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No denying this Oscars show was a big hit


Greg W. Locke

Whatzup Features Writer

Published March 30, 2022

Whoa. Did you see the Oscars? What a whopper of a night. Rather than recap all the winners and losers, like I usually do, I figured I’d rank the night’s 10 biggest moments.

Here we go …

10. Ariana DeBose Wins

Wow, what an acceptance speech after claiming Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story. One of the most powerful in many years. That being said, I think Jessie Buckley for The Lost Daughter or Kirsten Dunst for The Power of the Dog should have won. Good speech, though, and a great way to start the ceremony following Beyoncé’s meh opening number.

9. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”

The Academy had to do this. The hit from Encanto wasn’t nominated for Best Song, but it’s so popular that the show couldn’t go on without it. I was impressed by the production of the number, and hope it brought in a lot of viewers who otherwise would not have watched. Beyond that, I didn’t personally care for it.

8. Lady Gaga, Liza Minnelli Present Best Picture

So CODA won Best Picture. Bummer. It’s a nice little movie, but not, in my opinion, the kind of film that wins best picture. Too Hallmark-y, not cinematic enough. I think we’ll look back on it as a bad win, and not a movie worthy of even competing with Dune. Annnnyyyhow, the Lady Gaga/Liza Minnelli moment was adorable. I won’t spoil it. If you missed it, look it up. It’s so sweet.

7. Wanda Sykes Does Her Thing

I’ve never been a huge Wanda Sykes fan, but wow was she perfect here. She seemed so calm and comfortable and in control, and just about everything she said was extremely funny and understated. My pick for the best host since Jon Stewart and someone who should maybe have a shot at hosting solo. Brilliant, hilarious, cool.

6. Meeting Elliot Page

Formerly known as Ellen Page, the great actor behind films like Hard Candy and Juno, Elliot Page has been out of the public eye. When Elliot hit the stage, he arrived looking and sounding quite a bit different than Oscar audiences remembered Ellen looking and sounding. It felt like an important moment.

5. Jane Campion Wins Best Director

I find Jane Campion to be an insufferable person, but she makes great films, and she is now just the third woman to ever win Best Director. What an unbelievable statistic to note. Here’s to many, many more women winning Best Director. If you’ve never seen Campion’s Sweetie, I highly recommend it.

4. The Godfather, White Men Can’t Jump Reunions

The 50-year anniversary celebration for The Godfather was expected, but fell kind of flat. Much better was the completely unexpected White Men Can’t Jump reunion, bringing Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, and Rosie Perez together for what has to be the most unexpected film reunion in Oscars’ history. It probably confused a lot of people, but I loved it. It felt like a moment for my friends and me.

3. Troy Kotser, Youn Yuh-jung Share Stage

When CODA actor Troy Kotser won for Best Supporting Actor my instinct was to be bummed that Kodi Smit-McPhee didn’t win for The Power of the Dog. That lasted about two seconds. A deaf actor, Kotser signed a beautiful speech while Youn Yuh-jung stood next to him, holding his Oscar so he could use his hands to sign, watching him with a sweet sincerity American audiences aren’t used to these days. A truly beautiful moment.

2. Will Packer Can Produce an Awards Show

The most impressive thing about the night, in my opinion, was how well-produced the show was, which was very needed after the Steven Soderbergh debacle. I’m not a big fan of the films Will Packer produces, but he had this show humming. So many good ideas, such great pacing, and countless fun surprises. Let Packer produce next year, too, please.

1. Will Smith’s Big Night

Unless you live under a rock, you know what happened. Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, having a shaved head. This prompted Will Smith to march on stage and slap Rock in the face. He then went back to his seat and shouted at Rock, demanding he “keep my wife’s name out of your mouth.” Rock stood there, stunned, then continued the show. Anyone watching live was in disbelief.

The show went on, and then, boom, Will Smith won his first Oscar. Smith went on stage and gave a rambling, oft-incoherent, teary-eyed speech about standing up for your family. It’s hard not to wonder how fun Will Smith winning an Oscar would have been had he not just committed an ugly crime on live television.

All that said, I’m not complaining. I thought it was kind of amazing. It was the biggest moment of a night full of big moments and, for my money, the best Oscars show in many, many years.

I no doubt forgot a few great moments. That’s how good this year’s show was.

Did I agree with the winners? Nah. Not even close. Maybe they got a couple things right, but overall a lot of the wins felt like things we’ll make fun of in retrospect. But the show was as fun as an Oscars show gets. So good I’m going to watch it again soon.

Send your Oscar thoughts my way at gregwlocke@gmail.com.

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