With a slated three-hour broadcast that always seems to run over, the Academy Awards are sure to offer some shocks, surprises and outstanding performances. The 2022 Oscars marked the event’s return to the Dolby Theatre for the first time since 2020. Hosted by Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer, the ceremony was nothing short of interesting. We definitely get it though if you didn’t tune in the entire evening, so we’ve rounded up the night’s could-not-miss moments.
It’s always a blessing to have an awards show that features Beyoncé, but to have the Academy Awards open with a Beyoncé performance is next level. Queen Bey set a tone of excellence with a powerful rendition of King Richard’s “Be Alive” set at the Tragniew Park Tennis Courts in Compton. What’s more, she was accompanied by daughter Blue Ivy Carter, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton (who play Venus and Serena in the film) and the Compton Cowboys Junior Equestrians.
The West Side Story actress has been headed straight for an Oscar all awards season, but that didn’t make it any less exciting when she finally won for Best Supporting Actress, the first award of the night. Ariana DeBose’s performance as Anita rightfully earned her the Oscar and her speech reminded everyone why representation in film— and just the arts in general— matter.
If we’re looking at the stats, there literally isn’t a more beloved Disney song than “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” The cast and Academy production team expertly brought the tune to life on the Oscars stage and wowed the audience, but what really upped the performance was a cameo from Megan Thee Stallion.
In near back-to-back moments, Will Smith stole the show. It’s important to accept the public will never really know the truth about celebrities, but in the case of Smith punching Chris Rock for a joke he made about wife Jada Pinkett-Smith— the anger seemed pretty real.
Not long after the biggest shock of the night, Smith won his very first Oscar and gave a tearful, apologetic, gratitude-filled acceptance speech.
Just like the night started, the 2022 Oscars ended on a high note. Coda is perhaps the most lovely movie you’ll see all year (ever?), but what makes the film special is its Deaf community-centered story, meaning the Academy actually chose to spotlight something meaningful and authentic. In addition, the win marks the first time a streamer (in this case, Apple TV Plus) has ever won for Best Picture.
Photography by: Richard Harbaugh / A.M.P.A.S.