The 5 best (and worst) Oscar moments, including Will Smith slapping Chris Rock and Beyoncé‘s performance of Be Alive

  • The Academy Awards returned in full force after last year’s smaller ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell took home the prize for best original song, while Dune led the night with the most wins
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US singer-songwriter Beyoncé performs her Oscar-nominated song “Be Alive,” from the film “King Richard,” during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. Photo: AFP

Hollywood’s biggest night returned with stars, spectacle and plenty of surprises.

The Oscars came back in force on Sunday to Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre, after last year’s scaled-down ceremony amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes earned fair reviews for their joint hosting work, after of three years of ceremonies that had no host, while the Academy’s decision to present multiple technical awards off camera continued to be roundly panned on social media.

Actress Regina Hall (L), comedian Amy Schumer (C) and actress and comedian Wanda Sykes hosted this year’s Oscars ceremony. Photo: AFP

Dune led the night with the most wins: six including best cinematography and best score, while CODA triumphed in the best picture category, after a neck and neck race with The Power of the Dog, which took only one award for best director (Jane Campion). Meanwhile, Chris Rock and Will Smith made headlines with their onstage rift.

Here are more of the most shocking, poignant and downright delightful moments from the 2022 Oscars:

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Chris Rock gets slapped by Will Smith after making a harsh joke about Jada Pinkett Smith

The moment everyone will be talking about from the Oscars for weeks to come: While introducing the award for best documentary feature (won by Questlove’s Summer of Soul), Chris Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia, a disease that causes you to lose all your hair, and who was rocking a shaved head to the event.

“Jada, I love you; G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” Rock joked, referring to the 1997 movie starring Demi Moore in which a woman joins the US Navy and trains for their special operations unit. The film features a scene in which Moore’s character shaves her head.

Though Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes in response, Smith proceeded up to the stage and smacked Rock, and was seen mouthing “Keep my wife’s name out of your (expletive) mouth.” Rock was visibly startled by the altercation, but still quipped, “That was the greatest night in the history of television.”

A little background on this year’s Oscars ceremony

Will Smith tearfully apologises during an uncomfortable best actor speech

Anticipation was high for the announcement of the best actor award, which Smith was expected to win. Smith was tearful and anxious throughout the speech, which should have been a joyous moment.

“I want to apologise to the Academy,” Smith said, not long after his heated encounter with Rock. “I want to apologise to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all of the people.”

Will Smith caused controversy when he slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars. Photo: Reuters

Smith thanked the real-life Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, whom he portrays in the film King Richard. His speech emphasised Richard’s role as the protector of his family, as he not so subtly drew parallels between his life and Richard’s.

“I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people,” Smith said. “I know to do what we do, you’ve got to be able to take abuse. You got to be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you got to be able to have people disrespecting you. And you got to smile and you got to pretend like that’s OK.”

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Beyoncé opens the Oscars with a tennis-themed performance of Be Alive

The Dolby stage simply can’t contain the supernova that is Beyoncé. Draped in diamonds and a feathered dress, the pop star opened the ceremony with the Oscar-nominated song Be Alive from King Richard, strutting across a sprawling lime-green tennis court and backed by dozens of dancers and musicians clad in similar shades of green.

Comedian Amy Schumer takes aim at Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar films

After an awkward and occasionally funny monologue split between the three hosts, Schumer came on stage early in the show for a short solo set in which she ruthlessly roasted this year’s nominated films. Regarding tennis drama King Richard, Schumer joked, “After years of Hollywood ignoring women’s stories, this year we finally got a movie about the incredible Williams sisters’ … dad.” Moments later, she took a jab at the critically derided Don’t Look Up, a best picture nominee: “I guess the Academy members don’t look up reviews.”

She also earned shocked laughter with a dig at Being the Ricardos, a Lucille Ball biopic “without even a moment that’s funny,” Schumer said, as the camera cut away to smiling Ricardos stars Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem. But she reserved her sharpest jab for Leonardo DiCaprio, deadpanning, “He’s done so much to fight climate change and leave behind a cleaner, greener planet for his girlfriends. Because he’s older. And they’re younger. OK, you get it.”

Amy Schumer appears on stage dressed as Spider-Man during a skit at the Oscars. Photo: AP

Megan Thee Stallion raps about Bruno in surprise appearance

Just when you thought you’ve heard all there is of We Don’t Talk About Bruno, the hit track from Disney’s animated Encanto that spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, rapper Megan Thee Stallion brought a fresh spin to the song at Sunday’s show. The Grammy-winning best new artist made a surprise appearance during the first live performance of the song with a brand new verse, as singers Becky G and Luis Fonsi also hopped on the muddled remix, which left many fans confused with its Oscar-themed lyrics.

This year’s awards included a “fan favourite” prize

Winners at the 2022 Academy Awards:

Best picture: CODA

Best actor: Will Smith, King Richard

Best actress: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Documentary feature: Summer of Soul (Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Original song: No Time to Die from No Time to Die, music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

Best director: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog

Best supporting actor: Troy Kotsur, CODA

Best international film: Drive My Car, Japan

Costume design: Cruella

Original screenplay: Belfast

Adapted screenplay: CODA

Best supporting actress: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story

Cinematography: Dune

Visual Effects: Dune

Best animated feature: Encanto

Sound: Dune

Documentary (short subject): The Queen of Basketball

Best animated short film: The Windshield Wiper

Live action short: The Long Goodbye

Music (original score): Dune

Film editing: Dune

Production design: Dune

Make-up and hairstyling: The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Fan favourite: Army of the Dead

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