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Oscars kick off with Beyoncé, awards for ‘Dune’ and DeBose



By JAKE COYLE

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After a film yr typically mild on crowds, the Academy Awards named an unabashed crowd-pleaser, the deaf household drama “CODA,” finest image Sunday, handing Hollywood’s high award to a streaming service for the primary time in a ceremony that noticed the best drama when Will Smith strode onstage and slapped Chris Rock.

Sian Heder’s “CODA,” which first premiered at a digital Sundance Film Festival in winter 2021, began out as an underdog however steadily emerged because the Oscars’ feel-good favourite. It additionally had one very deep-pocketed backer in Apple TV+, which scored its first finest image Academy Award on Sunday, lower than three years after launching the service.

It additionally handed one other near-miss defeat to Netflix, the veteran streamer that for years has tried vainly to attain finest image. Its finest probability, Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” got here in with a number one 12 nominations. It received one, for Campion’s path.

But “CODA” rode a wave of goodwill pushed by its solid together with Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Emilia Jones and Daniel Durant. It’s the primary movie with a largely deaf solid to win finest image. “CODA” managed that regardless of being one of many least-nominated movies with solely three coming into Sunday. Not since 1932’s “Grand Hotel” has a film received finest image with fewer than 4 nods.

Kotsur additionally received finest supporting actor to turn into the primary male deaf actor to win an Oscar, and solely the second deaf actor to take action, becoming a member of his castmate and “CODA” co-star Matlin.

“This is for the Deaf community, the CODA community and the disabled community,” stated Kotsur, signing from the stage. “This is our moment.”

Many, although, had been speaking about one other second. After Rock, as a presenter, joked to Jada Pinkett Smith that he was wanting ahead to a sequel to “G.I. Jane,” Will Smith stood up from his seat close to the stage, strode as much as Rock and smacked him. After sitting again down, Smith shouted at Rock to “keep my wife’s name out your (expletive) mouth.” When Rock, who joked about Jada Pinkett Smith whereas internet hosting the Oscars in 2016, protested that it was only a “GI Jane” joke, Smith repeated the identical line.

“That was the greatest night in the history of television,” Rock stated, earlier than awkwardly returning to presenting finest documentary, which went to Questlove’s “Summer of Soul (…or When the Revolution Was Not Televised).”

The second shocked the Dolby Theatre viewers and viewers at house. At the business break, presenter Daniel Kaluuya got here as much as hug Smith, and Denzel Washington escorted him to the aspect of the stage. The two talked and hugged and Tyler Perry came visiting to speak as nicely.

Smith, who performs Venus and Serena Williams’ father in “King Richard,” later within the present received finest actor, his first Oscar. So Smith once more took the stage shortly after what appeared more likely to be one of the crucial notorious moments in Academy Awards historical past. His acceptance speech vacillated between protection and apology.

“Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” Smith stated in his first remarks. Smith then shared what Washington informed him: “At your highest moment, be careful because that’s when the devil comes for you.”

Ultimately, Smith apologized to the academy and to his fellow nominees.

“Art imitates life. I look like the crazy father” stated Smith, chuckling. “But love will make you do crazy things.”

After the present, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences issued an announcement saying it “does not condone violence of any form.” The Los Angeles Police Department stated it was conscious of a slapping incident on the Oscars however stated the individual concerned had declined to file a police report.

Up till then, the ceremony — normal as a revival for the Oscars and the flicks — had been operating pretty easily. Ariana DeBose grew to become the primary Afro-Latina and brazenly LBGTQ actor to win an Academy Award for supporting actress. Jane Campion received the Oscar finest director for “The Power of the Dog,” her open-plains psychodrama that twisted and upended western conventions.

Campion, who had been the primary lady ever twice nominated within the class (beforehand for 1993’s “The Piano”), is simply the third lady to win finest director. It’s additionally the primary time the directing award has ever gone to girls in back-to-back years, after “Nomadland” filmmaker Chloé Zhao received final yr.

Best actress went to Jessica Chastain, who additionally received her first Oscar. Chastain received for her empathetic portrayal of the televangelist Tammy Faye in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” a film she additionally produced.

After record-low rankings and a pandemic-marred 2021 present, producers this yr turned to one of many largest stars round — Beyoncé — to kick off an Oscars meant to revive the awards’ place in popular culture. After an introduction from Venus and Serena Williams, Beyoncé carried out her “King Richard” nominated music, “Be Alive,” in an elaborately choreographed efficiency from a lime-colored, open-air stage in Compton, the place the Williams sisters grew up.

Hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall then started the telecast from the Dolby Theatre.

Sykes, Schumer and Hall breezily joked by distinguished Hollywood points like pay fairness — they stated three feminine hosts had been “cheaper than one man” — the Lady Gaga drama that Sykes referred to as “House of Random Accents,” the state of the Golden Globes (now relegated to the memoriam package deal, stated Sykes) and Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends. Their most pointed political level got here on the finish of their routine, during which they promised a terrific evening after which alluded to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” invoice.

“And for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night,” stated Sykes.

The first broadcast award went, fittingly, to Ariana DeBose, whose win got here 60 years after Rita Moreno received for a similar function within the 1961 authentic “West Side Story.” DeBose thanked Moreno for main the way in which for “tons of Anitas like me.”

“Imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes: You see a queer, openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina who found her strength in life through art. And that is, I think, what we’re here to celebrate,” stated DeBose. “So if anyone has ever questioned your identity or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this — there is indeed a place for us.”

“Encanto,” the Disney hit propelled by its chart-topping soundtrack, received finest animated movie. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who penned the movie’s hit songs, missed the ceremony after his spouse examined constructive for COVID-19. Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s three-hour Japanese drama “Drive My Car,” one of many yr’s most acclaimed movies, received for finest worldwide movie.

After two years of pandemic, and beneath a heat California solar Sunday, the Hollywood ceremony of glamour once more received into swing, with a flush crimson carpet and a COVID-tested viewers. Before the alternate with Smith, Rock commented, with relish: “No one’s wearing a mask. Just breathing raw dog tonight.”

To assist regain the cultural highlight, the Oscars leaned closely on musical performances (Billie Eilish, Reba McEntire), movie anniversaries (“The Godfather,” “Pulp Fiction,” “White Men Can’t Jump”) and as many mentions of the “Encanto” breakout music, “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” as attainable. The Ukrainian-born Mila Kunis led a 30-second second of silence for Ukraine. Some stars, like Sean Penn, had lobbied the academy to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy communicate on the ceremony

But apart from a number of blue ribbons noticed on the crimson carpet, politics had been seldom middle stage. The Oscars as a substitute doubled down on razzle dazzle, and the flicks as an escape. Producers introduced within the likes of BTS and Tony Hawk to rope in additional viewers. Some issues labored higher than others. Fan favourite prizes, as voted on by Twitter customers had been overrun by Zack Snyder followers, who voted up Snyder’s model of “Justice League” and his “Army of the Dead.”

Feel-good motion pictures additionally fared nicely. “CODA” additionally received for finest tailored screenplay. Kenneth Branagh’s autobiographical “Belfast,” an affectionate household drama bathed in nostalgia and shot in black-and-white, took finest authentic screenplay.

Eilish and her brother Finneas, received for his or her Bond theme to “No Time to Die,” a music that was launched earlier than the pandemic started.

The Academy Awards received underway Sunday off-camera, with the primary eight awards on the evening being handed out on the Dolby Theatre earlier than the beginning of the ABC telecast. The Dolby was largely full in time for the 7 p.m. EDT pre-show, dubbed the “golden hour” by the academy. Speeches had been later edited into the printed.

“Dune” received out to an early lead in these early awards, and it saved it by the evening. The largest blockbusters of this yr’s 10 best-picture nominees, “Dune” received a number one six awards, for manufacturing design, cinematography, modifying, visible results, sound and Hans Zimmer’s rating.

Greig Fraser’s cinematography win denied one probability for Oscar historical past. Some had been rooting for Ari Wenger, who lensed Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” to turn into the primary lady to win finest cinematography, the only real Oscar class that has by no means been received by a girl within the Academy Awards’ 9 decade-plus historical past

Best make-up and hairstyling went to Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” Chastain had been among the many many academy members who thought all of the awards ought to have been handed out reside through the broadcast. Chastain hugged every winner as they took the stage.

Behind this yr’s telecast modifications was alarm over the Oscars fast-falling rankings. While drops have been frequent to all main community award reveals, final yr’s present attracted solely about 10 million viewers, lower than half of the 23.6 million the yr earlier than. A decade in the past, it was nearer to 40 million. Will the slap heard ’around the world assist carry rankings?

“Welp,” tweeted Oscar producer Will Packer after the present. “I said it wouldn’t be boring.”

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Associated Press Writers Lindsey Bahr, Jocelyn Noveck and Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.

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For extra of AP’s Oscar protection go to: https://apnews.com/hub/academy-awards



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