The 2022 Oscars Recap


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dahae Kim, Staff Writer


During one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, millions gathered around their TVs, eager to watch some of the greatest actors, directors, and other extraordinary talents in the entertainment industry being awarded for their work. Held at the renowned Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, this year’s Oscars will live down in history for its groundbreaking wins – as well as the shocking confrontation between two superstars that upended Hollywood’s biggest night.  


Ten films competed to take home the coveted title of Best Picture: Belfast, Coda, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Dune, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, The Power of the Dog, and West Side Story. Though all are incredible watches, the award ultimately went to Coda. Starring Emilia Jones and Eugenio Derbez, Coda follows Ruby, the only hearing member of her deaf family. While struggling to keep her family’s business afloat, she joins her school’s chorus club, finding herself falling for her duet partner and discovering her passion for singing. 


Dune and The Power of the Dog were strong contenders for Best Picture, the latter being the most nominated film of the year, with a whopping twelve. Despite its many nominations, The Power of the Dog won only one award in Directing, which went to Jane Campion. As for Dune, with its ten nominations, it took home various accolades for Sound, Music (Original Score), Film Editing, Production Design, Cinematography, and Visual Effects. 


For the title of International Feature Film, the award went to Drive My Car (Japan), against Flee (Denmark), The Hand of God (Italy), Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan), and The Worst Person in the World (Norway). A three-hour drama about grief and art, Drive My Car is about Yusuke Kafuku, a director, who struggles with the loss of his wife Oto. He eventually finds comfort in an unexpected source: his chauffeur. 


Bong Joon Ho, famed South Korean director of the 2019 film Parasite, the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture, has shared his support of the Drive My Car director Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Bong, who had long been a fan, commended Hamaguchi’s directing style and the film. 


Hamaguchi returned the praise, commenting, “Parasite pushed open that very heavy door that had remained closed. Without Parasite and its wins, I don’t think our film would have been received well in this way.”


Other notable winners of the 94th Academy Awards go to The Queen of Basketball for Documentary (Short Subject), The Windshield Wiper for Short Film (Animated), The Eyes of Tammy Faye for Makeup and Hairstyling, and Cruella for Costume Design. Kenneth Branagh (Belfast) was the winner of Writing (Original Screenplay). Nominated for eight Oscars during his legendary career spanning over 40 years, this was his first win and what many thought was incredibly overdue. 


Ariana Debose won in the category of Actress in a Supporting Role for her role as Anita in West Side Story. For the male counterpart, Actor in a Supporting Role, the honor went to Troy Kotsur, who played Frank Rossi in Coda. This was a groundbreaking win for both of them, who represent overlooked communities. The first deaf male to win an Oscar for acting, Kotsur signed in his speech: “This is dedicated to the Deaf community, the CODA community, and the disabled community. This is our moment.” Debose, the first openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar for acting, became emotional during her own speech, saying, “To anybody who has ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: there is indeed a place for us.”


The award for Actress in a Leading Role went to Jessica Chastain for her portrayal of Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which recounts her character’s rise and fall of her television career and marriage to Jim Bakker. This is Chastain’s third round at the Oscars. First nominated in 2012 for her supporting role in The Help, and in the following year for best actress in Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain is finally bringing home the gold, and rightfully so! 


Will Smith won the honor of Actor in a Leading Role for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard, the story of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams and their family. However, his victory is not what will be remembered – but rather his punching comedian Chris Rock on live television just moments before his win. 


Chris Rock, who had been poking fun at Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, commented on her shaved head, comparing her appearance to that of Demi Moore in G.I. Jane. Jada, who had recently opened up about her hair loss condition, alopecia, was visibly unamused. Mere seconds later, Will walked onstage and slapped him in front of the audience and the millions watching from their homes, yelling, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f–ing mouth!”


Following the disastrous altercation, Smith apologized in his winning speech… to everyone besides Chris Rock. However, in a later Instagram post, Smith said, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris.”


In addition to his apology, Smith has officially resigned from the Academy. By choosing to leave the exclusive organization, he can no longer vote on Oscar-nominated films and performances each year. Following this resignation, the Academy instituted a ten-year ban on Smith from attending the Oscars gala and other Academy events.  


This year’s Oscars can only be summed up in one word: momentous. We have shared in the celebrations of talented films, actors, and directors. We have seen the performance and hard work of many be well rewarded. But we have also seen the uglier side of celebrities and the repercussions of their actions. The 94th Oscars is surely one that will not be forgotten.