The Standout Moments of the 2022 Oscars

Words by
Lee Cassanell

28th March 2022

This year’s Academy Awards Ceremony was hit and miss. 

Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock 
A moment that might usher in a wave of standup comedians wearing suits of armour on stage. Chris Rock had a pop at Jada-Pinkett Smith’s haircut and the Fresh Prince seemed to be laughing at the joke - only to stride on the stage seconds later, slap Rock, stride back to his chair and shout “Keep my wife’s name out of your f**cking mouth.” Oh, and Smith picked up the Oscar later in show for Best Actor. A few scattered murky outposts on social media have hailed Smith’s reaction, the majority have been wondering what kind of message it sends out if a comedian is assaulted on stage in front of millions of people for telling a joke and is subsequently given a prize and a standing ovation. 

Daniel Kaluuya takes the stage to Toto’s ‘Africa’.
Last year’s Oscar winners Daniel Kaluuya and H.E.R. take to the stage to present the award for Best Supporting Actress to the sound of 80’s yacht rock classic ‘Africa’ by the band Toto. Some immediately commented that it was an appropriate choice of music to lead in two black presenters but perhaps it was one off mistake, only for Latina actress, Stephanie Beatriz, to be introduced to Madonna’s ‘La Isla Bonita’ later in the show. Ridiculous, maybe, but before the knives come out it’s worth noting that that this years Oscars, led by Will Packer, was the first all-Black production team in the show’s history. 

John Travolta and Uma Thurman dance on stage. 
Many thought it was Bruce Willis taking to the stage with Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson to present the award for Best Actor, only to remember that these days, John Travolta has embraced his baldness full-time. To the sound of Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’, Thurman and Travolta break into an impromptu, but almost certainly scripted recreation of their famous dance scene from Pulp Fiction. The audience that wasn’t cringing off camera applauded. When all three stars embarked on some short play comparing the briefcase in Pulp Fiction to the briefcase containing the Oscar winner card, everyone was certain it wasn’t Tarantino that wrote the script. 

Amy Schumer is back in the spotlight. 
There was a time when Amy Schumer was Hollywood hot property but after a series of flops and constant accusations of joke theft and plagiarism, she faded into the background, only to return as if nothing ever happened to co-host the Oscars. Schumer made a joke about Leonardo DiCaprio saying “He’s done so much to fight climate change and leave a cleaner, greener planet for his girlfriends.” A very similar joke was tweeted by @NicoleConlan last year but, for the record, Schumer has never been convicted of plagiarism. 

The upbeat ‘In Memoriam’ segment. 
A mixture of uplifting gospel music, dancing and Jamie Lee-Curtis petting a dog and talking about Betty White, the In Memorium section of the Oscars was far more cheery than usual, a celebration of the life of the stars that have passed away since the last award ceremony rather than five minutes of mourning. All that is fine, but you can almost see the meeting when the production team got together and someone said "Jeez, that In Memoriam section really ruins the mood, let’s lighten it up a little.’