The 2022 Academy Awards has definitely brought together Oscar’s innovations in recent years by giving recognition to well-deserving films and stars. Not only does the Oscars attempt to become a film festival that embraces every gender and race by awarding women, black and Asian in major fields, but it also shows steps to keep pace with the fast-changing digital era by giving major awards to streaming services (OTT) films.
At the 94th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on March 27th, Best Picture went to the film “CODA” directed by Siân Heder.
This is the achievement against other nominated films such as “Belfast” directed by Kenneth Brana, “Drive My Car” directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and “Nightmare Ali” directed by Guillermo del Toro. “The Power of the Dog” and “Don’t Look Up” were two Netflix films nominated for Best Picture too.
“CODA” features Ruby (Emilia Jones), – the only hearing person of a hard-of-hearing family who runs toward her dream with her love of music. In addition to Best Picture, writer-director Siân Heder won Best Adapted Screenplay.
With “CODA,” Apple TV+ became the first streaming service to win Academy’s Top Prize, showing some signs of dislodging old Hollywood. In fact, streaming services (OTT) have been knocking on Oscar’s door for years. With the movie “Manchester by the Sea,” invested and distributed by Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce company, nominated for the 2016 Best Picture Award, the challenge for streaming services toward the Academy Award has begun.
Even a few years ago, Hollywood had a feeling of rejection of OTT platforms. There was a strong perception that Silicon Valley companies with money and technology were trying to dominate Hollywood. In particular, film industries expressed antipathy toward Netflix, which has put forward a strategy to release films on streaming and in theaters simultaneously. In an attempt to win the Academy Awards, Netflix took an indirect strategy by releasing movies that are strategically invested in theaters first and then released online later.
The situation has changed dramatically due to COVID-19. However, the number of films released as well as the number of audiences, streamed movies and OTT users have also surged. Accordingly, the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which hosts the Academy Awards, eased regulations on the basis that “it must be screened in a Los Angeles-area theater for at least one week to be qualified for the competition.”
This year’s Academy Awards ceremony was predicted to have a strong streamed films performance given the nominees. A total of 37 awards nominated streamed films, including Netflix (27), Apple TV Plus (6), and Amazon (4). Walt Disney Company has been nominated in 23 categories;
“The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” in which Jessica Chastain won Best Actress, and “Summer of Soul,” which won Best Documentary, will be released soon on Disney Plus.
While “CODA” led Apple TV+ to become the first streaming service to win Academy’s Top Prize, it also prompted Troy Kotsur to become the first hard-to-hear male actor to win an Oscar as he was awarded for best-supporting actor for “CODA.” The presenter was Yoon Yeo-Jung, who won last year’s Best Supporting Actress for “Minari.” Soon after saying, “The Oscar goes to..”, Yoon called Kotsur in sign language. The audience also celebrated his win with sign language by waving both hands instead of clapping. During his speech, he vowed support for the deaf community.
“This is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA community, and the disabled community,”
“This is our moment,” he added.
Prominent British newspaper, The Guardian, had previously predicted that “CODA” would win the award for Best Picture, saying, “In the past Hollywood rewarded non-disabled actors giving sensitive portrayals of disability with awards love,” adding, “a win for Coda would show that movies can reflect our changing world.”
Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita in the musical film “West Side Story,” won the Best Supporting Actress. DeBose became the second Latin actor to win an Oscar. The first Latin actor was Rita Moreno, who played the same role in “West Side Story” in 1961 and won the following year’s Best Supporting Actress. The two actors who played the same role in the same movie with the same title won the Oscar for supporting actress for 60 years.
Moreover, DeBose is also the first queer woman to win an Oscar for acting. In her speech, DeBose said,
“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes: You see a queer, openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina who found her strength in life through art. And that is, I think, what we’re here to celebrate.”
“So if anyone has ever questioned your identity or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this — there is indeed a place for us,” she continued.
Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes, three comic actresses, also made a topical joke while hosting the festival. Wanda Sykes, who came out in 2008, said,
“We’re gonna have a great night tonight—and for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night.”
Oscar hosts address Florida’s widely-criticized “don’t say gay” bill. https://t.co/1H1Y9jC9bl#oscars pic.twitter.com/6Tmf3RcXAP
— ABC News (@ABC) March 28, 2022
“Well, we’re going to have a great night tonight. And for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night.”
This was to criticize Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Hall and Schumer also joined this joke, repeating the word “gay” more than eight times following Wanda.
In addition, the trio also criticized wage discrimination based on gender in the opening, saying, “this year, the academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring one man.”
Along with the dashes of streamed films, the 2022 Oscar was an award ceremony that embraced not only disabilities but also multi-ethnic, LGBTQ, and multiculturalism.
Written by: Soho Park