The 94th Academy Awards welcomes back a star-studded red carpet and revised broadcasts to challenge this successful year for the Oscars.
On a Sunday night filled with historic moments—including in the best picture categories, as well as best supporting actor and actress—there was also an extraordinary exchange between Will Smith and Chris Rock that shook otherwise spirits.
The Oscars have been battling downgrades and constant criticism over which films make the best picture.
Last month, organizers announced the television show’s Los Angeles section would cut eight of the 23 awards, for best documentary short, film editing, hair and makeup, original score, production design, animation short, live action and sound.
The award is given one hour before the television show at 8 p.m. ET, and the speech will be edited for a three-hour broadcast.
Co-hosts Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall welcome Oscar back to the Dolby Theatre, appearing on stage after brief introductions from tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, the subject of the Oscar-nominated film King Richard featuring Smith, who ultimately took home the best actor Oscar, and some music from Beyoncé.
Early winners on Sunday during the television section included Ariana DeBose, as best supporting actress, in the romantic musical west side story.
“There’s a place for us,” said DeBose.
Troy Kotsur made history by becoming the first deaf person to win an acting Oscar, as best supporting actor for CODAa comedy drama about a teenage girl who lives her life as the only member of a deaf family who can hear.
Kotsur is now the second deaf actor to win an Academy Award. Hers CODA co-star Marlee Matlin won best actress for Children of Lesser Gods in 1987.
“I really want to thank all the amazing stage theater deaf where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my skills as an actor,” he said.
CODA, for its part, being the first film to take home a top Hollywood award released by a streaming service. Apple TV+ scored its first Academy Award for best film less than three years after its release.
Sunday’s shocking turn of events came when presenter Chris Rock was confronted by Will Smith after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Smith went on to win an Oscar and gave a long, tearful speech, joking that he wished the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would still invite him back to the award.
After Schumer took her turn as host, highlighting the previous confrontation involving Smith and Rock, Jessica Chastain was named best actress, for Tammy Faye’s eyeshis first win in three nominations.
Canadian director Dune wins big
In the pre-television award segment, Halifax director Ben Proudfoot won for best short documentary queen of Basketball, a 22-minute film centered on Lucy Harris, the only woman recruited by the NBA and the first black woman to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Another Canadian image was also praised. Science fiction favorite sand dunes, by French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve, winning six awards, including for best sound, best original score, best film editing and best production design.
Netflix Movies That Dog Power and sand dunes leads this year’s nominations with 12 and 10, respectively.
Best director award goes to Jane Campion, for an unconventional Western film Dog Powerthe first time the award was given to a woman in consecutive years, with Chloe Zhao winning last year for Nomadland.
Here’s a televised list of the main winners and more:
Best actress in the main role
jessica chastain, Tammy Faye’s eyes.
Best actor in lead role
Will Smith, King Richard.
Jane Campion, The Power of Dogs.
Best original song
Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, No Time To Die.
Summer of Soul (Or, When Revolution Can’t Be Aired on Television).
Best adaptation scenario
Best original screenplay
Best costume design
Best international feature films
Drive My Car.
Best supporting actor
Troy Kotsur, CODA.
Best animation features
Best special effects
Best original score
Best movie editing
Best production design
Best make-up and hairdo
Tammy Faye’s eyes.
Short film (live action)
Best short (Animation)
Documentary (short course)
Queen of Basketball.
Best supporting artist
Ariana De Bose, West side story.
“Coffee aficionado nerd. Troublemaker. General communicator. Gamer. Analyst. Creator. Total brew ninja.”