Hollywood produces memorable Oscar night

Layla Vega, Staff Writer

On Mar. 27, the 94th Academy Awards, widely known as the Oscars, reunited cinema lovers and honored the best achievements in filmmaking from the previous year. However, at the same time, it brought uncontained and unprecedented chaos. 

After three years without a host, the Oscars brought Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall to the stage to do a trialogue and their own solos. While these are all talented individuals, the comedy and jokes were clunky and distasteful, with one even involving sexual assault. 

The hostesses’ bits showed no real connection between the three, however, they did not detract from the event. There were some sharper and funnier segments than others, but the joke about animation being ‘just for kids’ was condescending given that one of the nominations for “Best Animated Feature,” Flee, was an adult picture about a child refugee whose family left Afghanistan in the 1990s and the other nominees were also suitable for kids and adults alike. 

The Twitter awards, which aimed to incorporate popular interests into the ceremony, were a debacle to watch. The awards presented moments from films such as “The Matrix,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and “Dreamgirls.” The illogical “Most Cheer-Worthy Moments” poll winner was “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” which was not a terrible pick and a triumph for Snyder’s toxic fandom. However, I’m not sure I believe that “The Flash Enters The Speed Force” was the “Most Cheer-Worthy” moment in film history; it truly was a shock when it surpassed the highly anticipated “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which is currently ranked as the sixth highest earning movie of all time at the worldwide box office. 

The way the Oscars were heading, it seemed like it was going to end up being another mediocre show until one slap made the 2022 Oscars unforgettable. It all began when Chris Rock joked that Jada Pinkett Smith looked like she was making a sequel to “G.I. Jane” as a result of her alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes a person’s hair to fall out. 

The joke was not funny and Will Smith didn’t think so either. Smith approached the stage and smacked the comedian before shouting at him twice to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth. The cringe aftermath included the entire audience becoming dead silent as Rock stood on the stage, stunned and attempting to lighten the situation with a few jokes. 

Whether Rock deserved it or not, or whether Smith’s actions were justified or not, appears to be a source of debate among many. Celebrities and ordinary people alike came forward to share their thoughts on the matter. An emergency meeting has been made and the final, official response to Smith’s actions was a 10-year ban from the Oscars. 

Apart from the most shocking moment of the night, the Oscars made history when Ariana Debose, best supporting actress in the renowned adaptation “West Side Story,” became the first openly queer Afro-Latina to win an acting Oscar as Anita. It was a moving moment to witness Rita Moreno, who sat in the crowd smiling and received the same award for the same role 60 years ago in 1962. This was another milestone for Latino representation on the Hollywood screen since she was only the second Latina to take home an Oscar in history. 

While the new version of “West Side Story” was not as glamorized as the 1961 film, Spielberg’s “West Side Story” gave me the opportunity to feel truly represented and allowed me to have more access to my culture since a majority of the Puerto Rican characters in the original were played by white actors in brownface and spoke with an overly dramatic accent that bore little resemblance to Puerto Ricans’ distinct dialects. 

While I had hoped for a delightful distraction from the world’s current affairs, I instead got three hours of unpleasantness. I will admit that it was satisfying to see films and actors receive the recognition they deserve, but in my opinion, the 2022 Oscars will be regarded as a time of toxic dreadfulness.