The 2022 Oscars: Oh, What A Night!
Iconic Moments, Red Carpet Looks, & The Slap!
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On Sunday, March 27, 2022, my Oscars-obsessed heart experienced a wide range of emotions during what is now the most infamous televised awards ceremony of all time.
I clapped with enthusiasm over several red carpet looks and briefly considered calling 911 when one particular celeb bared some skin (we’ll get to that soon). Other emotions that swept over me were panic when one star was an apparent no-show and joy over several Oscar wins. But none of those feelings matched the utter discombobulation I experienced when Will Smith presented The Slap.
I want to focus on other evening highlights, and I will, but I can’t write a newsletter about the 2022 Oscars without addressing the Will Smith crisis.
Best Actor nominee and shoo-in Will Smith completely broke character, slapped comedian Chris Rock across the face, and yelled verbal obscenities at him in response to a joke the comedian made about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
And the show went on.
If you missed it, here are the details.
Will Smith went on to win Best Actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams, the dynamic father of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams.
Yesterday, my phone blew up; everyone wanted to hear my thoughts about Will Smith’s behavior. People asked me why he did it, what the Academy should have done during the broadcast, and what should be done about it now.
I shared some of my thoughts but clarified that I was still processing everything. I explained that, as far as I know, my social location does not overlap with Will Smith’s in any way, and I wanted to provide a thoughtful response.
As a social worker of twenty years, I have experience making sense of why people behave the way they do. So, here are some of my thoughts with that perspective in mind.
In November 2021, Oprah told me that Will Smith’s autobiography, Will, was the best autobiography she had ever read. Maybe she didn’t personally tell me that, but she did recommend it to viewers of The Oprah Conversation during her one-on-one interview with Smith. The interview with Smith was brilliant, and I bought his book the same day.
The title of Chapter One is “Fear,” and this is the first line:
“I’ve always thought of myself as a coward. Most of my memories of my childhood involve me being afraid in some way — afraid of other kids, afraid of being hurt or embarassed, afraid of being seen as weak.”
Smith explains that he witnessed his father physically assault his mother at age nine, and he continues to carry the shame of failing to protect her.
“Within everything I have done since then — the awards, the accoldes, the spotlights and the attention, the characters and the laughs — there is a subtle string of apologies to my mother for my inaction that day. For failing her in that moment.”
I cannot know for sure, but I think that when Smith realized that his wife, Jada, was deeply upset by Chris Rock’s joke, he sprang into action to protect Jada the way he wishes he had been able to defend his mother.
During his acceptance speech, Smith said, “Love makes you do crazy things.” Well, you know what else makes you do crazy things? Childhood trauma and shame. And none of those things are excuses for assaulting another human being.
Read Will’s book, and you will learn that he has been engaging in therapy and spiritual work to overcome his fear, insecurities, and shame. But unfortunately, none of that work was evident when the whole world was watching.
I am hard-pressed to think of another professional situation where a person could physically assault someone else in front of an auditorium of witnesses and not have any immediate repercussions.
But how we feel about his actions and what consequences we think he should or should not face depends on who we are and the lens through which we see the world.
Yesterday, I felt rushed to write something, to have a definitive answer. Of course, that’s what’s expected of us in a world dominated by quick social media posts and clicks. But that didn’t feel right to me.
Like you, I am still trying to process this unexpected incident, pondering factors like lateral violence, gender, race, celebrity status, religion and spirituality, trauma, and cancel culture vs restorative justice.
I have decided to comment less, read, observe, and listen more.
It rarely hurts to take a pause.
Since writing that piece last night, there have been more developments. The Academy is launching a formal investigation into Will Smith’s actions and will “explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct, and California law.”
Today, in an Instagram post, Will Smith made a public apology to Chris Rock, The Academy, and the Williams family.
And now, let’s move on to some of the positive and joyful highlights of the show!
A Sign Of Respect
Troy Kotsur (CODA) made history when he became the first deaf actor to win an Oscar for acting.
Last year’s Best Supporting Actress (Minari), Yuh-Jung Youn, presented the award and announced Kotsur’s winning name in American Sign Language. She then held his Oscar so that he could sign his acceptance speech.
Kotsur signed, “This is dedicated to the Deaf community, the CODA community, and the disabled community. This is our moment.”
Youn demonstrated communication allyship. She spoke to Kotsur in his language, ensured that he could communicate using both hands, and looked directly at him while he spoke.
Kotsur’s win and Youn’s consideration are encouraging moments to hold on to as we reflect on the 2022 Oscars.
There’s A Place For Us
Ariana DeBose became the first Afro-Latina and out queer woman of color to win an acting Oscar. Her vibrant portrayal of Anita in West Side Story won audience favor and critical acclaim, ensuring her win for Best Supporting Actress.
Aware of the moment’s importance, DeBose encouraged viewers with the echo of the West Side Story song of hope: “You see an openly queer woman of color who found her strength through art. That’s what we’re here to celebrate. To anybody who has ever questioned your identity, I promise you this; there is a place for us.”
What’s better than one Anita? Two Anitas! Rita Moreno won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anita in 1961. She played a small role in the 2021 version and joined DeBose for some playful posing on the red carpet.
The ninety-year-old actress wore a black Carolina Herrera gown and a feathered headpiece because “What the hell!”
Gasp! Gaga Was Missing!
My Gaga-obsessed eyes were searching for her grand entrance on the red carpet. Snubbed for her performance in House Of Gucci, Lady Gaga was still scheduled to present an award at the Oscars ceremony. But where was she? I was convinced that she was saving her red carpet walk for last!
But the show started and…no Gaga!
With one eye on the show and one eye on Instagram, I saw a pic of Lady Gaga at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation Oscars Viewing Party. Gasp! Did she skip the show to protest her snub???
Usually, this situation would have occupied my brain for the rest of the evening, but Will Smith did a little something to distract me.
Then, at the eleventh hour, while I was still in a fog of Smith disbelief, Lada Gaga appeared on stage with Liza Minnelli.
For a moment, I thought I was hallucinating. I didn’t have any substances in my body except for the potato chip sodium of a thousand nations, but I was sure that I was under the influence of something. Apparently, I was just under the power and the glory of seeing two of my all-time favorite icons pairing to save the night’s final moments.
My dear Ms. Minnelli was called upon to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Cabaret, but she looked like she was about to go out like Elsie. She and Gaga were to review the films nominated for Best Picture and announce the winner, but Liza struggled with the task.
Gaga handled the moment with reverence and grace and assured Liza with two loving words, “I gotcha,” to which Liza replied, “I know.”
The past and present of Hollywood announced the winner of Best Picture.
And The Winner Is…CODA!!!
CODA is the little movie that gained traction throughout Awards Season. The heart-warming story about a hearing teenage girl and her deaf family members trying to communicate their needs and dreams to each other was my favorite of the year. If you missed my review, you can read it here.
CODA’s victory is the first Best Picture win for a streaming service, Apple TV+. It is also the third film directed by a woman to win the top award.
Most importantly, this film features multiple deaf actors playing deaf roles. As the cast, directors, and creators made their way to the stage to accept the award, the audience rose to give a standing ovation in silent applause.
After the night’s chaos, the Oscars ended on a celebratory, beautiful note.
For the complete list of Academy Award winners, click here.
Obsessed!’s Best Dressed!
Initially, I had Shawn Mendes on this list, but I wasn’t quite ready for you to come at me that hard! If you would like to join me in admiring his beauty, click here.
I have switched the order of this list one million times, so don’t mistake it for my hard and fast truth — I’m fickle!
#10 Simu Liu in Versace
I love this fitted red suit!!! But do you know what’s even better? The suit sans shirt and bow tie!!!
Donatella Versace advised Simu to remove his shirt for the Vanity Fair Oscars After-Party, and he did! Timothée Chalamet started a marvelous trend (but we’ll get to him in a minute)!
#9 Kodi Smit-McPhee in Bottega Veneta
I’ve been loving the new Smit-McPhee / Bottega Veneta collab! This pale blue is so gorgeous! He could have used a little tailoring on the pant cuffs, but I’m willing to pass over that detail for the overall look. Also, I want these boots!
#8 Saniyya Sidney in Armani Privé
This seafoam-colored silk and crinoline gown is the perfect fresh look for the fifteen-year-old actress who plays Venus Williams in King Richard!
#7 Serena Williams in Gucci
This pink pleated gown was custom-made for the tennis superstar. I love the color! Don’t tell Jared Leto, but I think she stole his lacey Gucci gloves!
#6 Megan Thee Stallion in Gaurav Gupta
Yes, Meg, give us that leg!!! I love the color and glamor of this gown!
#5 Jada Pinkett Smith in Jean Paul Gaultier
I watched the JPG SS22 Haute Couture live stream, and I nearly cried when I first saw this dress. I remember hoping that someone would wear it on the Oscars red carpet, and my wish came true!
#4 Nicole Kidman in Armani Privé
Armani created this gray-blue color just for Nicole, and it is her best red carpet look in years. I first saw Nicole about twenty-five years ago on the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival. She looked ethereal then, and she remains so now!
#3 Jessica Chastain in Gucci
I love the shimmer and shine of this dress. It is the perfect look for the Oscar-winning actress!
# 2 Ariana DeBose in Valentino
The Haute Couture Valentino bralette, trousers, and cape brought DeBose’s energy to life!
#1 Lupita Nyong’o in Prada
I screamed when I saw this look. Pictures do not do it justice; it’s best viewed in movement. I texted with a friend during the red carpet, and we agreed that no one would be able to beat this one! So let’s take a moment to appreciate Lupita Nyong’o’s overall stunningness.
A League Of Their Own
Kristen Stewart and Timothée Chalamet rank very high on my list of celebrity obsessions. So, when they each showed up scantily clad on the red carpet, there was a lot more screaming in my apartment. My cat was unphased because he has seen and heard it all before.
Kristen Stewart in short, short Chanel
I got in a fight with one of my besties over this look. I do not think it is the right look for a potential Best Actress winner, but he does. I am old, and he is young. Enough said.
But we do agree that this is a hott look!!!
Timothée Chalamet in Louis Vuitton
My phone blew up when Timmy hit the red carpet. Every gay, they and bisexual individual in my contacts spontaneously posted, liked, or retweeted a pic of bare-chested Timmy, myself included! The jacket is Women’s SS22, adding to the appeal!!!
Once again, my aged self does not think that this look is Oscars red carpet appropriate, but I am learning that kids these days are much, much cooler than I ever was or ever will be. Vive les jeunes!!!
Let’s take a closer look at these two divine specimens!
Aahh!!! All is well in the world.
Well, Obsessors, that’s it for this week!
I will be taking a few weeks off to visit my parents in Florida, and it will be my first time away in two years. I have hardly left my Toronto block, and I’m feeling a little bit anxious about it. Despite my anxiety, I’m looking forward to connecting with my parents, friends, and sunshine!!!
The Grammy Awards air this Sunday, April 3 (CBS, 8 ET / 5 PT). I will be watching from Florida!
If you would like to remain connected to my entertainment updates while I am away, follow me on Instagram. I spend a lot of time sharing my obsessions on my Instagram Stories, and I would love to see you there!
You can also find me on Twitter. So follow me, and I’ll follow you back.
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