Chaos reigned at the 2022 Oscars. It couldn’t be contained.
The 94th Academy Awards strived to be a good one this year, entertaining and capturing ABC’s large audience who rarely come to television anymore.
The film academy wanted a more “normal” ceremony after the 2021 TV broadcast from Union Station in Los Angeles with masks and fewer celebrities because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s producer Will Packer attempted to bring back some comedy after three years without a host – Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall did a joint monologue and their own tunes. They tried to make the show “broad” and increase the ratings by cutting back some talk and adding big-name presenters and guests ranging from Lady Gaga to Tony Hawk to BTS.
Continued:Oscars 2022: ‘CODA’ wins best picture, Will Smith and Jessica Chastain win acting honors
But whatever the intention, the ceremony certainly fell short. It was both boring and terrifying, scary and endless.
The stuff that the producers, writers, and animators could control was poorly handled and poorly paced, with bad comedy in the wrong places and a running time of almost four hours. The parts of the ceremony that the producers hadn’t attended — the winners, the speeches and, yes, the slap in the face — only reinforced the feeling that the Oscars were out of control, a streamlined roller coaster with nowhere. where to go but down. He fired from soporific television to captivating and captivating television. But it wasn’t what I would call good.
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Perhaps what broadcasting needs is an even bigger overhaul. Because if the awards show continues like this, there won’t be any more viewers to witness the chaos.
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The night was a whirlwind of good times and bad, starting with a great performance from Beyoncé and a few more joyful moments before things started to go downhill so steeply. Ariana DeBose, winner of Best Supporting Actress in ‘West Side Story,’ has become the first openly queer Afro-Latina to win an Oscar for acting. There were a few good jokes in the hosts’ monologue, and in particular the one that Schumer delivered solo a few minutes later. “CODA”‘s Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor and delivered a heartbreaking speech. Sebastián Yatra performed a moving rendition of the “Encanto” song “Dos Oruguitas”.
But these were moments chosen from a sea of bad choices. Why did Schumer do a second monologue? Why was Regina Hall, a respected and talented performer, reduced to a sex-crazed single woman, ogling the men she called on stage? Why have so many presenters received such long and unfunny presentations from their categories? Why were the songs accompanying the In Memoriam segment so bland and upbeat?
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The Oscars and ABC producers also made the confusing decision (at least for moviegoers and many industry insiders) to cut eight categories from the live show, introduce them in the hour before, and edit at times of the winners’ speeches. It was supposed to shorten the telecast, but the show ran longer than last year, thanks to all those unfunny comedy bits and unnecessary edits celebrating James Bond films and “The Godfather.” It’s nice to acknowledge the wonder of old movies, but when it distracts from the modern films that are the focus of the series, it’s a detriment.
Of course, discussion of this year’s Oscars will forever be tied to the incident between Chris Rock and Will Smith: Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, losing her hair to alopecia, and Smith came on stage, slapped him and shouted profanity after he returned to his front row seat. It was a moment that stunned the celebrities in the room, launched a thousand tweets, and certainly has the potential to bring out the worst in those who decide it’s their job to comment on it.
The moment completely derailed the rest of the night, eclipsing Questlove’s win in the documentary category for ‘Summer of Soul’ and adding new meaning to Smith’s tearful speech when he won Best Actor for ‘King Richard” about half an hour later. The shocked audience didn’t quite know how to celebrate “CODA” for Best Picture or Jessica Chastain for Best Actress. We continued to watch out of morbid curiosity what the aftermath of the incident might bring.
Smith’s slap in the face, terrible jokes, and poor editing and direction all contributed to one of the worst Oscar nights in quite some time. But if nothing else, the odd mix of boredom and shock, good times and truly terrible times, has made the 2022 Oscars the rare awards show that’s truly indicative of the times in which we live.
Unfortunately for all of us (and the Oscars), 2022 is a confusing and scary time. Seeing this mess reflected on us at the Oscars isn’t the glitz and escapist glamor we signed up for.