By Camille Cox | Staff Writer
This year’s award show brought up viewing from last year, going from 9.6 million to 15.4 million viewers, the New York Times reported. The Oscars have yet to top the record viewing of the 1998 awards ceremony, in which “Titanic” swept the categories for awards.
Vanity Fair has dubbed this year’s ceremony to be remembered by the “slap heard ’round the world.” Actor Will Smith slapped actor and award presenter Chris Rock after Rock made a comment about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Their exchange of words was cut from the live feed due to vulgar language, yet audience members were shocked to learn the encounter was thought to be entirely unscripted. While no immediate action was taken, the academy has condemned and started an inquiry into Smith’s aggression, referencing its standards of conduct and California law. However, shortly after the encounter, Smith won the Oscar for best actor for his role in “King Richard.”
While “Power of the Dog” was the most nominated film of the evening, “Dune” won the most awards, taking home six Oscars. The winner of best picture was “Coda,” which several outlets predicted prior to the award ceremony.
Artist Megan Thee Stallion even joined in to perform the hit song from “Encanto,” “We Don’t Talk about Bruno.”
“As an ensemble number, ‘Bruno’ set a Billboard record for the biggest number of primary artists named on a No. 1 Hot 100 single, with Adassa (who voiced Dolores), Stephanie Beatriz (Mirabel), Mauro Castillo (Felix), Carolina Gaitan (Pepa) and Diane Guerrero (Isabela) all receiving top billing on the song,” Variety reported.
Prior to the best animated film’s featured song performance, artists Billie Eilish and FINNEAS joined together to perform the best song winner, “No Time to Die,” being the third James Bond theme song to win the title in a row.
Jane Campion won the best director title for her work in “The Power of the Dog.” This was the first time this Oscar has gone back-to-back to women. The Oscar was awarded to Chloé Zhao last year for “Nomadland.” In her acceptance speech, Campion caught the attention of listeners as she turned to tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams, stating that “you do not play against the guys like I have to.” The New York Times reported that Campion later apologized for her remarks.
The most memorable moment of the 93rd awards show was Smith and Rock’s encounter. Rock tried to joke about Smith’s wife’s haircut, saying that she was in “G.I. Jane 2.” Jada Pinkett Smith has been publicly vocal about her struggle with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. Smith fired back at Rock in defense of his wife while Jada Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes at the jab. Viewers at home experienced several seconds of silence, as the conversation was too vulgar for live television. Rock exclaimed “That was the greatest night of television” after Smith’s slap and words. In Smith’s speech accepting his award for best actor, he apologized to the academy and fellow nominees for his earlier behavior. And on Monday, Smith publicly apologized to Rock on Instagram, explaining his emotional reaction.
While awards season continues, this is only the start to eye-catching moments and surprise winners.