Well, the 2022 Academy Awards® was a show that had people talking. One of the most memorable ceremonies in the event's 94-year history featured a monumental first, a moving speech from one of Hollywood’s brightest up-and-coming stars, touching tributes, and a slap heard around the world that we’ll be talking about for years to come.
We’re about to break down some of the biggest moments and some takeaways from one of the most talked-about awards shows of all time.
Ariana DeBose Gives Inspirational Speech
The 94th Academy Awards featured multiple firsts, including Ariana DeBose’s well-deserved win in the Best Supporting Actress category for her depiction of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of WEST SIDE STORY. Once the shock of her win wore off and she approached the stage to accept her award, DeBose, who became the first openly gay woman to win an acting Oscar, provided one of the most inspirational speeches in recent Oscars history where she spoke directly to the LGBTQ+ community by saying “there is indeed a place for us” among other things.
DeBose also gave a shoutout to Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the same character in the 1961 adaptation of WEST SIDE STORY, saying the actress paved the way for so many.
Troy Kotsur Becomes First Deaf Man To Win An Acting Oscar
The 2022 Academy Awards ended with CODA being named Best Picture, but the emotional and powerful drama made history earlier in the evening when Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar. Everything about this moment was great from the introduction and heartfelt announcement by the 2021 Best Supporting Actress winner Youn Yuh-jung, to the audience’s reaction and finally Kotsur’s powerful acceptance speech.
Paying respect to his father and the impact he had on the actor’s life, small theatres that gave the deaf actor opportunities in his youth, and the cast and crew of CODA, Kotsur made the most of his time on stage and created an all-around incredible moment in the process.
Will Smith Wins Best Actor, But Creates Controversy
Twenty years after first being nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali, Will Smith finally received his Academy Award in 2022 in the Best Actor category for his performance as Richard Williams in KING RICHARD. But this is only after the megastar made controversy with one of the most shocking moments in the history of the ceremony when he slapped presenter Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke at the expense of the actor’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. It is unfortunate that this event overshadowed, his performance, other winners moment to shine and the Oscars as a whole.
Lady Gaga Helps Liza Minnelli Present Best Picture
One of the more touching moments during the 94th Academy Awards came in the final moments of the show when Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli presented for Best Picture. Minnelli, confined to a wheelchair and having trouble reading her lines, was assisted by the singer-turned-actress in a way that felt like a daughter with a mother and never came off as being disingenuous or pandering throughout the brief segment.
There was one moment in particular, just before the nominees were read, where Lady Gaga leaned over to the Oscar winner and whispered “I got you” to one of her idols. There is no denying this as being one of those emotional moments we’ll be talking about for years to come and it showed the true character of Lady Gaga.
Zack Snyder Movies Win ‘Fan’ Awards
In addition to all the traditional awards handed out at the 2022 Oscars, the ceremony also featured new “Fan” awards decided by Twitter users, which included “Fan Favorite” and “Cheer-Worthy Moment” online polls. In what can best be described as a concerted effort from Zach Snyder fans, two of the filmmaker’s latest efforts — ARMY OF THE DEAD and ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE — took home two awards beating out some rather stiff competition.
Early in the night, a video package ran across the screen for the Most Cheer-Worthy Moment, which included iconic scenes from THE MATRIX, DREAMGIRLS, AVENGERS: ENDGAME, SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME, and ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE. And as great as it was finally seeing The Flash enter Speed Force in the 2022 director’s cut, it was shocking to see that moment beat out the three Spider-Men teaming up and the Avengers assembling to beat Thanos.
Later on in the night, ARMY OF THE DEAD beat out CINDERELLA, MINAMATA, SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME, and TICK, TICK… BOOM! to be named the first Fan-Favorite Movie category.
The Pulp Fiction Reunion
The 2022 Academy Awards ceremony also featured a number of reunions for movies celebrating big anniversaries, including WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP, JUNO, THE GODFATHER, and PULP FICTION, with each featuring various cast members of the directors who made the movies into some of the most iconic cinematic experiences of all time. And while each of these moments were great in their own way, the reunion for Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 classic was just a step above the rest.
There was just something special about seeing John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman taking to the stage to talk about the movie and its legacy while providing callbacks to its biggest moments that felt so great. The recreations of the legendary briefcase and dancing scenes were the chef’s kiss for a perfect reunion.
Only time will tell what kind of legacy the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony will have, but with reunions, monumental wins, and a sprinkling of controversy, it’s safe to say it was an awards show we’ll be talking about for a very long time.