Oscars: Good (trio of hosts), bad (pre-show awards) and ugly (Will Smith slaps Chris Rock)

For the awards-obsessed writers and editors of Gold Derby, the Oscars are like every Christmas, birthday and wedding rolled into one. We eagerly await the announcements of the winners in every category, analyze the surprises and snubs, celebrate our own savvy predictions, and bemoan those whose predictions showed us up.

Below are our collective thoughts on the highs, lows and WTF moments of the 2022 Oscars ceremony on Sunday night. And check out the complete list of winners here.


The hosts! After years of going hostless, many were skeptical if Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes would have the chemistry to light up the screen. Their skits were funny and each of them made me laugh with their own unique delivery – Denton Davidson

It’s never happened before that my favorite movie of the year won the Best Picture Oscar, so I did a double take when Lucille Two announced the word “CODA.” The movie was sheer joy from start to finish, especially when compared to the colder-feeling “The Power of the Dog.” This will go down as one of the biggest underdog stories in the history of the Oscars – Marcus James Dixon

“Dune” won the most Oscars of the evening, which is a small consolation for the cruel BestDirector snub of Denis Villeneuve. Also, superstar triple threat Ariana DeBose becomes the first openly queer acting winner. With an incredible speech to boot! Get it, Anita! – Sam Eckmann

The rawness of the speeches! All four acting winners delivered memorable speeches that will be looked back upon, Questlove’s speech was unexpectedly emotional, Jenny Beavan’s speech was fun. So many of them proved how viral moments can come from the unplanned, including from the categories that deserve to be aired live – Kevin Jacobsen

Congratulations to “CODA” on winning all three of its categories, including Best Picture. This is a zeitgeist choice, a balm of a film that we need in this very dire time. Congratulations to “Dune” for a field-leading six Oscars too. And, for personal reasons, congratulations to Campion for winning Best Director for “The Power of the Dog” – Rob Licuria

Lady Gaga wins the good sport award. Snubbed for her leading performance in “House of Gucci,” she still came to the Oscars and gladly played a supporting role to Liza Minnelli during the presentation of the Best Picture prize. Class all the way – Paul Sheehan

Jane Campion finally wins her overdue Oscar for “The Power of the Dog,” a film with a story that could have gone so wrong in the wrong hands. Campion made Thomas Savage‘s novel sing out loud and crafted a haunting film that will be remembered for a long time. After abstaining from them last year, the Oscar producers included clips for the actors this year and made mostly amazing decisions when it came to highlighting some of their best work from their nominated films. (They could have found a better clip for Kodi Smit-McPhee though!) – Luca Giliberti

DeBose and Troy Katsur delivered two of the most beautiful, iconic speeches in recent Oscar history. These were reminders that Oscar-winners give speeches that often resonate beyond the individual win or ceremony These were two speeches that will stand the test of time – Tony Ruiz

SEE 2022 Oscar winners list in all 23 categories: Who won at 94th Academy Awards?


The Oscars ceremony needs an overhaul. From beginning to end. We need to find a more innovative, exciting way to present the greatest show on Earth. Because what we got this year was messy, stilted, bloated, boring and asinine – Rob Licuria

The moved 8 categories to pre-show and the ceremony STILL ran 30+ minutes overtime? Cut the fat, Oscars! – Sam Eckmann

The “Dune” sweep of technical awards. Don’t get me wrong, “Dune” is a fantastic film and a marvel to watch, but did it have to win almost everything below the line? I would have loved to see “Nightmare Alley” win just one – Denton Davidson

Not enough Amy, Wanda and Regina! The trio were spectacular as co-hosts and incredibly funny throughout (whenever they were shown). Let’s bring them back next year so they can entertain us yet again – Marcus James Dixon

Downgrading over one-third of the awards to the pre-telecast and then still being the longest show since 2018, Shameful – Paul Sheehan 

While many of the winners were deserving, the academy’s picks weren’t very adventurous this year. Very few inspired upsets, with even the “CODA” Best Picture win being predicted by so many leading up to the night. I thought the newer, international membership might shake things up but alas – Kevin Jacobsen

The lack of winners from international films. The motion picture academy is supposedly an increasingly international voting body, but that was not reflected in this year’s winners. “Drive My Car” walked home with the Best International Film Oscar but wasn’t rewarded in any of its three other categories. Despite making history with its three nominations, “Flee” walked home empty-handed, as did “The Worst Person in the World,” which to many appeared to be a strong contender for Best Original Screenplay. The academy has more work to do in this regard than they may want to admit – Luca Giliberti

Inexplicable choices in production. You don’t have Judi Dench and Rami Malek in the audience only to have three athletes present a tribute to James Bond – Tony Ruiz


Will Smith slapping and cursing at Chris Rock is probably the grossest thing I’ve ever seen on an Oscars telecast. And sadly, this will be the only thing people will be talking about tomorrow — as opposed to “CODA’s” well-deserved triumph. Sigh – Marcus James Dixon

We really all just watched the Best Actor winner assault someone on national television. Was the joke low hanging fruit? Yes. Was violence a productive response? Nope. It changed the tone of the entire evening, and not for the better – Sam Eckmann

The “people’s vote” of random clips and film moments from “popular” films. They weren’t presented well and felt completely unnecessary. Did anyone really tune in for this? – Denton Davidson

On top of the Smith moment casting a pall over everything that followed, the overall presentation felt almost disrespectful to those of us who truly love movies, making cheap shots at nominated films, the baffling Twitter-voted awards, the upbeat tone of the In Memoriam, the rushed edited packages for the awards presented in the pre-show, etc. It didn’t feel very “Movie Lovers Unite” – Kevin Jacobsen

The disrespect that was shown toward the craftspeople this year was unforgivable. While the speeches of the eight pre-show winners were woven into the main telecast, it felt as though they were very much an afterthought. Whoever made this decision is trying to please an audience that isn’t there. It is film lovers first and foremost that are not only tuning into the ceremony but also keeping the Oscars relevant in general — and they would be more than happy to see all 23 awards handed out LIVE on the main telecast. “The Power of the Dog” taking home just one out of 12 awards. Netflix deserved to finally take home its first Best Picture win for this film, one that beautifully told a story about (toxic) masculinity, misogyny, classicism, sexual repression, etc. It is particularly a shame to see DP Ari Wegner‘s extraordinary work on the film ignored — work that, if rewarded, could have led her to become the first female DP to win a Best Cinematography Oscar. There was a lot of history made tonight and this victory should have been part of it – Luca Giliberti

Smith’s behavior. Enough Said – Tony Ruiz

The now-infamous Smith/Rock altercation will go down in history as one of the worst moments of live television ever. What does a moment like this mean for our culture, or for society? Is violence the answer when we are offended? And should comedians be more mindful of who they target when cracking jokes? Should they steer clear of someone’s appearance? These are all questions we’ll be asking ourselves for some time to come. But this was an ugly moment that cast a pall over the ceremony, particularly Smith’s tearful acceptance speech when he subsequently won the Oscar – Rob Licuria

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