The 2022 Oscars were back to being a glamourous spectacle after a 2021 ceremony that was decidedly toned down due to the ongoing pandemic.
The telecast took place once more at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre and was opened by Venus and Serena Williams introducing Beyoncé who performed her Oscar-nominated song ‘Be Alive’ from King Richard. The dazzling performance took place at the Compton tennis courts where the Williams sisters used to practice under the watchful eyes of their father.
Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes then took the stage to commence their hosting duties with Schumer quipping that the Academy had hired three women to host the ceremony because it was cheaper than hiring one man.
Ahead, we take a look at the biggest moments from the 94th Academy Awards.
Ariana DeBose Becomes the First Openly Queer Person of Colour to Win
During her acceptance speech, DeBose thanked Rita Moreno, who originally played the role of Anita in the beloved musical film. The actress also noted the significance of an “openly Queer, woman of colour” being honoured at the awards ceremony — DeBose is the first such person to achieve the accolade.
“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes,” she said. “You see an openly queer woman of colour, an Afro-Latina, who found her strength in life through art. And that is, I think, what we’re here to celebrate.
“To anyone who has ever questioned your identity or lived in the grey spaces, there is, indeed, a place for us.”
Troy Kotsur Makes History as the Second Deaf Performer (and First Deaf Man) to Win
Kotsur beat out fellow nominees Ciarán Hinds (Belfast), Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog), J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog).
The actor made history with his nomination and win, becoming the first deaf man nominated and the second deaf actor to win an Academy Award. He is the only deaf male to win an Oscar, with his CODA costar Marlee Matlin becoming the first Deaf actor ever to win an Oscar back in 1987, receiving the best actress award for Children of a Lesser God.
Kotsur was nominated for his performance in CODA as Frank Rossi, a deaf man who is navigating challenges to his Massachusetts fishing business as his hearing daughter, Ruby (Emilia Jones), who acts as the family’s interpreter, mulls a move to college.
The Oscar winner dedicated his award to the deaf and disabled community.
Will Smith Punches Chris Rock
Will Smith took deep offence at Chris Rock’s jokes about Jada Pinkett Smith, screaming at the comedian from the audience to “keep my wife’s name out your f**king mouth.”
Rock had joked that Pinkett-Smith had been in G.I. Jane because of her bald head, despite the fact the actress has spoken publicly about having a hair loss condition. Will Smith ran on stage and punched Rock in response.
Of course, Twitter immediately blew up.
— Bashful Michael (@bashful_michael) March 28, 2022
Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith being in "G.I. Jane" because of her bald head. She's spoken openly about having a hair loss condition. Will Smith ran on stage, slapped Rock, then screamed twice at the top of his lungs "KEEP MY WIFE'S NAME OUT OF YOUR F-NG MOUTH."
— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) March 28, 2022
— BLACK LIVES MATTER (@willowhalliwell) March 28, 2022
— LORRAKON (@LORRAKON) March 28, 2022
Will Smith Wins Best Actor After Slapping Chris Rock
The win came after Smith had run on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock, who was presenting the award for Best Documentary Feature after he made jokes about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith’s, shaved head.
Taking to the stage to accept his honour, a visibly emotional Smith spoke about his call to protect the people he loves, just as Richard Williams had been. The actor also apologised to the Academy and said he hoped he would be invited back.
Smith is only the fifth Black man to win the coveted Best Actor award. The late Sidney Poitier became the first winner in the category for Lilies of the Field in 1963. Denzel Washington won in 2002 for Training Day. Jamie Foxx won for Ray in 2004 and Forest Whitaker won for The Last King of Scotland in (2006).
The Best Director Category Was Won By a Woman for the Second Year in a Row
The Kiwi filmmaker was the first female director to be nominated twice in the directing category and only the third woman to ever win.
In 2021, the Best Director trophy also went to a woman — Chloé Zhao, who made history at the 93rd Academy Awards, becoming the first woman of colour to win the best director prize. Zhao picked up the nod for her incredible film Nomadland which swept the awards — including a win for Best Picture.
Prior to that, only Kathryn Bigelow held the honour of being a female Best Director winner, taking out the prize in 2009 for her film The Hurt Locker.
You can check out all our Oscars coverage here.