Historic Oscars Ceremony

Priya Kommu, Editor

While everyone is talking about The Slap, the 94th Oscars were historic for breaking many other records. First, the show was hosted by Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall. This was the first time that three women have hosted the Oscars together and the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic that the Oscars have had a host. The three comedians did well, with several hilarious bits and engaging content.

Ariana DeBose won Best Actress in a Supporting Role, which made her the first openly queer woman of color to win the award. DeBose won the award for her role as Anita in the 2021 reboot of  “West Side Story”. DeBose was the first to win an Oscar for the role of Anita. She was excellent as Anita, capturing the essence of the character and bringing her to life. “Now you see why Anita says, ‘I want to be in America,” DeBose said in her emotional acceptance speech, “Even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true, and that’s really a heartening thing right now.” 

DeBose also thanked Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the original “West Side Story” motion picture. DeBose addressed Moreno as “the divine inspiration that is Rita Moreno” saying, “you are staring at me right now and I’m so grateful. Your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me, and I love you so much.” Moreno won the Oscar for the role in 1962. 

DeBose finished her speech with a callback to her childhood, talking about a young girl in the back of a Ford Focus. She continued saying that looking into the girl’s eyes you see, “a queer—openly queer—woman of color and Afro Latina who found her strength in life through art, and that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate.” she concluded her speech with, “So, to anybody who has ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is, indeed, a place for us.” DeBose’s speech was beautiful and she accepted the award with grace. 

Troy Kotsur also set a record by being the first deaf man to win the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his role as Frank Rossi in “CODA” . His award came 35 years after his “CODA” costar Marlee Matlin became the first deaf person to ever win an Oscar. Kotsur also shared a heartfelt moment with Youn Yuh-jung who presented him with the award, and who also won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 2021. Kotsur gave an incredibly heartfelt acceptance speech which he delivered in American Sign Language. He spoke about the difficulties that deaf actors face and thanked the deaf theater stages where, “ I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor.” He also thanked his father, saying, “My dad, he was the best signer in our family. But he was in a car accident, and he became paralyzed from the neck down. And he no longer was able to sign. Dad, I learned so much from you. I’ll always love you. You are my hero.” Kotsur concluded his speech by thanking his family and dedicating his award to the deaf community. 

Additionally, Jane Campion became the third woman to win Best Director for “Power of the Dog”. In her speech she thanked the actors in the movie, her husband, and the producer. She also said, “I used to feel deeply cynical about awards nights like this, but tonight I’m really overwhelmed. In fact I’ve been close to tears a few times. And I’m just very pleased to be here and very proud to win this award.”

Overall, the Oscars this year were exciting for many reasons and will hopefully be remembered for the records they set and not the drama they caused.