The 94th Academy Awards was promoted as the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the motion picture industry’s highest honor with the three women hosts Amy Schumer, Regina Hall, and Wanda Sykes to add to the heightened inclusivity. Much like a great film, there were high and low moments that have many buzzing the morning afterward. The event kicked off with Beyonce herself gracing the crowd with a performance of her song “Be Alive” from the nominated film King Richard featuring Will Smith (who’d win Best Actor) about the father of the iconic tennis duo of Venus and Serena Williams. The sisters introduced the superstar singer, who performed part of the song at the same tennis courts in Compton, California where they started out. Beyonce joined in with her singers and the orchestra with outfits the same green color as tennis balls.
Another wonderful moment of the evening came as Ariana DeBose won Best Supporting Actress in A Motion Picture for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story. Accepting the honor in a vibrant red dress, Dubose spoke of the history of the moment as Rita Moreno, who won that same award for the same role in 1962 looked on with pride. DeBose’s speech had many riveted, particularly in her inspiring message as the first openly queer woman of color who has won: “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.”
If that moment wasn’t powerful enough, Troy Kotsur’s win for Best Supporting Actor delivered one of the more heartwarming scenes in Oscars history as Yuh-Jung Youn, the Supporting Actress winner last year for her role in Minari told Kotsur and the audience that he won in sign language. The CODA actor then delivered a speech so moving (which included a tribute to his father who lost his ability to sign after an accident) that even his translator was overcome with emotion. It would set the scene for the film taking home Best Picture later on.
And of course, The Roots drummer Questlove having won the Best Documentary Award for his titular film Summer Of Soul which chronicled the long-lost Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969 was a victory for the culture. The musician was overcome with emotion during his acceptance speech:
But there were some drawbacks to these Oscars, despite the organizers’ vows of change. The most notable lowlight? That slap, certainly. But there’s also the fact that the Academy chose to move eight categories – production design, score, editing, makeup and hairstyling, and sound along with Best Short Film – to another small ceremony before the live broadcast took place to save time. It didn’t help as it still clocked in at three hours and 40 minutes long. Also, even though the live performance of the hit song from Disney’s Encanto had a surprise rap from Megan Thee Stallion, having it on after 10 P.M. when folks might’ve turned away might’ve been costly.
From Tears to Pride To Slaps: The Best & Worst Moments From the 2022 Oscars was originally published on hiphopwired.com