Oscars: 'CODA' Is Best Picture, Jane Campion Makes History, Will Smith's Punch Takes Centre Stage

Will Smith, who won best actor, appeared to slap Chris Rock over a joke he made on his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

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New Delhi: Best actor winner Will Smith smacked Oscars presenter Chris Rock in the face after taking offence to a joke made by the latter which referenced the hairstyle of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, at the 94th Academy Awards.

Meanwhile, Jane Campion smashed records as she won the best director Academy Award for her psychological drama Western The Power of the Dog.

This is her first Oscar win in the category. She also became the first woman to have been nominated twice in the best directing category and the only the third woman after Chloe Zhao’s win last year for Nomadland and Kathryn Bigelow’s win for Hurt Locker in 2010.

The best picture Oscar this time also went to a woman-directed film, CODA, which also won Sian Heder the Oscar for adapted screenplay.

Actor Jessica Chastain bagged her maiden Oscar trophy for her portrayal of American evangelist Tammy Faye Messner in the biographical drama The Eyes of Tammy Faye.

The actor faced strong competition from past Oscar winners Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter), Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos). Kristen Stewart of Spencer fame was also nominated in the category.

Smith versus Rock

Smith, who was nominated for best actor for King Richard, slapped Rock over a joke he made where he referenced the movie G.I. Jane in which actress Demi Moore had shaved her head.

After what appeared to be a scripted confrontation, the mood turned somber when Smith returned to his seat and shouted back: “Keep my wife’s name out of your f*cking mouth.”

Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes your hair to come out, often in clumps. She publicly revealed her diagnosis in 2018.

Up until the altercation between the two stars, the show had been running fairly smoothly. In major highlights, Ariana DeBose became the first Afro-Latina to win an Academy Award for supporting actress. Troy Kotsur became the first deaf actor to win an acting award.

‘Writing with Fire’

Writing With Fire, the Indian documentary that chronicled the running of Khabar Lahariya, a news outlet led by Dalit women and run entirely by women, lost to Summer of Soul (Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) in the best documentary feature category.

Summer Of Soul is directed by the Roots frontman Ahmir Thompson, best known by his stage name Questlove. For the film, Thompson arranged the never-seen-before archival footage of the Harlem Cultural Festival, celebrating African American music and culture, and promoting Black pride and unity, attended by 300,000 people in the summer of 1969.

Also read: ‘Writing With Fire’ Tells a Story of Many Fights

Dune wins big in early categories

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, nominated in 10 categories, won early Oscars for the best sound, best editing, best cinematography, best score, best production design and best visual effects in the controversial pre-taped announcement by the Academy this year.

The Academy had decided to pre-tap eight of this year’s Oscars categories, also including documentary short, makeup/hairstyling, production design, animated short, live-action short and sound.

Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett were the winners for Dune in the best sound category, which also had nominations from Belfast, No Time to Die, The Power of the Dog and West Side Story.

Legendary composer Hans Zimmer, who is known for scoring most of the Christopher Nolan’s films, walked away with the best original score trophy for Dune.

Sean Penn’s Zelenskyy call

Actor Sean Penn, meanwhile, had called for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be offered a stage at the Academy Awards ceremony.

Taking issue with those who said films and politics should be separated, Penn told CNN’s Jim Acosta, “There is nothing greater that the Academy Awards could do than to give him [Volodymyr Zelenskyy] the opportunity to talk to all of us.”

The actor also said that Zelenskyy himself was a member of the television fraternity. “This is a man who understands television and who has had his own and very long and successful career,” Penn told CNN.

(With inputs from PTI, Reuters and DW)