he 94th Academy Awards kicked off on Sunday at 8pm EDT / 5pm PDT with Beyoncé; while in acknowledgment of the Ukraine war, a string of awards was handed out off-camera to Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction epic “Dune” and a trio of Oscars hosts in Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall.
The Academy Awards got underway off-camera with the first eight awards on the night being handed out at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles. Troy Kotsur of “CODA” became the first deaf man to win an Academy Award for acting.
It was gathered that the academy elected not to televise the early awards in the Oscars’ press room, where the red carpet pre-show continued to play, even though most stars were by then in their seats. (Most interviews were taped shortly in advance when the carpet was crowded).
After record-low ratings in 2021, the academy trimmed the live presentation of the eight categories from the broadcast, which will feature edited clips of their wins.
The Academy honors the people of Ukraine
The Academy held a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine, who are under attack by Russian forces.
“We’d like to have a moment of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders,” an onscreen statement said.
“While film is an important avenue for us to express our humanity in times of conflict, the reality is millions of families in Ukraine need food, medical care, clean water, and emergency services. Resources are scarce, and we — collectively as a global community — can do more,” the text continued.
“We ask you to support Ukraine in any way you are able,” the statement added.
Directly after the moment of silence came an advertisement for cryptocurrency site Crypto.com. The ad said Crypto.com is matching donations in support of Ukraine.
Dolby was largely full in time for the 7 p.m. EDT pre-show, dubbed the “golden hour” by the academy. Presenters Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin announced the winners, whose speeches were to be edited into the broadcast.
Venus and Serena Williams, whose childhood is dramatized in the Will Smith-led “King Richard,” began the broadcast by introducing Beyoncé.
She performed the film’s nominated song, “Be Alive,” in an elaborately choreographed performance from a lime-colored, open-air stage in Compton, where the Williams’ grew up.
The first broadcast award went, fittingly, to Ariana DeBose, who became the first openly LGBTQ actor and first Afro-Latina to win best supporting actress. Her win came 60 years after Rita Moreno won for the same role in the 1961 original “West Side Story.”
DeBose thanked Moreno for leading the way for “tons of Anitas like me.”
“To anybody who has ever questioned your identity or you find yourself living in the gray spaces,” said DeBose, “I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us,” DeBose said.
“Dune” got out to an early lead, winning for production design, editing, sound and for Hans Zimmer’s score. Though it’s not favored in the top awards, “Dune” — the biggest blockbuster of this year’s 10 best-picture nominees — was widely expected to clean up in technical categories.
Best makeup and hairstyling went to Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” That film’s star and producer, Jessica Chastain, had been among the many academy members who thought all the awards should have been handed outlive during the broadcast.
Chastain hugged each winner as they took the stage.
“I just hope that each and every day on set everyone takes a moment to just look around and look at all those talented people who work hard,” said Dowds, the make-up artist.
“The Queen of Basketball,” about the basketball great Lusia Harris, took the best short documentary film. Its executive producers include Steph Curry and Shaquille O’Neal. Best animated short went to “The Windshield Wiper,” while “The Long Goodbye,” a blistering fictional short starring Riz Ahmed, took the best fiction short.
“This is for everyone who feels like they’re stuck in No Man’s Land,” said Ahmed. “You’re not alone. We’ll meet you there.”
But after two years of the pandemic, and beneath a warm California sun Sunday, a Hollywood rite of glamour again got into swing. The early hour of awards was one of many shifts, both slight and tectonic, around this year’s ceremony. After a socially distanced 2021 edition, the Academy Awards are trying to recapture their exalted place in pop culture with a revamped telecast that’s expected to see a streaming service win the best picture for the first time.
The film industry recovered significantly from the pandemic in 2021, but despite one of the biggest hits in years in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the rebound has been fitful.
The global movie industry sold about half the tickets last year as it did two years ago, $21.3 billion in 2021 compared to $42.3 billion in 2019, according to the Motion Picture Association.
Hollywood pushed more of its top films directly into homes than ever before; half of this year’s 10 best-picture nominees were streamed at or very near release. Even the film academy shifted entirely to a streaming platform for voters, rather than DVD screeners.
Then there are the challenges of commanding worldwide attention for a night of Hollywood self-congratulation after two years of pandemic and while Russia’s war ravages Ukraine.
Packer has said the war in Ukraine will be respectfully acknowledged during the broadcast. Some stars, like Sean Penn, have lobbied the academy to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speak at the ceremony. Some stars sported blue ribbons in support of Ukraine.
Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog,” Jane Campion’s gothic western, comes in with a leading 12 nominations and a good chance of snagging the top award. But all the momentum is with Sian Heder’s deaf family drama “CODA,” which, despite boasting just three nods, is considered the favorite. A win would be a triumph for Apple TV+, which acquired the movie out of the Sundance Film Festival last year and has spent big promoting it to academy members.
Producers have lined up a star-studded group of performers including Billie Eilish and Beyoncé to sing nominated songs, while the “Encanto” cast will perform Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” (Miranda, however, won’t be attending after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.)
Also planned were anniversary celebrations for Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” (50 years old) and James Bond (60).
Behind the change is alarm over the Oscars fast-falling ratings. While drops have been common to all major network award shows, last year’s show attracted only about 10 million viewers, less than half of the 23.6 million the year before. A decade ago, it was closer to 40 million.
To help restore the Oscars’ position, some argued in the lead-up to this year’s awards that a blockbuster like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” should have been nominated for best picture. It’s up for just visual effects.
Instead, a wide gamut of films are in the hunt, ranging from the much-watched Netflix apocalyptic comedy “Don’t Look Up” and the roundly acclaimed three-hour Japanese drama “Drive My Car.”
See the full list of winners below:
Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
WINNER: The Power of the Dog
West Side Story
Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Steven Spielberg, West Side Story
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Kristen Stewart, Spencer
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick… Boom!
Will Smith, King Richard
Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
WINNER: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Judi Dench, Belfast
Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
WINNER: Troy Kotsur, CODA
Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog
J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
Best Original Screenplay
Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
Adam McKay and David Sirota, Don’t Look Up
Zach Baylin, King Richard
Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
WINNER: Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier, The Worst Person in the World
Best Adapted Screenplay
Siân Heder, CODA
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe, Drive My Car
Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth, Dune
WINNER: Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
WINNER: Greg Fraser, Dune
Dan Lausten, Nightmare Alley
Ari Wegner, The Power of the Dog
Bruno Delbonnel, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Janusz Kaminski, West Side Story
Best Film Editing
Hank Corwin, Don’t Look Up
WINNER: Joe Walker, Dune
Pamela Martin, King Richard
Peter Sciberras, The Power of the Dog
Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum, Tick, Tick… Boom!
Best Animated Feature
The Mitchells vs. The Machines
WINNER: Raya and the Last Dragon
Best Animated Short
Affairs of the Art
WINNER: The Windshield Wiper
Best Live-Action Short
Ala Kachuu — Take and Run
WINNER: The Long Goodbye
On My Mind
Best International Feature
Drive My Car (Japan)
The Hand of God (Italy)
WINNER: Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan)
The Worst Person in the World (Norway)
Best Documentary Feature
Summer of Soul
WINNER: Writing with Fire
Best Documentary Short
Lead Me Home
WINNER: The Queen of Basketball
Three Songs for Benazir
When We Were Bullies
Best Original Score
Nicholas Britell, Don’t Look Up
WINNER: Hans Zimmer, Dune
Germaine Franco, Encanto
Alberto Iglesias, Parallel Mothers
Jonny Greenwood, The Power of the Dog
Best Original Song
“Be Alive” from King Richard — Music and Lyric by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto — Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda
“Down to Joy” from Belfast — Music and Lyric by Van Morrison
WINNER: “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die — Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell
“Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days — Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather, and Niv Adiri, Belfast
WINNER: Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill, and Ron Bartlett, Dune
Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey, and Mark Taylor, No Time to Die
Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie, and Tara Webb, The Power of the Dog
Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson, and Shawn Murphy, West Side Story
Best Costume Design
WINNER: Jenny Beavan, Cruella
Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran, Cyrano
Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan, Dune
Luis Sequeira, Nightmare Alley
Paul Tazewell, West Side Story
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer, Coming 2 America
Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon, Cruella
Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr, Dune
WINNER: Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Göran Lundström, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras, House of Gucci
Best Production Design
WINNER: Dune — Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos
Nightmare Alley — Production Design: Tamara Deverell; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau
The Power of the Dog — Production Design: Grant Major; Set Decoration: Amber Richards
The Tragedy of Macbeth — Production Design: Stefan Dechant; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh
West Side Story — Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo
Best Visual Effects
WINNER: Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, and Gerd Nefzer, Dune
Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis, and Dan Sudick, Free Guy
Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner, and Chris Corbould, No Time to Die
Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker, and Dan Oliver, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein, and Dan Sudick, Spider-Man: No Way Home
Here is the running list of winners:
Best Documentary Feature: “Summer of Soul”
Best Adapted Screenplay: “CODA”
Best Original Screenplay: “Belfast”
Best Costume Design: “Cruella”
Best International Feature: “Drive My Car”
Best Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur, “CODA”
Best Animated Feature: “Encanto”
Best Visual Effects: “Dune”
Best Cinematography: “Dune”
Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”
Best Film Editing: “Dune”
Best Score: “Dune”
Best Sound: “Dune”
Best Production Design: “Dune”
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
Best: Documentary (Short Subject): “The Queen of Basketball.”
Best Short (Animated): “The Windshield Wiper.”
Best Short Film (Live Action): “The Long Goodbye.”