The 2022 Oscars are officially behind us and there is a whole lot to unpack. And not just because of the moment now dubbed “the slap heard around the world.” The telecast was extremely long, at times uncomfortable, and largely fell short in its attempt to revitalize the award show.
There were some moments of beauty. Ariana DeBose won best supporting actress for West Side Story with her Anita predecessor, Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for the same role 60 years ago, cheered her on. DeBose, the first queer woman of color to win an acting award, delivered a moving speech about celebrating one’s identity. And Troy Kotsur, who snagged best supporting actor, making him the second Deaf actor to ever win an Oscar. (His CODA co-star Marlee Matlin is the first.) His own speech paid tribute to the deaf theater community and his father, leaving the audience—and his interpreter–visibly moved.
CODA swept the show, winning all three of the Oscars the film was nominated for, including best adapted screenplay for Siân Heder and the night’s top award, best picture. Plus, one of the busiest men in show business, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, scooped up best documentary feature for Summer of Soul, his masterful examination of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival.
But for the handful of genuinely wonderful moments, much of the ceremony steeped in the awkwardness stemming from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC’s befuddling telecast decisions. Weeks ago, the Academy announced eight categories would be cut from the broadcast, and instead handed out during a pre-show ceremony. After a whole lot of outcry, the Academy later confirmed it was an ABC decision. The eight awards cut included the trio of shorts, original score, and other technical categories. The pre-show wasn’t televised—or even streaming—but moments of the pre-show acceptance speeches were later edited into the broadcast.
Dune, which walked away with the most Oscars with six, snagged four of its awards during the pre-show ceremony. But this was all to make room for the actual show antics. A few minutes with Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater, and Shaun White hyping 60 years of James Bond. A very much hyped performance of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” with the cast of Encanto that quickly deviated into a celebration of the Oscars with Megan Thee Stallion, Becky G, and Luis Fonsi. Do I want a “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” remix with Meg now? Yes, absolutely. But they announced this extra Encanto performance before Oscar voting was over for this shake-up? And the “In Memoriam” segment was certainly well-intentioned but its shaky execution left the whole thing feeling extremely tired.
In trying to pander to an audience who, quite frankly, will not tune in, ABC and the Academy lost sight of who their actual audience is. Sure, the movie stars bring their big names and giant Instagram followings to the show, but the Academy pretends it honors the filmmaking craft as a whole. And this year, the telecast was clearly not interested in anyone who wasn’t an A-lister. (A frustrating move considering the shorts consistently deliver some of the most memorable and moving speeches.) Let the Oscars be long and celebrate all that is cinema. It should be four hours of Nicole Kidman’s AMC ad.
I will say, having Beyoncé open the show is always an excellent call, And Regina Hall is extremely funny and she should host every year. Plus, while Lady Gaga and her Italian accent didn’t pick up a best actress nomination, she and Liza Minnelli delivered a beautiful Oscars finale in their presenting CODA with best picture.
Here’s the full list of winners from the 94th Academy Awards:
Actress in a Supporting Role
Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Hans Zimmer, Dune
CODA (Screenplay by Siân Heder)
Belfast (Written by Kenneth Branagh)
Live Action Short Film
The Long Goodbye
Animated Short Film
The Windshield Wiper
Actor in a Supporting Role
Troy Kotsur, CODA
Makeup and Hairstyling
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Animated Feature Film
“No Time To Die” from No Time to Die ( Music and Lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell)
Documentary Short Subject
The Queen of Basketball
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Dune (Greig Fraser)
International Feature Film
Drive My Car
Actor in a Leading Role
Will Smith, King Richard
Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Editor’s Note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.