Does it seem like that the 94th Academy Awards will be remembered in any other way than the incident that occurred between Will Smith and Chris Rock and the emotional aftereffects? There's no need for to relive the moment that you were watching numerous times, and then viewed the various clips on Twitter to determine if it was actually happening (it did) and precisely what Smith stated when he got back down. ("Keep your wife's name from your mouth" twice, in the delight of our ears.)
However, to perform my due diligence and, frankly to remind myself that it actually happened and is something that I'm now writing about in a post-review of an awards ceremony. The story goes like this at the Oscars, Chris Rock made jokes about Jada Pinkett's hair being shaved as well as the husband of Jada Pinkett Will Smith walked to the stage and hit him on the face.
In spite of Sean Combs' noble attempts to get the mood back on track just moments later when he introduced an episode celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film the film Godfather--"Will and Chris will resolve that as a friends at The Gold Party"--and the show-must-go-on-pluck in the midst of the show the audience was unable to shake off the anger and the lingering sourness of the shocking incident. Smith would win Best Actor for his performance as Richard Williams in King Richard and then address the incident directly with tears in his eyes when he apologized to the Academy as well as his fellow nominated actors (but in no way to the person who he had just slapped) as well as congratulated his collaborators in The Godfather, as well as spoke openly about his thoughts: "I wanna be a vessel of love," Smith declared.
The possibility that the slap may be the most memorable thing at the 94th Oscars is unfortunate and not just due to the insanity of the event however, but also because of the instances it may take over. In contrast to expectations for a significant portion of the time they ran the 94th Academy Awards were lively, often hilarious, and frequently moving. This isn't what most expected.
The ceremony last year was awash with the Oscars with the lowest-ever audience--9.85 millions viewers across the U.S., down from 23.6 million last year and well under the more than 40 million viewers that the show was expected to draw in the 1990s, there's an air of despair or even a crisis in the entire process. Like most awards shows similar to it, ratings were declining for some time, but now with slates of un-heard nominees as well as the impact of streaming on the industry and a pandemic that was spreading across the globe that reshaped the game of theatre and was beginning to believe that--to take inspiration from the biggest prize at the top-rated ceremony in history, the iceberg of depreciation was not just a few years away but was right there.
When ships begin sinking, crews begin to be scared, and the pre-show announcements from Academy HQ suggested this year's producers, Will Packer and Shayla Cowan, are willing to offer any suggestion to stay in the water. Ideas like two brand new awards for the audience that include The Oscar Fan Favorite and Oscar Cheer Moment which are voted on by the general public on Twitter and on the Academy's site as a tactic to make money off the success of Spider-Man"No Way Home and bring in "the youths." And suggestions like inviting the decidedly non-super-filmy stars that of Kelly Slater and DJ Khaled to be on the show since... obviously.
However, from beginning when the event began it was obvious Packer and Cowan had some great ideastoo, including opening with a the Beyonce song and that's always an excellent idea. The best thing they could have done, however could have been their choice of host. After two years of no host, we were presented with three of them: Regina Hall, Amy Schumer along with Wanda Sykes. "This year, the Academy hired three women to host because it's cheaper than hiring one man," said Amy Schumer during her introduction monologue (triologue?) with a roughly equal amount of successes ("I saw that film three times, and I'm nearly halfway through," Sykes said of The Power Of The Dog) and missed. It felt comfortable similar to those Oscar openings of the past.
They regrouped throughout the evening for a variety of scenes which included a quick and inspiring stroll through the crowd, handing some consolation prizes to the losers as well as getting their the chance to shine as a solo. Hall's hilarious summoning of a few of the most sought-after men in the room to perform an unintentional COVID check in the back of the room could have been something that was thrown away, or unintentionally sour in the hands of less competent people. And Schumer was delightfully barbed, skirting Gervais-at-the-Globes territory as she scolded Aaron Sorkin for "the innovation to make a movie about Lucille Ball without even a moment that's funny." (Kudos to Schumer too, for a deft tension-breaker in the wake of the Smith-Rock fracas.)
In the spirit of comforts from Oscars in the past The clips were returned. Following last year's bizarre decision not to show clips of the films nominated and performances across a range of categories, the audience was given plenty of footage, hopefully enough to convince them to take the time to watch the films. Packer and Cowan produced a variety of interesting production decisions which included reuniting various filmmakers and actors to commemorate the major anniversary of several--Rosie Perez Woody Harrelson, and Wesley Snipes for White Men Can't Jump's birthday was the most intriguing and also the most memorable.
What you think of the world's first live performance of the world-changing Encanto popular earworm "We Don't Talk About Bruno" will be largely based on the degree of an "Bruno" purist you are. I was awed by the inclusion to the cast of Megan Thee Stallion, Luis Fonsi along with Becky G to the original cast This is not the opinion of the Twitter's (very lively) Encanto hive.
Did it work? To take a cue from the previously mentioned popular earworm: no absolutely not. The presenters who left us asking WTF during the build-up to the Oscars continued to make us wonder WTF after the show was over and completed. Kelly Slater, Shaun White Shaun White, and Tony Hawk shared some terrible banter before they introduced clips that pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of James Bond, because "champions!" Meanwhile, DJ Khaled left the stage in the beginning of the program when the three hosts were introduced in the manner I'd have thought he was just a man running onto the stage in the event that his name wasn't on an official listing of the presenters.
In the same way, the popularly-voted awards were as successful as you'd hoped. The enthralled online fan base--particularly Zack Snyder's producing such embarrassing results that the producers were able to bury the awards in two short packets that didn't provide any explanation of the reasons behind them or how they were put together and the prizes they were awarded in the end, if they received anything at all. (For the information Snyder's Netflix zombie heist film, Army Of The Dead was awarded Fan Favorite Movie and something that involved The Flash in the 2021 version of the director's cut of Justice League won "Cheer Moment." We must never repeat this again and please.)
What was the reasoning behind that controversial decision to remove eight categories from on-air broadcasts and to incorporate them into edited versions? In certain categories, such as Best Documentary Short, the producers gave a brief rundown of the nominees, as well as an edited speech that was recorded from earlier. In other categories that were pre-recorded nominated films were read by presenters at the live ceremony. This was the case for Best Sound, which was announced by Dune co-stars Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin--after an uninvolved full-body COVID check from Hall. In all instances it felt sluggish and a bit odd, and was wasn't worth the time and effort that were spared.
If there's any chance that this year's ceremony will be remembered beyond the slap, we'll hope it's because of some of the most dramatic remarks (by Troy Kotsur, Ariana DeBose as well as Jessica Chastain), the spectacle of a room full of the biggest stars in the world who stood up and silently applauding Best Picture winner CODA team CODA as well as the fact that despite the odds, and under enormous pressure, this year's Oscar producers demonstrated that the Oscars can be an enjoyable experience on the big screen and an effective method of honoring the film.
The memorable moments include the final moments of the evening and were the most peaceful, when Lady Gaga appeared with Liza Minelli to announce the Best Picture. in a wheelchair and sometimes struggling to follow the script Liza was a bit frailer than most recall her, and perhaps never thought she would be however, she showed the sparks of Liza with the Z spirit. In one instance, Gaga lent down and declared, "I've got you," and we could hear Liza saying, "I know." It was an old Hollywood and modern Hollywood affection and love with a star's power on high and a moment hopes that no shadow will obscure.
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