Oscars 2022: Total chaos followed by complete apathy

Photo+credit+to+ABC

Photo credit to ABC

This year, the 94th Academy Awards happened, I think. What was once the most prestigious show in all of Hollywood has become a nightmare. It’s bad enough that they’ve always struggled with issues like representation and hosting. However, it feels like the best way they can spark discussion is if they have people talking for the wrong reasons. Technically, it worked because now I’m writing my opinion about it.

Now let’s address the elephant in the room, and that’s the whole Will Smith thing. On one hand, I think it would’ve been slightly better if he yelled at Chris Rock and left it at that. But on the other hand, Chris Rock’s joke wasn’t exactly in good taste either. I think it was even more interesting that Will Smith won Best Actor ten minutes later, then he resigned from the Academy. Next thing I know, he’s banned from attending the Oscars for ten years. I get that the slap wasn’t necessary, but how come he gets the boot immediately when it took decades for people like Roman Polanski to be kicked out? And another thing, ten years? Maybe one would’ve been fair enough, but this is making a mountain out of a molehill at this point.

If there’s one specific category I’d like to call out, it’s Best Animated Film. Not for the pick, but the way they presented it. Personally, I was fine with Encanto winning. It’s just the way they positioned animation as a “kids” thing in their opening speech, talking about how “so many kids watch these movies over and over and over”. Meanwhile, Oscar-nominated Flee is an animated documentary about a child refugee who fled Afghanistan and tackles such topics like human trafficking and war…you know, a kids movie!

It stings to see this misconception and lack of understanding. Animation is a medium, not just kids stuff. Some of my favorite films of all time happen to be animated. Why not create new categories for voice acting or even storyboarding? ”

— Stavros Hatzopoulos

It stings to see this misconception and lack of understanding. Animation is a medium, not just kids stuff. Some of my favorite films of all time happen to be animated. Why not create new categories for voice acting or even storyboarding?

Even from the beginning, it felt like something was off. Traditionally, the Oscars were about celebrating the art of film and the achievements of actors. But here, there’s less emphasis on the art and more on celebrity status. They had a tribute for James Bond and The Godfather within the show, but that’s a small portion of a three-and-a-half-hour show. And somehow, none of that time was used for the eight other categories that mysteriously never aired. Remember when Samuel L. Jackson, one of the highest grossing actors ever, received his Honorary Award? Probably not, because they never bothered to broadcast it. 

And somehow, none of that time was used for the eight other categories that mysteriously never aired. Remember when Samuel L. Jackson, one of the highest grossing actors ever, received his Honorary Award? Probably not, because they never bothered to broadcast it. ”

— Stavros Hatzopoulos

They also had this performance for the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto and gradually it became less about Encanto and more about how the Oscars unite movie lovers or whatever. And don’t get me started on the memoriam either. It was weird enough to not see iconic stars like Ed Asner be honored. If anything, it was the strangely upbeat music in the background that took away any effect it tried to strive for. It’s as if they wanted to appeal to as many people as possible but end up alienating more.

And if that wasn’t enough, they just started zooming past the Best Picture nominees without showing any footage. Generally, it seems that the Academy is starting to downplay the Best Picture award. Last year, they put it before Best Actor to remember the late Chadwick Boseman, who was also nominated for the award…he lost anyway and the show ended abruptly. I will say that it was interesting to pick the Apple TV+ film, CODA, for Best Picture. It definitely cements Apple’s place in entertainment as well as the power that streaming has over the industry. 

So what was actually good about the show? Well, I found it impressive that Dune came in and nabbed six out of ten awards like it was nothing. It’s sort of bittersweet given its rough history with adaptations. I know Billie Eilish definitely deserved to win Best Original Song. And I especially loved how sweet and considerate Lady Gaga was to Liza Minnelli when they presented Best Picture.

Other than those highlights, this was still a mess. It’s bad enough they cut out a good portion of their award selection. But I think it’s worth pointing out that this was even LONGER than last year’s show, adding insult to the blatant disrespect to some of their own categories. The Academy Awards have become a confusing circus show of things that just sort of happen. I’m not asking them to go away. I’m asking them to be better.