly feature deaf actors to win the Best Picture award. Directed by Heder, it tells the story of Ruby Rossi, the only hearing member in a deaf family.

Apple, which had acquired the distribution rights to the film at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival for a record $25 million, became the first streamer to grab the top prize at the Oscars.

Heder, who won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film, said, “This was an independent film, and it was incredibly hard to get made.”

Jane Campion’s Best Director Win

Jane Campion, the first woman filmmaker to be nominated twice for the Oscar for Best Director, won the award for The Power of the Dog. This marks the first time that female directors have taken the title in two consecutive years. Oscars 2021 saw Chloe Zhao win the Best Director award for Nomadland.

Campion has previously won an Oscar for her film The Piano (1993) in the Best Original Screenplay category.

Ariana DeBose and Troy Kotsur’s Win in the Supporting Categories

Troy Kotsur won the Best Supporting Actor award, becoming the second actor from the deaf community, and the first male deaf actor, to win an Oscar. His CODA co-star Marlee Maitlin was the first-ever deaf actor to achieve the feat, winning the Best Actress Award for Children of a Lesser God in 1986.

Ariana DeBose earned the Best Supporting Actress honour for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s musical adaptation West Side Story, making her the second Latina actress to win an Oscar. Interestingly, the first Latina actress to win an Oscar, Rita Moreno, also took home the same award for playing Anita in the 1961 adaptation of the musical.


DeBose is also the first queer Afro-Latina to win an Oscar. “You see an openly queer woman of colour, an Afro-Latina, who found her strength and life through art. And that is, I think, what we’re here to celebrate. So if anyone has ever questioned your identity, I promise you this — there is indeed a place for us,” she said in her acceptance speech.

The Power of the Dog and Flee Snubbed

Two films that created the most noise in the run-up to the Oscars were The Power of the Dog and Flee. However, both were snubbed at the Academy Awards.

Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog follows the story of a rancher, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and his attitude to his brother’s new wife and her son. A commentary on toxic masculinity, the Netflix original bagged top awards at all the major events in the lead up to the Oscars, including the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, as well as the British Academy of Film Awards, and earned the most nominations at this year’s Academy Awards. However, of its 12 Oscar nominations, the film only managed to convert one: Campion’s Best Director award.

The Danish animated documentary Flee, which sheds light on the refugee crisis, became the first film to earn nominations in the three disparate categories of Best Documentary Feature, Best Animated Feature, and Best International Feature Film. But, it failed to win any Oscars.