The 94th annual Oscars premiered Mar. 27th, 2022 generating a lot of buzz throughout the media. Drama ensued, huge names were tossed around, and records were broken. Legendary stars such as Will Smith and Denzel Washington established new historical records.
Although Denzel Washington did not win an Oscar, his performance in The Tragedy of Macbeth (2021) extends his record as the most nominated black actor of all time. He has now been recognized ten times overall by the Academy Awards.
Troy Kotsur, a star from CODA, became the first deaf man and second deaf actor to win an Oscar. The actress, Youn Yuh-jung, presented Kotsur his award by signing his name in American Sign Language.
“This is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA community, and the disabled community,” said Kotsur at the Academy Awards. “This is our moment!”
Numerous communties were represented in this year’s award ceremony including queer individuals and women of color.African American actress Ariana DeBose became the first openly queer actor of color and Afro-Latina actress to win an Oscar. She won the Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role as Anita in West Side Story.
“Imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford Focus. Look into her eyes,” she said as she ended her acceptance speech. “You see a queer—openly queer—woman of color and Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art, and that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate. So, 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.”
Will Smith became the ninth person to be a double nominee as he was recognized for producing and acting in the same film. In addition to earning a nomination for lead actor for King Richard (2021), Smith also shares the film’s best picture nomination with producers Tim White and Trevor White.
The Oscars reached a massive audience this year and successfully recognized numerous minority groups. Despite Will Smith’s inappropriate actions documented on national television, the virality and memes that resulted from the incident involving Chris Rock certainly attracted a larger and more powerful audience. Buzz for next year is already beginning.