|94th Academy Awards|
|Date||March 27, 2022|
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Directed by||Glenn Weiss|
|Most awards||Dune (6)|
|Most nominations||The Power of the Dog (12)|
|TV in the United States|
|Duration||3 hours, 40 minutes|
The 94th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), took place on March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The awards were scheduled after its usual late February date to avoid conflicting with both the 2022 Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LVI, with the latter being held in nearby Inglewood, California. During the gala, the AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 23 categories honoring films released from March 1 to December 31, 2021. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Will Packer and Shayla Cowan and was directed by Glenn Weiss. Actresses Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes hosted the show for the first time. Two days earlier, in an event held at the Ray Dolby Ballroom of the Ovation Hollywood complex in Hollywood, the Academy held its 12th annual Governors Awards ceremony.
CODA won three awards, including Best Picture. Other winners included Dune with six awards, The Eyes of Tammy Faye with two, and Belfast, Cruella, Drive My Car, Encanto, King Richard, The Long Goodbye, No Time to Die, The Power of the Dog, The Queen of Basketball, Summer of Soul, The Windshield Wiper, and West Side Story with one. The telecast garnered 16.62 million viewers in the United States.
The nominees for the 94th Academy Awards were announced on February 8, 2022, by actors Leslie Jordan and Tracee Ellis Ross. The Power of the Dog led all nominees with twelve nominations; Dune came in second with ten. The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on March 27.
CODA became the first Best Picture winner to be distributed via a streaming platform and the first one starring a primarily deaf cast. Its three nominations were the fewest for any Best Picture winner since 1932's Grand Hotel, and it was the first Best Picture winner without directing or film editing nominations since the aforementioned film. Furthermore, it became the first without any nominations in the below-the-line categories since 1980's Ordinary People. Best Director winner Jane Campion was the third woman to win the award and the first woman to be nominated twice, having previously been nominated for 1993's The Piano. The Power of the Dog became the first film to win Best Director as its sole award since 1967's The Graduate. Best Original Screenplay winner Kenneth Branagh was the first person to have been nominated in seven different categories throughout his career, having also been nominated as one of the producers for Belfast.
Best Supporting Actor winner Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man and second deaf individual overall to win an acting award.[a] Best Supporting Actress winner Ariana DeBose was the first Afro-Latina person and first openly queer woman of color to win an acting Oscar. Furthermore, as a result of her win for portraying Anita in the 2021 film adaptation of the Broadway musical West Side Story, she and Rita Moreno, who previously won for playing the same character in the 1961 film adaptation, became the third pair of actors to win for portraying the same character in two different films.[b] Nominated for their performances as Leda Caruso in The Lost Daughter, Best Actress nominee Olivia Colman and Best Supporting Actress nominee Jessie Buckley were the third pair of actresses nominated for portraying the same character in the same film.[c] Flee became the first film to be nominated for Best Animated Feature, Best International Feature Film, and Best Documentary Feature in the same year.
Winners are listed first, highlighted in boldface, and indicated with a double dagger (‡).
The Academy held its 12th annual Governors Awards ceremony on March 25, 2022, during which the following awards were presented:
|12||The Power of the Dog|
|West Side Story|
|4||Don't Look Up|
|Drive My Car|
|3||Being the Ricardos|
|The Lost Daughter|
|No Time to Die|
|The Tragedy of Macbeth|
|The Eyes of Tammy Faye|
|Tick, Tick... Boom!|
|The Worst Person in the World|
The following presented awards and performed musical numbers.
|Janora McDuffie||Announced the 94th Academy Awards|
|Introduced the performance of "Be Alive"|
|DJ Khaled||Introduced hosts Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes|
|Presented the award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Presented the following awards filmed before the telecast:|
Best Animated Short Film
Best Documentary Short Subject
Best Film Editing
Best Live Action Short Film
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Original Score
Best Production Design
|Presented the award for Best Cinematography|
|Presented the award for Best Visual Effects|
|Presented the 60th anniversary tribute to the James Bond series|
|Stephanie Beatriz||Introduced the performance of "Dos Oruguitas"|
|Presented the award for Best Animated Feature|
|Youn Yuh-jung||Presented the award for Best Supporting Actor|
|Presented the award for Best International Feature Film|
|Mila Kunis||Introduced the performance of "Somehow You Do"|
|Ruth E. Carter
|Presented the award for Best Costume Design|
|John Leguizamo||Introduced the performance of "We Don't Talk About Bruno"|
J. K. Simmons
|Presented the award for Best Original Screenplay|
Tracee Ellis Ross
|Presented the award for Best Adapted Screenplay|
|Rami Malek||Introduced the performance of "No Time to Die"|
|Chris Rock||Presented the award for Best Documentary Feature|
|Sean Combs||Presented the 50th anniversary tribute to The Godfather trilogy|
Jamie Lee Curtis
|Presented eulogies to Sidney Poitier, Ivan Reitman, and Betty White during the "In Memoriam" segment|
|Presented the award for Best Original Song|
|Kevin Costner||Presented the award for Best Director|
Samuel L. Jackson
|Presented the award for Best Actor|
|Anthony Hopkins||Presented the award for Best Actress|
|Presented the award for Best Picture|
|Beyoncé||Performer||"Be Alive" from King Richard|
|Sebastián Yatra||Performer||"Dos Oruguitas" from Encanto|
|Reba McEntire||Performer||"Somehow You Do" from Four Good Days|
Megan Thee Stallion
|Performers||"We Don't Talk About Bruno" from Encanto|
|Performers||"No Time to Die" from No Time to Die|
|Performers||"I Will Remember You", "Spirit in the Sky", and "Thank You for Being a Friend" during the annual "In Memoriam" tribute|
In October 2021, the Academy hired film director and producer Will Packer and his production company chief of staff Shayla Cowan to oversee production of the 2022 ceremony. "Will is a powerhouse producer who has enjoyed success across all movie genres! He's already bringing a boundless energy and a focus on innovation to this year's Oscars, to entertain the widest spectrum of fans. Many wonderful surprises ahead," remarked Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson. In response, Packer expressed his gratitude, saying, "The power, the beauty, the romance of the imagery in movies has always attracted me. I'm fully embracing the challenge of bringing an ode to one of the most iconic mediums in the world to life. What an honor." Four months later, actresses and comediennes Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes were announced as hosts of the gala during an interview with Packer on Good Morning America. This marked the first time that three people had shared hosting duties for the Oscars since Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn, and Paul Hogan presided over the 59th ceremony held in 1987.
This year, the show was centered around the theme "Movie Lovers Unite." In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Packer explained his reasoning behind the theme stating, "Some are movie lovers who have seen every single one of the nominated movies, and they've got very specific opinions about who wins. And then you have people who are just casual moviegoers, who perhaps have not seen the awards fare but who also love movies. I’m inviting them in as well. They're just as important to me as a viewer. And I think we can have a show that does both. We can walk and chew gum at the same time." In tandem with the theme, several people from different backgrounds, such as firefighters and healthcare workers, participated in the nominations announcement. DJ Khaled introduced the hosts at the beginning of the telecast, and athletes Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater, and Shaun White introduced a montage saluting the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise.
Also tying in with the ceremony's theme of "Movie Lovers Unite", the Academy teamed up with Twitter to host an "Oscars Fan Favorite" contest, where Twitter users could vote for their favorite film of the year and their favorite movie moment. The contest drew a predominantly negative reaction from Academy members, with some comparing it to the "Popular Film" category initially proposed for the 91st ceremony held in 2019, and others viewing it as an attempt to recognize Spider-Man: No Way Home and its box office performance. Ultimately, Army of the Dead was named the Oscars Fan Favorite, while the Oscars Cheer Moment went to Zack Snyder's Justice League for "The Flash Enters the Speed Force". According to TheWrap, the most active voters were autonomous web programs.
The festivities marked their return to the Dolby Theatre after a one-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In compliance with Los Angeles County health and safety standards, AMPAS announced that attending nominees and guests would need to show proof of vaccination or a valid medical exemption, and two negative PCR tests, in order to attend. Presenters and performers underwent "rigorous testing" but were not required to be vaccinated. Audience members in sections closest to the stage were seated further apart but were not required to wear face masks. Masks were required for attendees in the mezzanine. Additionally, the annual Governors Awards was held on March 25, two days before the main ceremony, after previously being postponed from its original January 15 date due to concerns due to health and safety concerns related to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant.
Production designer David Korins designed a new stage for the show. Music producer and songwriter Adam Blackstone served as musical director for the telecast and conductor for the orchestra, which featured musicians Travis Barker, Sheila E., and Robert Glasper. Rapper D-Nice served as an in-house DJ during the gala. As part of a continued focus on enhancing inclusion and accommodations for disabilities, the Academy offered a live feed of American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for the ceremony through the Academy Awards' YouTube channel.
In June 2020, the Academy announced that, starting with the 94th awards, a fixed number of ten films would once again be nominated for Best Picture. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this rule change was initiated in order "to maximize the diversity of the films that are nominated for the Academy's highest honor" as part of the organization's Academy Aperture 2025 equity and inclusion initiative. Previously, AMPAS had experimented with a ten-film Best Picture slate for two years beginning with the 82nd ceremony in 2010 before changing the rules two years later so that a fluctuating number of films would be nominated depending on the nomination voting results.
Due to continued concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy decided once again to allow films that were released via video on demand or streaming to be eligible for the awards on the condition that said films were originally scheduled to have a theatrical release prior to the start of the pandemic. However, only feature films released during the ten-month period in 2021 from March 1 to December 31 would be eligible for awards consideration.
The presentations and acceptance of eight awards (Best Animated Short Film, Best Documentary Short Subject, Best Film Editing, Best Live Action Short Film, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, and Best Sound) were not broadcast live but instead pre-taped an hour before the start of the telecast, in an attempt to "allow more time for comedy, film clips and musical numbers", and to shorten the ceremony; a similar move had been attempted for the 91st Academy Awards in 2019 but had been reversed after being negatively received. The decision was reportedly made under pressure from ABC executives, who had initially demanded that 12 categories be moved off the live broadcast, under the possible penalty of not airing the ceremony at all. Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa presented the awards off the air.
The move was quickly met with significant backlash. Following the announcement, Steven Spielberg said, "All of us are on the same line bringing the best of us to tell the best stories we possibly can. And that means for me we should all have a seat at the supper table together live at 5." More than 70 prominent film professionals—including Guillermo del Toro, James Cameron, Jane Campion, Denis Villeneuve, and John Williams—issued a letter urging the Academy to reverse the plan, which they argued would relegate some nominees to "the status of second-class citizens". Addressed to Academy President David Rubin, the letter claimed that the decision would do "irreparable damage" to the Oscars' reputation by "demeaning the very crafts that, in their most outstanding expressions, make the art of filmmaking worthy of celebration". Best Actress nominee (and eventual winner) Jessica Chastain decided to skip the red carpet and other press to ensure she was in the theater during the Makeup and Hairstyling category to support the team who worked with her on The Eyes of Tammy Faye, stating, "The most important thing for me is to honor the incredible artisans who work in our industry." Sound engineer Tom Fleischman and production sound mixer Peter Kurland resigned from the Academy in protest of the new policy.
Main article: Will Smith–Chris Rock slapping incident
During the presentation for Best Documentary Feature, actor Will Smith walked onstage and slapped presenter and comedian Chris Rock over a joke about the former's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock remarked, "Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it," referencing the 1997 film G.I. Jane in which Demi Moore's character wears her hair in a buzz cut. Pinkett Smith was diagnosed with alopecia in 2018 and shaved her head due to the condition. The joke was ad-libbed by Rock and not part of his scripted remarks. After initially laughing, Smith rose from his seat near the stage, walked up to Rock, slapped him, and returned to his seat. Rock said: "Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me!" After Smith returned to his seat, he shouted to Rock, twice: "Keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth!" Rock replied, "I'm going to, okay?" to Smith and joked that it was the "greatest night in the history of television" before presenting the award. Commentators noted that although Rock appeared to fumble his subsequent lines, he maintained his composure in the midst of chaos.
An Academy librarian said the altercation was likely the first incident of on-stage violence in Academy Awards history. In the United States, ABC muted the audio due to federal broadcast profanity regulations; however, many international broadcasters use a clear feed and did not censor it, and uncensored recordings of the event went viral on social media. About forty minutes later, Smith won the award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Richard Williams in King Richard. He focused his speech on his need to protect those around him and apologized to the Academy and to the other nominees, but not to Rock. He received a standing ovation. The Economist described his acceptance speech, in which he appealed to God calling on him to do "crazy things" in the name of love, as "dangerous, self-serving cant".
Many celebrities expressed shock, disappointment, and outrage over the incident. The show's production team decided not to remove Smith from the theater, due to time constraints and the desire to avoid another disruption. Rock did not file a police report over the incident. The day after the ceremony, the Academy released a statement condemning Smith's actions and announced an internal review. The same day, Smith formally apologized to Rock, the Academy, the Williams family, and the cast and crew of King Richard in Instagram and Facebook posts; he described his behavior as "unacceptable and inexcusable". Smith later announced his resignation from the Academy on the Friday following the gala. One week later, the Board of Governors banned Smith from all Academy events, including the Academy Awards, for ten years effective that day.
Television critic Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "After a fairly promising first hour, the show had begun to flag in basically the same ways Oscar telecasts always flag, proving conclusively that producer Will Packer's attempt to fix the event was barely a Band-Aid." He concluded by stating, "The 94th Academy Awards – which should have provided either a pleasant distraction from a world starting to emerge from a pandemic or the opportunity for advocacy relating to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and discriminatory laws being passed around the country – will just be remembered as a moment of toxic awfulness and subsequent infection." Variety columnist Caroline Framke quipped, "No matter how desperately ABC and the Academy wanted the ceremony to be a well-oiled machine, this year's Oscars proved the power of live TV, for better and for deeply uncomfortable worse." Kelly Lawler of USA Today commented that despite the attempts by AMPAS and broadcaster ABC to shorten the ceremony while making it more entertaining for viewers at home, "it was equal parts boring and terrifying, cringe-worthy and interminable."
Los Angeles Times television critic Lorraine Ali said, "Overall, the production was much tighter and brighter than in recent years, thanks in large part to powerful music numbers, a diverse mixture of guests, and the bitingly funny trio of hosts, Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall." Film critic Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the hosts performances, saying, "It was funny, albeit relatively safe stuff." He also noted that despite the Rock–Smith incident disrupting the momentum of the proceedings, the telecast was "one of the most uplifting, groundbreaking, amazing Oscars ever".
The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 16.62 million people over its length, which was a 60% increase from the previous year's ceremony. The show also earned higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 9.0% of households watching the ceremony. In addition, it garnered a higher 18–49 demo rating with a 3.76 rating, or 77% viewers in that demographic. In July 2022, the broadcast was nominated for three awards at the 74th Primetime Emmys, but it failed to win any of its nominations.
The "In Memoriam" tribute, accompanied by a musical medley performed by musical group The Samples, paid tribute to the following individuals.
During the montage, actors Tyler Perry, Bill Murray, and Jamie Lee Curtis eulogized Poitier, Reitman, and White, respectively. Furthermore, a moment of silence was observed at the end of Reba McEntire's performance of Best Song nominee "Somehow You Do" in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.