Nobody could have ever expected The Slap -- it was a truly wild night!
The Oscars are attempting a return to normalcy ... and after that Will Smith-Chris Rock moment, this wasn't it!
While Covid continues to affect Award Season 2022, the Academy Awards were at least back in their regular home -- returning to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood following last year's precaution-filled celebration at Union Station in Los Angeles. And, after three consecutive years without a host, we got three this time around: Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall.
Going into the night, "The Power of the Dog" scored the most nominations with 12. Following close behind was "Dune," with 10 nominations, and "Belfast" and "West Side Story," tied with 7 noms apiece.
In a big and very controversial change, eight winners -- for Animated Short Film, Documentary Short Subject, Film Editing, Live Action Short Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design and Sound -- were handed out during a non-televised pre-show and spliced in during the broadcast, thus shortening their overall time.
This was done to allow for more "comedy, musical numbers, film clip packages and movie tributes" throughout the night. So, did that change pay off? Check out these viral moments and decide for yourself.
In the final hour of the show, Will Smith stormed the stage after Chris Rock -- who was presenting an award -- made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith.
"Jada, I love you, G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," said Rock, referring to Pinkett-Smith's shaved head. The actress and "Red Table Talk" host has been very open about her hair loss in recent years and rolled her eyes in annoyance at the barb.
Though Rock tried defending the joke, Will walked up on stage, smacked Rock and walked off. The sound cut at that moment, but the camera was on Smith, who clearly said, "Keep my wife's name out of your f---ing mouth."
An unedited version of it aired in Australia, where Rock said, "Will Smith just smacked the s--- out of me." He then noted, "Wow, dude, it was a G.I. Jane joke," as a very angry Smith repeated himself.
After regaining his composure, Rock called it "the greatest night in the history of television" and went on with the show. The show continued, but Twitter straight up erupted ... and it was hard to focus on anything else after that.
You know what's crazy? I tuned in late and missed it. And then wound it back. Oh. My. God. I don't know what's more impressive...the fact that Will punched him or that Chris Rock can really take a punch. That was boxer level impressive--on Chris' part.
During the commercial break, Will Smith is pulled aside and comforted by Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry, who motion for him to brush it off. Will appears to wipe tears from his eyes as he sits back down with Jada, with Denzel comforting Jada and Will’s rep by his side. pic.twitter.com/uDGVnWrSS2
Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith being in "G.I. Jane" because of her bald head. She's spoken openly about having a hair loss condition. Will Smith ran on stage, slapped Rock, then screamed twice at the top of his lungs "KEEP MY WIFE'S NAME OUT OF YOUR F-NG MOUTH."
So Jada Smith has alopecia & has been very open about the difficulties and pain of dealing with hair loss. I imagine that’s why Will was so pissed about Chris Rock’s joke about her hair but wow. That was unexpected #Oscars
Shortly after the smack seen 'round the world, Will won for Best Actor, picking up the first Oscar of his career. He was immediately emotional and started to compare himself to Venus and Serena Williams' father, Richard Williams, who he portrayed in "King Richard."
"Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment I am overwhelmed at what God is calling on me to do and be in this world," he said. "I'm being called on in my life to love people. And to protect people. And to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you gotta be able to talk abuse, you gotta be able to have people talk crazy about you. In this business, you gotta be able to have people disrespecting you and you gotta smile and pretend like that's okay."
"Denzel said to me a few minutes ago, "At your highest moment, be careful, that's when the devil comes for you" -- it's like, I wanna to be a vessel for love," he continued.
After thanking the Williams' family for allowing him to tell their story, he said he wanted to be "an ambassador of that kind of love, care and concern."
"I want to apologize to my Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees. This is a beautiful moment and I'm not crying for winning an award, it's not about winning an award for me. It's about being able to shine light on all of the people [in the cast and crew]," he added. "Art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things."
He concluded, "I hope the Academy invites me back. Thank you." Host Amy Schumer later joked, "Did I miss anything? There's, like, a different vibe in here."
The show didn't begin with the opening bit from the three hosts -- more on that in a minute -- but with a (probably pre-taped) performance from Beyonce of the nominated song "Be Alive" from "King Richard." She wasn't in the house, however, but performed it from the tennis courts in Compton, home of Venus and Serena Williams.
It was a great way to kick off the evening and keep things light and vibrant -- until they weren't anymore.
Oscars hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall came out swinging on Sunday as they took aim at the Academy, Hollywood, the Government, the nominees... and even themselves.
"This year, the Academy hired three women," Schumer began, "because it's cheaper than hiring one man."
As Hall and Sykes declared their pride representing Black women as Oscar hosts, Schumer awkwardly added she was representing all the "unbearable white women who call the cops when you get a little too loud."
There were also jibes aimed at the Academy itself and its controversial decision to edit out some of the awards (including, ironically enough, Best Editing); as the hosts defended the move, technical difficulties ensued. The attack on the Academy continued, as Sykes slammed the snubs, like Rachel Zegler for "West Side Story", Jennifer Hudson for "Respect", and Lady Gaga and Jared Leto for "House of Random Accents."
The trio concluded by promising everyone it was going to be a great night... and to the people of Florida, "We're gonna have a gay night!!" Watch the full monologue here.
"Now you see why that Anita says 'I want to live in America," because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true and that's really a heartening thing right now.
"Imagine this little girl in the back seat of white Ford Focus, look into her eyes, you see an openly queer woman of color, an Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through art. That's what I believe we're here to celebrate. So to anybody who has ever questioned their identity or found yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you there is indeed a place for us."
In a bit after Ariana's win, Regina Hall announced that she'd have to pull some audience members backstage for a last minute Covid test. But when she started calling names, a trend emerged: They were all men!
She called up Bradley Cooper, Simu Liu, Tyler Perry, Timothee Chalamet, crossed off Javier Bardem because he's married and joked about Will Smith, "you're on the list and it looks like Jada approved you, so get up here!"
She also joked, "Denzel, Pauletta, is John David here?" Sadly, he wasn't.
"Take your mask off ... and your clothes. I'm gonna swab the back of your mouth, with my tongue," she then told the men. "And do some other freaky stuff that I will record for Academy protocol. This isn't up to me, we're still in a pandemic."
No, it wouldn't have flown with the genders reversed, but with Hall, it was hilarious.
Kind of love that Regina is getting to do a bit men have been doing for years. And better. #oscars
Wesley Snipes, Rosie Perez and Woody Harrelson hit the stage to present, the same day "White Men Can't Jump" celebrated its 30th anniversary -- and they all looked incredible.
"It's just hard to believe that it's been 30 years since 'White Men Can't Jump,'" said Perez as they got to the mic. "You mean 30 years since I proved they could," cracked Harrelson, as Snipes quoted the movie by saying he still looked like "a slow white geeky chump to me."
They then all started to joke about Woody being high -- "Wish I hadn't done that bong rip in the car," he exclaimed -- before they presented Best Cinematography to "Dune."
I did not expect White Men Can’t Jump to get an #Oscars moment, but you know what… I’ll take. it.
Like his "CODA" costar Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur made history -- becoming the first deaf man and second deaf actor ever to win an acting Academy Award. After the initial cheer of excitement, the audience was filled with audience members doing a silent applause instead.
"This is amazing to be here on this journey. I can't believe I'm here. It's really amazing that our film CODA has reached out world wide. It even reached to the White House," he said in his speech. "They invited the cast to have a tour of the White House, I met President Joe and Dr. Jill and I was planning on teaching them some dirty sign language, but Marlee Matlin told me to behave myself."
He then thanked the film's director Sian Hader for bringing the "deaf world and hearing world together" with the project, paid tribute to his parents and family and concluded, "I just wanted to say that this is dedicated to the deaf community, the CODA [children of deaf adult] community, the disabled community. This is our moment."
It wasn't nominated for an Oscar -- that honor went to "Los Oruguitas" but "We Don't Talk About Bruno" was clearly the breakout song from "Encanto." So much so that the cast and some very special guests were invited to perform it during the telecast.
Though the performance started out with voice actors including Stephanie Beatriz, Carolina Gaitán and Diane Guerrero doing the number, they were joined by Megan Thee Stallion, Becky G and Luis Fonsi for one helluva remix.
For better or worse, the performance confirmed we'll probably be talking about you know who for some time to come.
Meghan The Stallion rapping to "We Don't Talk About Bruno" just forced 2022 to collapse into its own black hole.
Making an extremely rare public appearance, Liza Minnelli -- in a wheelchair -- was joined by Lady Gaga to present the winner for Best Picture. Her appearance on the telecast was timed with the 50th anniversary of "Cabaret." While she was a little flustered before announcing the nominees, Gaga made her comfortable by whispering, "I got you," before Liza replied, "I know."
After the noms were revealed, Liza cut off Gaga singing a snippet of "Cabaret" and told her partner she was her "biggest fan." They then revealed the night's big winner: "CODA."
I love Lady Gaga .. she’s helping Liza so well “ I got you” #Oscars