On March 27 at 8 p.m., the 94th Academy Awards aired live on ABC. The ceremony, also referred to as the “The Oscars,” is a yearly event at which the best films of the previous year are awarded based on a number of criteria. According to the Academy Awards promotional material, the awards given out at this ceremony are “the highest honors in film-making.”
This year 24 different awards were given out in many categories. The most prestigious award categories are for Best Actor, Actress, Director and Picture. The winners of these categories were Will Smith, Jessica Chastain, Jane Campion and “CODA” respectively.
Many Sacred Heart University students and professors were happy with the nominees and winners.
“It’s nice to see independent films get nominations and wins,” said Professor James Barnes, a media professor and filmmaker at Sacred Heart. “They started at the Sundance Film Festival and so did my career.”
“I wasn’t really enthusiastic about watching the Oscars this year because I hadn’t really seen many of the movies,” said Dr. Emily Bryan, an English professor at Sacred Heart with a history in theater. “I did, however, see all of the performances for best actor, and I think that Denzel deserved it for ‘The Scottish Play.’”
According to The Wall Street Journal, “More than 15 million people tuned in to watch coverage of the 94th annual Academy Awards.”
Despite having more viewers than last year, it was reported that these numbers were still low.
According to Wall Street Journal, “While the audience was a vast improvement from 2021, it is still a big decline from the 23.6 million who tuned in to watch the 2020 Oscars… This continues a trend of declining viewership for the award ceremony.”
The ceremony also found itself embroiled in drama, even before the awards aired. According to IndieWire, Best Picture nominee Rachel Zegler and star of “West Side Story,” was not invited to the ceremony.
According to IndieWire, “The news that Zegler was not initially invited to the ceremony drew social media backlash.” Because of the outrage, she was eventually invited. Zegler ended up presenting the award for best Visual Effects.
Zegler’s initial snub was not the only drama at this year’s ceremony.
While Chris Rock was presenting the award for Best Documentary, he made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s recent hair loss. Actor Will Smith, her husband and nominee for Best Actor, responded by stepping onto stage and slapping Rock. Smith won the award for Best Actor later in the night.
Viewer reactions to the incident have varied.
“If Will Smith didn’t go up and slap him, everyone would be feeling sorry for the Smiths,” said junior Anna Morel. “If he hadn’t lost his temper he wouldn’t be framed as the bad guy.”
Barnes said that the incident took attention away from the winners of the awards.
“It absolutely overwhelmed the rest of the event,” said Barnes. “That’s unfortunate for people like Questlove or Sian Hader who may have been having once-in-a-lifetime moments.”
Sian Hader was the director and writer of “CODA” which won the award for Best Picture. Questlove was the director of the documentary “Summer of Soul” which won the Oscar that Rock was presenting when he was struck.
Morel would prefer if the Oscars moved away from drama.
“It’s supposed to be a celebration and a happy event,” said Morel. “It’s unfortunate that it has to turn to drama and controversy just for a little more publicity.”