The organizers of the Oscars are under fire for paying ‘tribute’ to the people of Ukraine without mentioning the country by name or directly addressing Russia’s invasion, despite the hosts’ eagerness to go after domestic political issues.
The 94th Academy Awards got underway Sunday night at 8pm, with ABC carrying the three-hour telecast from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Actress Mila Kunis, who was born in Ukraine, took the stage at the Oscars to address Russia’s invasion of her home country, leading a moment of silence after praising ‘those who keep fighting through unfathomable darkness.’
Kunis, without mentioning Ukraine or Russia by name, said that in recent weeks the world had been shocked by ‘recent global events’, before introducing country superstar Reba McEntire, who delivered a live performance of Somehow You Do.
Then during a moment of silence, title cards called for the audience to support the ‘people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders’ before a quick cut to commercial — but the word ‘Ukraine’ was not spoken aloud once during the brief segment.
Aides for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had lobbied the academy for a last-minute video appearance at the ceremony, but the producers opted to go for the moment of silence instead, according to the New York Times.
The hands-off approach to addressing the war in Ukraine drew an immediate flood of criticism, with one person tweeting: ‘they seem to not only be incapable of even saying “Ukraine” but just throw up a wall of text their affiliates can cut off if they don’t want to show it. These people are grossly out of touch in so many ways.’
Kunis has otherwise been vocal about the war in Ukraine, raising $35 million for the nation’s people together with her husband Ashton Kutcher, leaving many of her fans stunned at her soft-touch tribute.
In contrast, the co-hosts of the Oscars wasted no time turning to domestic politics, taking aim at a range of hot-button issues and mocking Republicans in their opening monologue.
Actress Mila Kunis, who was born in Ukraine, took the stage at the Oscars to address Russia’s invasion of her home country — but did not mention Ukraine or Russia by name as the ceremony tread lightly on the issue
Instead of the video appearance that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky requested, Reba McEntire then performed
Without ever uttering the word ‘Ukraine’ aloud, the Oscars addressed Russia’s invasion with these title cards
‘We’re going to have a great night, and for you folks in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night!’ announced Sykes (center) in the opening monologue, referring to a controversial law in the Sunshine State
Comedians Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes are hosting, and it is the first time three women have guided the ceremony, with Schumer joking: ‘This year the Academy hired three women to host—because it’s cheaper than hiring one man.’
Their opening remarks quickly turned political with jokes targeting conservatives, in defiance of criticism that overly-political content has contributed to the award show’s tanking ratings in recent years. Last year’s pandemic-delayed ceremony garnered just 10.4 million total viewers — a massive 56 percent decline from the year before.
‘We’re going to have a great night, and for you folks in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night! Gay, gay gay!’ announced Sykes in the opening monologue, referring to the state’s so-called ‘don’t say gay’ bill, which would bar lessons about gender or sexuality in school between kindergarten and third grade
Many in the crowd such as Denzel Washington and Nicole Kidman smiled and applauded in delight at the jab.
In another joke, Sykes took aim at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, making him the punchline of a joke about ‘toxic masculinity’. Another joke centered on diversity at the Golden Globes.
Schumer also referenced race and policing issued, joking: ‘I represent unbearable white women who call the cops when you get a little too loud.’
Beyoncé kicked off the Oscars with pre-taped performance on the tennis courts where Venus and Serena Williams played as girls, in a tribute to the biopic King Richard, about the tennis stars’ upbringing.
Host Amy Schumer appears on stage at the Oscars on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
West Side Story star Ariana DeBose spoke of her pride of being an ‘openly queer woman of color’ as she won the best supporting actress Oscar
Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an Oscar, taking the Academy Award on Sunday for best supporting actor for his role as a fisherman and father in family drama ‘CODA.’
US singer-songwriter Beyonce performs during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on Sunday
The Oscars opened on an unconventional note with a performance from one of the biggest stars on the planet: Beyonce
In a bid to draw more viewers, especially younger ones, after years of plunging ratings, the three-hour show starting at 8pm ET will add two awards, the results of fan votes for favorite film and scene.
The co-hosts’ short monologue also included jabs at ‘Being the Ricardos’ nominee J.K. Simmons and ‘House of Gucci’ stars Lady Gaga and Jared Leto – or ‘House of Random Accents,’ as Sykes called it.
In another joke Schumer quipped: ‘I’m Amy Schumer, or as they know me in Hollywood, ‘Melissa McCarthy said no.”
‘Leonardo Dicaprio, what can I even say about him? He’s done so much to fight climate change and leave behind a cleaner, greener planet for his girlfriends,’ joked Schumer at another point.
Meanwhile, Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an Oscar, taking the Academy Award on Sunday for best supporting actor for his role as a fisherman and father in family drama ‘CODA.’
Kotsur, 53, has worked for over three decades in theater, television and film for both deaf and hearing audiences.
In ‘CODA,’ an acronym for ‘child of deaf adults,’ Kotsur plays Frank Rossi, the father of teenager Ruby who struggles to help her family’s fishing business while pursuing her own aspirations in music.
The only other deaf person to win an Oscar was Kotsur’s ‘CODA’ co-star Marlee Matlin. She won best actress for her role in 1986 romantic drama ‘Children of a Lesser God.’
The first eight awards of the night were handed out before the telecast began. Denis Villeneuve’s science-fiction epic ‘Dune’ won four Academy Awards before the televised show even began: production design, editing, sound and for Hans Zimmer’s score.
Following criticism in prior years of the lack of diversity at the awards, West Side Story star Ariana DeBose spoke of her pride of being an ‘openly queer woman of color’ as she won the best supporting actress Oscar.
The star, 31, collected her gong dressed in red Valentino trousers and a crop top and said her win was proof that ‘dreams do come true’.
DeBose spoke of her pride of being an ‘openly queer woman of colour’ as she won the best supporting actress Oscar
Troy Kotsur (L) accepts from South-Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “CODA” onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood
Canadian director Ben Proudfoot in the press room during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood
US actor Jake Gyllenhaal attends the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on Sunday
DeBose won the Academy Award on Sunday night for her acting, singing and dancing as Anita in her breakthrough role in the Steven Spielberg reimagining of the classic musical.
She becomes the first Afro-Latina and openly LGBTQ actor win in the category. ‘To anybody who has ever questioned your identity,’ she said, ‘I promise you there is a place for us.’
Largely unknown in film circles before landing the coveted role, the 31-year-old North Carolina native became the clear Oscar favorite after an awards season full of victories.
She was previously primarily known as a stage actress, with Broadway roles in ‘Bring It On: The Musical,’ ‘Motown: The Musical’ and ‘Hamilton.’
DeBose beat out fellow nominees Jessie Buckley, Judi Dench, Kirsten Dunst and Aunjanue Ellis. She thanked Rita Moreno, who starred in both 1961 and 2021 film adaptations.
Prior to the show, celebrities walked the Oscars red carpet, ready to celebrate the year in movies at a ceremony free of last year’s pandemic restrictions and promising a few plot twists as well as a moment of support for Ukraine.
Jessica Chastain, Nicole Kidman and other nominees donned a rainbow of colors outside the Dolby Theatre where 2,500 gown- and tuxedo-clad attendees were expected for the 94th Academy Awards.
Beyoncé kicked off the Oscars with pre-taped performance on the tennis courts where Venus and Serena Williams played as girls, in a tribute to the biopic King Richard, about the tennis stars’ upbringing
Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and Gerd Nefzer accept the Oscar for Best Visual Effects for “Dune” at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood on Sunday
‘My English is not enough to express all the feelings I am going through right now. It’s like a dream come true moment,’ said Ahn Hwitae, one of the stars of Japanese best picture nominee ‘Drive My Car.’
A dark Western, ‘The Power of the Dog,’ will battle feel-good deaf family drama ‘CODA’ for the prestigious best picture prize. A win by either movie would mark a milestone by handing the statuette to a streaming service.
Netflix Inc released ‘Power of the Dog’ while ‘CODA’ streamed on Apple TV+.
Producers said they planned an upbeat show but will acknowledge the crisis in Ukraine, which has killed thousands and driven a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes. Actor Mila Kunis, who was born in Ukraine, is among the night’s presenters. Jason Momoa wore a handkerchief in the colors of the Ukrainian flag: blue and yellow.
‘It’s really, really strange to be here in tuxedos, knowing what’s going on in Ukraine,’ said ‘Power of the Dog’ producer Emile Sherman. ‘It’s not an easy time trying to absorb what’s happening in that part of the world, while still celebrating the achievements of everyone who made this movie and all the movies here tonight.’
Actor Jamie Lee Curtis said she would deliver a tribute to acting legend Betty White, who died in December just shy of her 100th birthday.
Co-hosts Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall speak onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California
US actress and comedian Amy Schumer (L), US actress and comedian Wanda Sykes (C) and US actress Regina Hall speak onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on Sunday
Shaun White, Kelly Slater, and Tony Hawk attend the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles
Color reigned on the red carpet. Nominee Kodi Smit-McPhee wore a light blue suit, while Chastain donned a lavender and gold gown with giant ruffles on the skirt. Kirsten Dunst and Marlee Matlin chose bright red.
After past complaints about a lack of diversity, two of this year’s four acting accolades may go to people of color. Will Smith is likely to earn his first Oscar for ‘King Richard,’ awards watchers say, as is Ariana DeBose for ‘West Side Story.’
The best picture race hinges on whether the 9,900 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences back a gothic psychological thriller or an uplifting story.
‘Power of the Dog,’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a repressed cowboy who torments his brother’s new wife, outpaced all movies with 12 nominations. It had been considered the leader until ‘CODA’ landed top honors from the Screen Actors Guild and Producers Guild.
‘CODA’ tells the story of a hearing girl who serves as interpreter for her deaf family but longs to pursue a career in music. CODA is an acronym for ‘child of deaf adult.’
A screen shows the Oscars sign onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood
A traditional Hollywood studio could score an upset. Awards experts give an outside shot to Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Belfast,’ a film inspired by his childhood in Northern Ireland at the onset of the sectarian conflict known as the Troubles, or Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ remake.
‘King Richard’ star Smith is the best-actor favorite for playing the determined father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. Competitors include Cumberbatch and Andrew Garfield for musical ‘Tick, Tick … Boom!’
Best actress is the most unpredictable. Many experts say Chastain’s portrayal of TV evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker will triumph, though some give the edge to former ‘Twilight’ vampire Kristen Stewart for playing Princess Diana in ‘Spencer.’
In supporting actor categories, Afro-Latina actress DeBose is expected to prevail for her portrayal of Anita in ‘West Side Story.’ ‘CODA’ star Troy Kotsur could make history as the first deaf man to win an Oscar.
Oscars red carpet 2022: Lily James stuns in a racy pink lace gown while Best Actress nominee Olivia Colman sparkles in silver as they join Emilia Jones and Judi Dench leading the Brits on the red carpet
Gracing the star-studded red carpet, the Pam & Tommy star put on yet another daring display in a revealing pink lace gown, as she joined fellow UK favourites Dame Judi Dench and Emilia Jones at the ceremony.
Following it’s return to full form in the wake of the Covid pandemic, this year’s Oscars has seen huge recognition for British talent, with Kenneth Branagh‘s biopic Belfast also landing seven nominations including Best Picture.
Turning up the glamour, Lily showed off her phenomenal figure in the gorgeous number that also flaunted her ample assets with a daring neckline.
The dress also featured a long chiffon train and was adorned with intricate pink flowers sewn into the semi-sheer fabric.
She completed the look with a pair of chunky pink satin heels and wore a statement silver necklace to draw attention to her cleavage.
Wow! Lily put on a very leggy display in a daring pink lace dress with a dramatic thigh-high split, ensuring all eyes were on her in the pink lace Versace gown that showed off her toned and tanned pins
Style: The dress also featured a long chiffon train and was adorned with intricate pink flowers sewn into the semi-sheer fabric
Beauty: Turning up the glamour, she showed off her phenomenal figure in the gorgeous number that also flaunted her ample assets with a daring neckline
Cute! She later joined her musician boyfriend Michael Shuman on the red carpet and held his hand
Incredible: She completed the look with a pair of chunky pink satin heels and wore a statement silver necklace to draw attention to her cleavage
Exciting: The Academy Awards are taking place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on Sunday evening with comedians Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes as hosts and Beyonce as well as Billie Eilish as performers
Confident: She made sure all eyes were on her in the daring pink dress that showed off her endless legs
Design: The Versace dress featured thin straps over her shoulders and a longer train. It comes in the midst of a huge year for Lily following the release of Pam & Tommy
Lily wore her dark brunette tresses in a bouncy blow-dried style and opted for a typically glamorous makeup look.
Meanwhile Olivia, who has landed a Best Actress nod for her performance in Netflix’s film The Lost Daughter, exuded elegance in a silver metallic gown.
The former Oscar winner’s dress boasted a simple flowing skirt and a sophisticated high neck as she joined arrives ahead of the ceremony.
Adding a touch of glamour with diamond drop earrings, Olivia swept her brunette tresses into a coiffed beehive to allow her dress to take centre stage.
A vision: Meanwhile Olivia, who has landed a Best Actress nod for her performance in Netflix’s film The Lost Daughter, exuded elegance in a silver metallic gown
Flawless: Adding a touch of glamour with diamond drop earrings, Olivia swept her brunette tresses into a coiffed beehive to allow her dress to take centre stage
Hard to miss! The former Oscar winner’s dress boasted a simple flowing skirt and a sophisticated high neck as she joined arrives ahead of the ceremony
Supportive: Olivia was accompanied by her husband Ed Sinclair, who put on his own dapper display as they posed up a storm together on the red carpet
Jovial: The couple, who married in 2001, were every inch the picture perfect pair
Praised: Olivia was lauded for her role in The Lost Daughter, and landed a nomination for Best Actress
Emilia, who is the daughter of singer and presenter Aled Jones, looked stunning in a shimmering gold gown from Dolca and Gabbana with revealing cut-outs, which shimmered under the lights.
The CODA star’s chocolate tresses were swept up in an elegant high bun that showed off her dainty diamond earrings.
She opted for a full palette of makeup which accentuated her natural beauty as she posed up a storm for the cameras.
In Coda, Emilia plays 17-year-old Ruby, the only hearing member of a deaf family.
Gold standard! Emilia, who is the daughter of singer and presenter Aled Jones, looked stunning in a shimmering gold gown from Dolca and Gabbana with revealing cut-outs, which shimmered under the lights
Beautiful: The CODA star’s chocolate tresses were swept up in an elegant high bun that showed off her dainty diamond earrings
Revealing: Emilia opted for a full palette of makeup which accentuated her natural beauty as she posed up a storm for the cameras ahead of the ceremony
Role: In Coda, Emilia plays 17-year-old Ruby, the only hearing member of a deaf family
Proving she could still wow onlookers after decades in the film industry, Dame Judi opted for a simple white gown and a matching overcoat adorned with pearls.
The screen veteran, who has landed a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role in Belfast, was accompanied by her grandson Sam Williams on the red carpet.
Judi accessorised with a matching white clutch handbag and donned a flashy gold watch to match her rings.
The Academy Awards ceremony has returned to its regular venue of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California after being held at Union Station last year.
Family: Judi was accompanied by her grandson Sam Williams, who opted for a smart black tuxedo
In a rather bold move, the show will be hosted by a trio of stars in Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes as it has gone without a host over the last three years.
Netflix’s Power Of The Dog led nominations with 12 nods, including Best Picture, Best Director and recognition for all of its top actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Campion, a nominee for 1993′s The Piano, became the first woman to ever be nominated twice for best director.
Last year, Chloé Zhao became just the second woman to ever win the award. Campion’s director of photography, Ari Wegner, also became the second woman ever nominated for Best Cinematography.
Dune followed closely behind with 10 nominations spread out largely in the technical categories that rewarded the gargantuan craft of Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, yet unexpectedly bypassed Villeneuve’s direction.
The Warner Bros. release debuted simultaneously in theaters and — against the strenuous objections of its director — on HBO Max.
With The Power Of The Dog and Dune, the nominees for best picture are: Belfast, CODA, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Licorice Pizza, King Richard, Nightmare Alley and West Side Story.
No streaming service has ever won Best Picture, but half of the 10 nominees were released by streamers. This year, the odds may be better than ever that Netflix — which led all studios with 27 nominations — or another service will finally break through.
Apple TV+ notched its first best-picture nomination with the deaf drama CODA, which also made history as Supporting Actor nominee Troy Kotsur became only the second deaf actor ever nominated as his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin was the first in 1987.
Netflix backed The Power of the Dog and Adam McKay’s apocalyptic comedy Don’t Look Up. And both King Richard and Dune launched on HBO Max. Even the academy for the first time ruled out hard-copy DVD screeners for its members, who instead could watch submissions on the academy’s streaming platform.
It is also set to be a night of great musical performances as Beyonce and Billie Eilish are set to perform but outspoken vaccine skeptic Van Morrison is skipping Hollywood’s biggest night.
All three performers are nominated for Best Song along with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Diane Warren, whose songs will also be performed on the broadcast.
Pop superstar Beyonce’s Oscar-nominated ballad Be Alive was penned for tennis biopic King Richard, which stars Will Smith as the father of tennis greats Serena and Venus Williams.
Hollywood trade publication Variety reported that Beyonce will perform live from the tennis courts in Compton where the sisters played as children.
Eilish and her brother Finneas will perform No Time To Die from the recent James Bond movie.
But while Morrison, who wrote Down to Joy for Kenneth Branagh’s black-and-white childhood drama Belfast, was invited to perform at the star-studded gala, he ‘will not attend the Oscars due to his tour schedule,’ organizers said.
The singer, known as ‘Van the Man’ to his fans, is due to tour England in late March, before arriving in the US next month for further dates.
Morrison’s high-profile criticism of pandemic restrictions — including three anti-lockdown ‘protest songs’ — and opposition to vaccine mandates had led to questions about whether he would be welcomed at the Oscars.
The ceremony taking place Sunday in Hollywood requires nominees, guests and press to be vaccinated, although performers and presenters are reportedly able to attend without proof of vaccine if they undergo rigorous testing.
Miranda’s Dos Oruguitas from Disney animated movie Encanto will be performed by Sebastian Yatra.
Best known for creating Broadway sensation Hamilton, Miranda will attain the coveted and rare EGOT status for winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award if he wins on Sunday.
Warren’s song Somehow You Do from Four Good Days — which will be performed by Reba McEntire — is her 13th Oscar nomination, but she has never won.
Also performing at the Oscars will be an all-star band including Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, and DJ D-Nice.
There will also be many A-list presenters including Bill Murray, Lady Gaga, Kevin Costner, Samuel L. Jackson, Zoë Kravitz, Lupita Nyong’o. Anthony Hopkins, Lily James, Daniel Kaluuya, and Mila Kunis.
As if that already wasn’t enough John Leguizamo, Simu Liu, Rami Malek, Rosie Perez, Chris Rock, Naomi Scott, Wesley Snipes, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Yuh-jung Youn, Ruth E. Carter, Halle Bailey, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Jamie Lee Curtis, Woody Harrelson, Shawn Mendes, Tyler Perry, Tracee Ellis Ross, Stephanie Beatriz, DJ Khaled, Jennifer Garner, H.E.R., Tiffany Haddish, Tony Hawk, Elliot Page, Kelly Slater and Shaun White will also be taking to the stage.
One controversy which sprang up earlier this week, however was West Side Story star Rachel Zegler not being invited to the ceremony despite her film being nominated for seven awards.
Zegler, 20, created a bit of a firestorm on social media as she revealed over the weekend that she will not be in attendance at The Oscars despite being the lead – Maria Vasquez – for the Steven Spielberg directed flick.
She posted on Instagram Sunday that she tried to go but ‘it doesn´t seem to be happening’ and that she will be rooting for West Side Story from her couch.
‘I hope some last minute miracle occurs and I can celebrate our film in person but hey, that´s how it goes sometimes, I guess,’ Zegler continued on Instagram. ‘Thanks for all the shock and outrage – I´m disappointed, too. But that’s OK. So proud of our movie.However, on Tuesday it was reported by The Hollywood Reporter that she had been invited to present.