Recapping the 2022 Oscars

While the 2021 season was the longest awards season, at least in recent memory, the 2022 season definitely felt like the longest awards season in some time. Back and forth, up and down, the season would go from predictable to unpredictable and right back.

After sitting with it for a day, this probably was one of the worst Oscar shows I have witnessed in my lifetime. No, not because of the Will Smith and Chris Rock deboccal, but because the show itself was, for the most part, extremely off-putting.

First off, the decision to remove 8 categories from the live broadcast was bad enough, but the handling of it wound up to be even worse. As everyone predicted, there was no difference between the awards being announced before the show, and the edited in footage of the awards live. The idea behind this was to save time, which managed to backfire as the show went 40 minutes over its 3 hour mark. We were also told that everyone would be finding out about the winners at the same time during the live show, but even the official Academy twitter was tweeting the winners during the pre-show awards. This disrespectful move was made even worse when the speeches and transcripts were edited, and some people were not even shown speaking.

To add on to this, the 3 hosts really didn’t do all that much. We were told that each host would have an hour to themselves to do their jokes, skits, etc. but that didn’t happen either. The costume mix-up and parts of the opening monologue were fine, but many of the “jokes” that were made were in jest of 2021’s film, nominated or not, and the celebrating of the year’s movies were put to the side. We had some of the best overall winners across the board that we have gotten in some time; a truly diverse and deserving group were honored. But, it hardly ever felt like honoring. On a night that *should have* been about uplifting a wonderful year for film, quickly turned into a Comedy Central roast with some extremely uncomfortable moments – I didn’t even mention the strange In Memoriam segment. I hope The Academy learns from this, and can put the celebrating back in the celebration.

However, no matter how hard it seemed like they tried, no one could take away some of these beautiful speeches and moments. Here were my thoughts of the big 8 awards, and some of the below-the-line categories as well.

Best Picture

Winner: CODA

We now know that CODA is our Best Picture winner. Two weeks ago, I would have never expected this to happen, but here we are and, honestly, I’m not upset. Would I have been upset if The Power of the Dog had won over CODA, not at all as I think both films were well made, told, and are genuinely just very good. CODA came out on top, and a lot of that can be thanks to the light-hearted nature of the film. CODA was a movie that just made you feel good, and not in any sort of manipulative sort of way. It displayed a way of life that is hardly seen by the masses and didn’t pander to the disability, but examined the human. It told a story of family, dreams, and of learning to work with one another so that you can find that happiness in the end. Is it one of the best winners ever, probably not, but neither film was going to be. It is a movie that asks its audience to treat everyone you meet as people first, and I cannot think of a better message for today and the last 6 years.

Best Director

Winner: Jane Campion, THE POWER OF THE DOG

I remember when I first watched The Power of the Dog, and while I initially wasn’t enamored with the film, I was with the direction. Campion directed the HELL out of this movie and made it as palpable as she could. This film was directed with an immense amount of craftsmanship, and the choices Campion made throughout were able to keep the audience engaged and entertained. This one was never in question, but it is a fantastic win.

Best Actress

Winner: Jessica Chastain, THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE

I have to toot my own horn here and say that this past Fall I was able to meet Jessica in person at an event, and I am so proud that this purely joyful and bright person finally got her due. There was always one constant about The Eyes of Tammy Faye from anyone who talked about it, and that’s that it was Jessica’s world and we were living in it. She completely gave herself to the role of Tammy Faye in a beautiful and powerful way, and it is so wonderful to see a person win for something they are so passionate about.

Best Actor

Winner: Will Smith, KING RICHARD

I’m not going to touch on what happened between Chris Rock and Will Smith, because that isn’t what this is for. This is celebrating Will’s performance in King Richard and not a lapse of judgment by the actor. This was always Will Smith’s award, and honestly, good for him. It seemed like he was always searching for THAT role to take him from TV/Action star to Oscar winner. Andrew Garfield may have given one of the best performances I probably have ever seen, but I know that Garfield will have his time. Smith has consistently been a face in Hollywood since the 90s, and his time in the spotlight was coming.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Ariana DeBose, WEST SIDE STORY

I don’t want to hear anyone dwindle this win down to just being a performance that won before. If anything, Rita Moreno’s win back in the 1960s should have made it harder for DeBose to win. The narrative could have been: “This performance has won, award someone else,” but never was. From the moment West Side Story first screened it was said that DeBose could, and should, win the Oscar. Well, she did it, and it was incredibly deserved.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Troy Kotsur, CODA

OSCAR-WINNER TROY KOTSUR! I had been screaming this for almost a year now, and it finally happened! No matter how anyone felt about the film as a whole this year, it was hard to not root for Kotsur this season. A pure beam of light anywhere he went, Kotsur would be the biggest fanboy on the red carpet and the most professional person in the room on the stage. This moment was never too big for him and it proved all season. I could not be happier for Troy, and I think this might be one of my favorite Supporting Actor winners, ever. His speech was everything, and Youn’s reaction before reading his name warms my heart immensely. I don’t think an Oscars speech has ever moved me to tears in the way that this one did, and will continue to do.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner: CODA

One thing you can’t call CODA is ineffective, and Sian Heder’s adaptation of La Famile Belier was able to show real people in a real world. While there wasn’t a third act twist or some deeper meaning you find out at the end of the movie, there was a genuine amount of love and care put into this film, and Heder, and the cast’s, ability to bring ASL to life in such a strong way should be praised.

Best Original Screenplay

Winner: BELFAST

I think this award was Kenneth Branagh vs. Paul Thomas Anderson, and Branagh prevailed in the end. Which you know what, good. I love Licorice Pizza, and I really love the script from it, but Branagh was overdue as well and this is something personal to him. While I didn’t love Belfast as a whole, I thought the screenplay was at least meaningful and was happy for Nicole, I mean Kenneth Branagh, to finally get their win.

Other Thoughts

DUNE wins 6 Oscars without a Director nomination

Everyone always knew Dune was a technical masterpiece, but not picking up a director nomination made me weary if it was going to actually bring in a fair amount of Oscars. I thought if there was any chance for “surprises” it would be with some of the Dune categories, and the spice running sand worms prevailed in the end as Dune led the night with 6 wins.

No real surprises

As long as I have been watching and covering the Oscars – which hasn’t been long – this feels like one of the most predictable nights I’ve seen. The only reason I didn’t do better in my own predictions – my best was 19/23 – was that I thought there would be surprises somewhere. However, I will say, even if the show was “vanilla,” the winners were not; each winner this year, in my opinion, deserved their win.

At 20 and 24 respectively, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell are halfway to an EGOT

What a brother/sister duo this is. Billie Eilish and brother Finneas O’Connell have worked together for years making some of the best pop tracks and albums of the decade. They have already won countless Grammy’s – looking to win more this Sunday April 3 – and now they each have an Oscar under their belt. The youngest person to ever EGOT is songwriter Robert Lopez who was 39 years and 8 days old when he completed his EGOT. This means that Eilish and O’Connell each have close to 20 years to win both an Emmy and a Tony; a feat I think they can pull off.

Lin-Manuel Miranda misses his PEGOT once again

It’s inevitable that this is going to happen, and after such a strong 2021 both in front and behind the camera, it will hopefully happen soon. Miranda’s next work is going to be to create the music for the Rob Marshall directed and Halle Bailey led The Little Mermaid adaptation from Disney. Something tells me he could see another Oscar nomination very soon.

Jacob is a Graduate of Western Kentucky University where he earned a History/Film Studies Degree. He is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is also a member of the North American Film Critics Association and the Music City Film Critics’ Association. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.

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