Oscars: the triumph of “Coda”, humor and a great moment of discomfort with Will Smith

It was a crazy movie night, full of surprises – good and not so good. The Oscars held their 94th ceremony last night – after two years of a pandemic and a distanced event in 2021 in the Los Angeles train station – at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, as in the great era. With the time difference, the event, broadcast live on Canal +, began at midnight French time.

For the first time, the Academy of Oscars had organized in Paris a “French Oscar Party” at Blanche (Paris 9th) to which we were invited, with a cocktail and dinner washed down with rosé champagne Fleur de Miraval by Brad Pitt. The French film community and a few Americans were there – including Florian Zeller, the author and director of “The Father”, winner of two statuettes last year, Maïmouna Doucouré, the director of “Mignonnes”, Jérémy Clapin , director of “I lost my body”, or the great producer Jean-Louis Livi… – before the live broadcast of the ceremony.

A stunning red carpet

Around midnight, the parade of stars began on the red carpet of the Dolby Theater, along which were massed onlookers, TV crews and journalists. All in good humor and a crazy atmosphere of reunion after two years of scarcity. Fans and viewers were amazed. Steven Spielberg, who arrived quite early, took the time to embrace the entire team of his “West Side Story”, followed shortly after by Nicole Kidman, in the running for “Being the Ricardos” (Amazon Prime Video), majestic and smiling in an amazing gray-blue princess dress.

Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” team (seven nominations), all Irish actors and technicians, then made the fun last on the carpet, just before the arrival of Benedict Cumberbatch – in a tuxedo jacket adorned with a blue badge and yellow to mark his solidarity with Ukraine – and of his wife Sophie Hunter. Timothée Chalamet, shirtless under his sequined jacket, made a passage that triggered the screams of the fans, just like the great Liv Ullmann, as well as Zendaya, all dressed in lamé.

We can’t name them all, the hubbub was so joyous: “It’s madness on the mat! exclaimed Didier Allouch, who was covering the star parade live for Canal +, just before the impressive Williams sisters, Anthony Hopkins, who won the best actor statuette last year for “The Father”, appeared. , Kevin Costner, imperial and smiling, then Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett, molded in a staggering black dress with an endless Catwoman-style train. In terms of dresses, we were treated to a festival of colors, from gold (Jessica Chastain), dark blue (Penélope Cruz), satin pink (Mila Kunis), to micro shorts and a men’s tuxedo jacket so beautifully worn by Kristen Stewart.

Big atmosphere on stage and in the room

From the start of the ceremony shortly after 2 a.m., the tone was set by the three mistresses of ceremony, Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes: unsheathing non-stop valves, gently making fun of the films and stars in the room. The palm to Amy Schumer, a real machine for delivering killer jokes: “ Power Of The Dog is the big favorite of the evening, I saw it, well I saw the beginning. I watch a bit of it every week! “Or again:” you were all heroic during the pandemic, you continued to make films. Well, not necessarily good films, huh. That said, I haven’t seen any! I have an excuse, I’m a mother of a toddler. Ah yes, sorry, suddenly I saw Encanto 109 times! “Throughout the evening, the three hostesses, sometimes in disguise, set fires.

What songs!

At the very beginning of the evening, it was Beyoncé who got the ball rolling for this very musical ceremony by performing the song “Be Alive”, from the film “The Williams Method”, from the Compton tennis court (located 30 minutes from the Dolby Theatre) where the Williams sisters got their start. Others have succeeded him, including Billie Eilish for a very touching sequence with the song “To die can wait”. But the craziest moment came around 3 a.m., when the entire cast of singers from the animated film “Encanto” sang the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” among the stars in the room, before to finish at 40 on stage or standing on the tables, accompanying the notes with beautiful choreography. One of those crazy, colorful, exciting moments, of which the Oscars have the secret.

Great moments of emotion

We didn’t just laugh during this ceremony. The first moving sequence came with the Oscar for best actor in a supporting role awarded to Troy Kotsur for “Coda”, the first deaf actor to receive an Oscar. Kotsur, who takes over the role of François Damiens in “La Famille Bélier”, paid tribute to his father, who mastered sign language before being disabled following an accident and no longer being able to move his limbs. Troy Kotsur also recalled that the film had been shown at the White House, and he thanked its director, Siân Heder, for having succeeded in “getting the deaf and hearing people communicate” thanks to this film.

Shortly after, Mila Kunis, of Ukrainian origin, came to recall that her people at war were resisting but were plunged into great suffering. A card then appeared on the screen asking the room for a moment of silence in tribute to Ukrainians, followed by another asking for donations via the hashtag #standwith Ukraine.

Later, another great moment of emotion came from the appearance on stage of Francis Ford Coppola, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino for the 50th anniversary of the “Godfather”. Other highlights: the one celebrating the 28th anniversary of “Pulp Fiction” which brought together Uma Thurman and John Travolta on stage, and the arrival of Lady Gaga and Lisa Minelli in wheelchairs to present the Oscar for best film.

Will Smith’s discomfort and tears

A sequence as unexpected as it was embarrassing created great discomfort at 4:15 a.m. The comedian and actor Chris Rock, who came to present the Oscar for best documentary, launched into a series of full-bodied jokes of which he has the secret, laughing, among other things, on the shaved haircut of Jada Pinkett-Smith – she is affected of a disease, alopecia, otherwise known as “pelade” – and his possible participation in the film “GI Jane”.

Will Smith then suddenly got up to go and slap Rock, before leaving to sit down next to his wife. We thought it was a skit for a few seconds, until Smith shouted from his seat, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!” “The use of the word” fuck “, strictly prohibited at the Oscars, demonstrating that the actor was beside himself and had really had a stroke. We could then hear the flies flying around the room.

Then, receiving the Oscar for best actor a few minutes later, Will Smith then began, in tears, a speech where he said “going through a moment in my life when I am led to protect others” – his wife in particular. Directly referring to the incident – which should have consequences in the coming days – he said he was in a position where he must “face the teasing and disrespect while giving love” and held to apologize to the Academy of Oscars. “I love my mother, my family, my wife,” he concluded. The heavy atmosphere that ensued was warmed up by, once again, Amy Schumer, who burst in by launching that “the atmosphere seemed to have changed” and that she must have “missed something”!

The triumph of “Coda” saves the evening… and France

If the main favorites won – Best Original Screenplay for ‘Belfast’, Best Animated Film for ‘Encanto’, Best Song for Billie Eilish and ‘Dying Can Wait’, Best Director for Jane Campion and ‘The Power Of the Dog’ (the third woman to win the award after Kathryn Bigelow for “Deminers” in 2010 and Chloé Zhao last year for “Nomadland”), six technical Oscars for “Dune”, best actress for Jessica Chastain in “In the eyes of Tammy Faye “, the Oscar awarded to Will Smith after” the incident “with Chris Rock seemed to have killed the evening.

Then “Coda” arrived, winning three Oscars for three nominations: best actor in a supporting role, best adapted screenplay, and especially best film. This award, the most prestigious, was greeted by the whole room, the stars, all smiles, mimicking applause in sign language. With this box of the remake of “La Famille Bélier”, France is somewhat rewarded: on stage, the French producer of the film, Philippe Rousselet, recalled the links of “Coda” with our country”, while a young woman translated her speech into sign language, the ultimate emotion…

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Oscars: the triumph of “Coda”, humor and a great moment of discomfort with Will Smith