Staff Writer: Emily Werner
Ah, the Academy Awards – specifically the Oscars. It is an exclusive event where people get awards for doing their jobs. This year’s Oscars took place on March 27th and ran for almost four hours. People have only been talking about a 30-second clip, but there has to be more to talk about than Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Oh wait, there is!
The most important award in the whole show is Best Picture. This year, it went to CODA (an acronym for Children of Deaf Adults), a film largely about a high schooler who is the only hearing member of her family and how she navigates both hearing and deaf worlds. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Apple bought it for a record $25 million, according to IndieWire. It paid off. Apple became the first streaming service to win Best Picture. CODA’s Marlee Matlin made history in 1987 when she became the first deaf person to ever win an Oscar. She held this title for 35 years. Her CODA costar, Troy Kotsur, won best supporting actor this year, making history as the first deaf man to win an Oscar for acting. Matlin and Kotsur hope to “open the floodgates” for future deaf actors.
Ariana DeBose won best supporting actress for her role as Anita in West Side Story. DeBose, who is queer and Afro-Latina, made history as the first openly LGBTQ+ woman of color to win the category. The last time a Hispanic actress won the same award was 1962 when Rita Moreno won for her role as Anita in the original West Side Story. Yes. The same role, 60 years apart.
Jessica Chastain won her first-ever Oscar for her role as Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Going up against household names such as Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Stewart, and Olivia Colman, many Twitter users expected any one of those women to take it home. The Eyes of Tammy Faye wasn’t even on their radar. However, Chastain won and it was well deserved. Chastain used her speech to speak out about the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation happening in Florida, showing her support for the LGBTQ+ community. It was a beautiful speech and a great moment for the actress.
Will Smith won his first Oscar this year for best actor for his role in King Richard, but audiences couldn’t even be happy for him after that weird alpha-male thing he pulled. Rock’s joke wasn’t okay either. Both were in the wrong.
This year’s Oscars was one for the books. It shouldn’t be remembered for a tasteless joke followed by an assault. Deaf people made history. Ariana DeBose made big strides for queer people, Afro-Latinas, and queer Afro-Latinas everywhere. Jessica Chastain won her first Oscar and used her speech to call out Florida’s disgusting “Don’t Say Gay” bill.