The Will Smith and Chris Rock debacle dominated all of our social media feeds the morning after the 94th Academy Awards. Memes, songs, and tattoos are just a few examples of how the incident has been embodied. However, regardless of whether the slap was justified or not, the Oscars of 2022 had more to offer than some soap opera drama on the evening of March 28.
Ireland had one proud moment at the awards as Kenneth Branagh picked up his first ever Oscar for Belfast in the Best Original Screenplay category. Although the film leaves a lot to be desired (in my opinion), it was the most obvious choice in that category.
Zendaya fans will be glad to hear that Dune was awarded the most Oscars of the evening with six wins, including Best Original Score and Best Cinematography.
CODA took home Best Picture along with the other two awards for which it was nominated. It breaks two records for the Oscars with it being the first win for a film distributed by a streaming service (Apple TV+) as well as the first winning film with a predominately deaf cast.
Drive My Car won the Best International Feature Film award to no one’s surprise, although it is a shame it couldn’t replicate Parasite’s success in the Best Picture category.
Controversially, Will Smith won Best Actor for his performance as Richard Williams in King Richard. In the days after the ceremony, it has come into question whether the Academy will strip Smith of his award. Smith has also resigned from the Academy meaning he will no longer receive the privileges that members do. The Academy has accepted his resignation while also stating that they plan to “continue to move forward” with “disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct.”
It is unlikely that Will Smith will lose his Oscar. The only time the Academy has ever retracted an Oscar was from the documentary the Young Americans in 1969 after it was discovered it was released too early to be considered for the 1969 Oscars. It is also of note that both Roman Polanski and Harvey Weinstein retain their Oscars despite their expulsion from the Academy due to their respective convictions for sexual assault. Therefore, I feel it is unlikely that Smith will lose his Oscar unless the Academy decides to revoke Oscars from several other previous Academy members.
Taking all the drama aside, it was a relatively mundane Oscars with no standout films for the selection. Covid-19 made a serious impact on the film industry with delays hitting sets across the world and the limited selection at the Oscars this year is possibly a result of that. However, perhaps it may be time for the Oscars to rethink the type of movies that are “Oscar” worthy. The problems of racism and misogyny still permeate in the Academy and this Oscars, for me, just proves that point with only one international film nominated for best picture and no female directors nominated. Perhaps the Oscars should focus more on its film selection than G.I Jane jokes.