Will Smith wins Oscar but loses his control
The superb film CODA and its deaf cast triumphed at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27 (local time), applauded in sign language by the evening’s guests, who were nonetheless stunned when Will Smith punched comedian Chris Rock after a joke about his wife.
A spirited comedy-drama adapted from the French hit La Famille Bélier, CODA is a small independent film ($15 million budget) that was a bit of a slow starter at the beginning of the awards season.
Since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2021, the film, which follows a high school student torn between her newfound passion for singing and her deaf family’s dependence on her to communicate with the hearing world, has swept the awards season one after another.
Behind its stunning victory is also that of Apple TV+, which becomes the first streaming platform to win the Oscars in the flagship category of Best Feature Film.
For 10 days, CODA had for the first time surpassed the big favourite The Power of the Dog in the predictions of Hollywood experts, a prediction that was confirmed Sunday, March 27.
“But I don’t think it’s a miracle. The film deserves to be where it is in this period we live in. It’s an important film, a film that does good, that touches people and brings them together with its human values,” said CODA’s producer, Frenchman Philippe Rousselet, not yet daring to consider a victory.
The film CODA also won the Best Supporting Actor category with Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor who dedicated his victory to the “deaf and disabled community”, and the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for director Sian Heder.
The film, The Power of the Dog, a Netflix movie, almost went home without a prize, despite a dozen nominations. A dark and psychological Western about men who do not assume their sexuality or their feelings, it had long been a favorite.
The director Jane Campion was however distinguished by the Academy of the Oscars, becoming the third woman to be rewarded in this category, only one year after Chloe Zhao.
The film , Belfast, a black and white evocation of Kenneth Branagh’s childhood (Oscar for Best Original Screenplay on Sunday 27 March) in the midst of the Northern Irish violence of the late 1960s, had to settle for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Denis Villeneuve’s grandiose space opera Dune won in multiple technical categories (sound, special effects, photography, etc.).
One punch too many
The great actor Will Smith who won the Oscar for Best Actor for The Williams Method, where he plays the father of tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams.
“I want to apologize to the Academy” of the Oscars, said the actor in tears, coming to receive his award. Earlier, he had caused a moment of shock in the room after going on stage, apparently furious, to slap the comedian Chris Rock who had just made a joke about the shaved head of his wife. Jada Pinkett Smith, suffers from alopecia, an important hair loss.
The audience did not know at the time if it was a real incident or a prepared sequence but Will Smith, holding back tears, blasted on stage the “people who disrespect you”. “Love makes you do crazy things,” the actor pleaded after referring to his character’s role as “protector of the family” in The Williams Method.
For actresses, Jessica Chastain won for In the Eyes of Tammy Faye and her role as a televangelist with a big heart and outrageous makeup, after two unsuccessful nominations for The Color of Love and Zero Dark Thirty.
Each time, the Oscars are accused for their lack of diversity, the Oscars have also rewarded this year Ariana DeBose, an actress who defines herself as “Afro-latina” and queer, for her role of Anita in the remake of West Side Story by Steven Spielberg.
The 31-year-old actress succeeds the legendary Rita Moreno, a native of Puerto Rico like her, who had already received an Oscar in 1962 for the role of Anita in the original version of the film. “I’m so grateful, your Anita has paved the way for thousands of Anita like me,” she said to the 90-year-old star who was applauding in the room.
Ukraine was in the spotlight as the organizers of the Oscars ceremony took advantage of a commercial break during the ceremony to post a message calling for “a minute of silence to show our support for the Ukrainian people, currently facing an invasion.
The gala evening was opened by the Williams sisters and a spectacular performance by Beyoncé, live from a tennis court in Los Angeles where the champions made their sporting debut. But it was the young Billie Eilish who won the Oscar for best song for No Time To Die, the title of the latest James Bond movie.
Disney, the world’s number one entertainment company, added another Oscar to its collection with the victory of Encanto, the fantastic Madrigal family, a celebration of Colombia, its culture and traditions, which won the award for the best-animated film.