Glamour, Laughter, and Shock: the 94th Annual Academy Awards


Kevin Mazur via WireImage

Will and Jada Smith at the 94th Annual Academy Awards

Gabby McWhorter, Entertainment Editor

Infamous is the slap that shook the world, but the 94th annual Oscars on Sunday, March 27th brought glamour, laughter, and current events, plus some unexpected excitement, to an otherwise dying awards show.

The night started with hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer, and Regina Hall, who continuously delivered punchlines and roasts every time they took the stage. Such a diverse group of women not only reflected the increasing diversity among the nominees of the notoriously white awards show, but also displayed the capability and sheer existence of women, especially women of color, in comedy. 

Also, the jokes landed! Whether they be pre-planned such as Schumer’s descending Spider-Man and Hall’s Hot-Guys in Hollywood line up, or on the fly like Schumer’s “what did I miss” that garnered her a fist-bump from Tiffany Haddish, the Oscars hosts made lemonade out of the most hated job in hollywood

Throughout the night, the hosts–and show–also made reference to the state of global affairs. Attendees dawned ribbons and apparel to support Ukraine amidst its struggle to maintain sovereignty from Russia. The hosts also acknowledged the advancing “don’t say gay” bills throughout the United States, leading the audience in a “just say gay” chant which became a postive highlight of the night. 

The most news-worthy–and controversial–moment of the night which crowned the 94th Annual Academy Award Show as a must-watch this year was the Will Smith-Chris Rock slap that shocked airwaves, the live audience and, most visibly, Chris Rock. The aftermath, Smith’s condemnation from the Academy and 10-year ban from the ceremony remains as controversial as the night itself. 

The first totally in-person Oscars ceremony since 2020 welcomed a new wave of extravagant fashion native to the awards season. Standouts from the night included Jada Pinkett-Smith’s massive-yet-elegant emerald green strapless gown, Kirsten Stewart’s business-casual (business top; casual bottoms) shorts set, and Timothee Chalamet’s shirtless women’s pants suit. 

The 94th Academy Awards proved to be the most diverse year in the Oscar’s history among both nominees and winners. Will Smith took home the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, the fifth Black man to do so. Best Actress in a Supporting Role went to an openly queer woman of color for the first time in the show’s history. Jane Campion became only the third woman to have ever taken home the Oscar for Best Director. Best Actor in a Supporting Role went to Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor, for Coda, which also took home Best Motion Picture. The diversity of this year’s nominees and winners does not reflect a newly-diverse Hollywood but rather the Academy’s willingness to accept such a Hollywood into their self-prescribed prestige. Time will tell, though, if the Oscars will continue to implement diversity into its ceremony or fail to maintain relevance in an increasingly diverse America, lest its future ceremonies do not produce similarly-jaw dropping (funny, right?) pop-culture moments.