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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2022 Oscars recap

Olivia Reid
UMass Boston student Sofia P. watches “Encanto” in her dorm on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. Photo by Olivia Reid / Mass Media Staff

The 94th Academy Awards of Motion Pictures, Art and Sciences, also known as the Oscars, were held on March 27. There were new categories, unexpected wins and a sense that the awards ceremony was trying out something new this year. Whether these new changes will herald in something new or will be quickly discarded remains to be seen. As things stand, let’s take a look.

Starting off with the Best Picture winner, “CODA” took home that particular Oscar this year. As a movie with deaf main characters, it is an historic Oscar win. The Oscars have had their fair share of criticism over the years regarding representation, as was made especially clear with the #oscarssowhite movement started a few years back. While this is a different kind of representation, it is significant and worth celebrating. This closely follows “Parasite”’s historic win back in 2020 as the first foreign language movie to win the award.

That wasn’t the only win for “CODA” that night. Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for his performance and Siân Heder won Best Adapted Screenplay. Another film to win more than one Oscar was “Dune”, winning more than six Oscars over the course of the night. Among the six, Hans Zimmer was recognized yet again for his great skill as a composer and Greig Fraser won for Best Film Editing. 

Both Jessica Chastain and Ariana Debosewhose win was the first for an openly queer woman of color—took home their first Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Will Smith won Best Actor for his performance in “King Richard” in the midst of controversy. Yet, with or without that, this Oscars was destined to be met with criticism. One of the controversial decisions made by the Academy Awards this year was to not broadcast the presenting of eight awards. They were for Best Editing, Documentary Short, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Original Score, Animated Short, Live Action Short, and Sound. This obviously prompted debate over whether this showed the proper respect to those fields and the efforts of those nominated. Was it more important to show a celebration of sixty years of James Bond than to have a live broadcast of any of the above categories? The acceptance speeches were edited into the ceremony after the winner had already been revealed on Twitter. 

To further complicate matters, the Oscars introduced two new categories this year which they were going to broadcast. The categories were Oscars Fan Favorites and Most Cheer-Worthy Moment. Fans voted for these online, meaning that the most organized fan bases had the best chance of winning. Is that truly awarding something on merit? Some would say no, and others would argue that the purpose of art is to get a reaction out of its audience and that this is just a reflection of that. The debate may rage on for a while. 
What this Oscars showed more than anything else was the awards ceremony’s struggle between keeping to tradition and embracing modernity. Do they want to risk losing their old audience to find a new one? What about the Oscars is not resonating with people nowadays? There is probably more than one answer. The lack of diversity and representation in the nominees, social media replacing the Oscars as a peek behind the scenes in Hollywood and overall changing interests. The way forward for the Academy Awards isn’t clear, yet judging by what got people talking, it doesn’t seem like old-fashioned pomp and circumstance is where things are bound to go.

About the Contributors
Kyle Makkas, Humor Writer
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor