The Assault, The Unexpected Winners: This Year's Academy Awards is Quite a Story

Smacking of the presenter by the winner, unexpected winners, no major favorites among nominees, this year's Oscar awards is quite a story.

For decades, the Academy Awards, informally known as the Oscars, is one of Hollywood's glitzy annual affairs and the world's most prestigious award-giving body in motion pictures. 

Most of its nominees, especially in the best picture category, are dominated by commercially-successful, not just critically-acclaimed, films, however, this year, perhaps due to the pandemic, most of the nominated films are virtually unknown to the movie goers.

The shocking assault

This year's Oscars might go down in history as the only staging (so far) of the Academy Awards where an assault happened in a live broadcast.

Best Actor winner, Will Smith, smacked Chris Rock

It occurred when Best Actor winner, Will Smith (King Richard) slapped Chris Rock on stage while receiving his Best Actor trophy, to the horror of live audience.

Smith was incensed with Chris Rock's not-so-funny joke about Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. Jada has been open about her struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that leads to hair loss.

Will Smith and wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, her baldness is due to alopecia, an autoimmune disorder

The Academy Awards is being presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and honored the best films released between March 1 and December 31 the previous year.

The most nominated film this year is "The Power of the Dog" with 12 but managed to win only one, the Best Director for Jane Campion, only the third woman to win an Oscar for Best Director. 

The Power of the Dog is a psychological drama in a cowboy theme that tackled homosexuality, abuse, alcoholism and revenge. 

Timothee Hal Chalamet starred in Dune as Paul Atreides

Dune is the film with the most awards, winning six out of its 10 nominations. It is an epic fantasy science-fiction film starring Timothee Hal Chalamet as Paul Atreides, the ducal heir of the House of Atreides. 

The Best Picture:

Most winners of this year's Academy Awards were underdogs, for instance, the best picture winner. CODA (Child Of Deaf Adults), an indie film and the first streaming film (released in Apple TV streaming platform) to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars.

CODA caught the attention of Apple TV executives when it was exhibited in the Sundance Film Festival  2021 and received numerous awards including the grand jury prize.

CODA was written and directed by Sian Heder and tells the story of a young girl, Ruby Rossi (played by Emilia Jones) born in the family of deaf. Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. 

Interestingly, all three persons who played the roles of Frank Rossi, the father (Troy Kotsur), Leo Rossi, the brother (Daniel Durant) and Jackie Rossi, the mother (Marlee Matlin) are all deaf in real life.

Marlee Matlin won Best Actress in the 1987 Academy Awards for her role in the movie, "Children of the Lesser God", making her the first deaf person ever to win at the Oscars.

CODA received three nominations at the 94th Academy Awards and won all of it: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur.

Troy Kotsur who played as the patriarch in the family. And made Oscars history when he took home the best supporting actor award, became the second deaf performer who won in the Academy Awards after his co-star, who played his wife, Marlee Matlin in 1987.

This is the second straight year also in the Oscars that the Best Director winner is a female. Last year, the winner was Chloe Zhao for the movie, Nomadland.

Power of the Dog

This year's Oscar favorites and the film with the most nominations, "Power of the Dog"  talks about homosexuality, alcohol abuse, bullying and revenge, making it a dark drama.

So what's the meaning of the title, Power of the Dog? Ironically, this movie doesn't talk about dogs. It's based in the 1960s novel of the same title. And taken from the verse of the bible in the book of Psalm. 

In the final scene of the movie, Phil dies, and during the burial rites, Peter reads the verse in Psalm 22: "Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog". This verse in the bible has a literal explanation of "Save me and spare my precious life from bullies and abusers".

Other winners:

Best Director: Jane Campion, Power of the Dog
Best Actor: Will Smith, King Richard
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Best Supporting Actress: Anna DeBose, West Side Story
Best Original Screenplay: Belfast
Best Foreign Film: Drive My Car (from Japan)
Best Animated Film: Encanto
Best Documentary Feature: Summer of Soul
Best Documentary Short Subject - The Queen of Basketball
Best Live Action Short Film: The Long Goodbye
Best Animated Short Film: The Windshield Wiper
Best Original Score: Dune
Best Original Song: No Time To Die from the movie, James Bond's No Time To Die
Best Sound: Dune
Best Production Design: Dune
Best Cinematography: Dune
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Best Costume Design: Cruella
Best Film Editing: Dune
Best Visual Effects: Dune

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