15 best awards moments of 2022 including Sheryl Lee Ralph, ‘Squid Game,’ Chris Rock, Troy Kotsur and many more [WATCH]

With the last two years of showbiz awards being very erratic, 2022 seemed to be the first year in a while where everything was back to normal, or at least the closest thing to it. In the midst of a still ongoing pandemic, we managed to get a full slate of entertainment awards ceremonies and, with that, an entire slate of amazing moments that would define the year. Below, 15 of our site’s editors and contributors explain which moments were the best for them.

Many of these moments came from specific wins. Matthew Stewart was incredibly moved by Troy Kotsur’s Best Supporting Actor win at the Oscars. Daniel Montgomery loved “Squid Game” getting rewarded at this year’s Emmys and bringing attention to international productions. David Buchanan was over the moon when the recent revival of “Company” won five Tony Awards only seven months after the passing of the show’s composer, Stephen Sondheim.

Other chosen moments came outside of specific victories. Marcus James Dixon couldn’t believe how Chris Rock kept his composure after Will Smith delivered the slap heard around the world at the Oscars. Tony Ruiz was in awe of the performance of “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” by Chris Stapleton and Patty Loveless at the CMA Awards and Chris Beachum got the experience of a lifetime when he got to actually attend this year’s Emmy ceremony.

Enjoy our picks and take the time to watch (or re-watch) each moment listed below:

Sheryl Lee Ralph gives the acceptance speech of the decade at the Emmys
It might be incredibly tough to think of what would constitute a perfect acceptance speech, but Sheryl Lee Ralph gave a perfect example when she claimed Comedy Supporting Actress for “Abbott Elementary” at this year’s Emmys. She was visibly shocked when her name was called and that reaction continued through her getting up on stage. As she held her trophy, looking like a million bucks, with the audience in thunderous applause, she took a moment to soak in the moment before belting out the chorus of the Dianne Reeves song, “Endangered Species,” which earned her a SECOND standing ovation. She then implored people not to give up on their dreams and to continue to strive and believe and shouted out Quinta Brunson, her husband, her children and “everyone who voted for me, cheered for me, loved me. Thank you!” The audience rose once again to their feet. Several days later, Oprah Winfrey would send her a huge bouquet of flowers to the “Abbott” set with a card declaring it the greatest acceptance speech of all time.
Written by Charlie Bright

Getting to attend the Emmy ceremony
After following the Emmys since I was just eight years old, it was finally my turn to attend the actual ceremony in person this past September (not just the red carpet/press room but in the theater). It gives a person a whole new perspective to see what happens in the crazy moments leading up to the event as well as during the commercial breaks. One great moment was when Lizzo stunned everyone by winning the Best Reality Program award. We were sitting in the mezzanine just behind all the Lizzo contestants, director and others. They erupted and were standing up cheering (the NBC camera even showed them in our section). Their excitement didn’t go away for at least 30 more minutes as the rest of the ceremony rolled on.
Written by Chris Beachum

Michael Keaton Emmys 2022
Michael Keaton Emmys 2022

‘Squid Game’ makes Emmy history for international productions
The world is getting smaller, and that’s a good thing. Following “Parasite’s” historic Best Picture win at the Oscars, the Korean-language “Squid Game” became a Netflix phenomenon and won six Emmys including Best Drama Actor (Lee Jung-jae) and Best Drama Directing (Hwang Dong-hyuk). Hwang’s victory was especially gratifying since he was the show’s singular writer and director in its first season. And the success of the show as a whole demonstrates that great film and TV know no borders.
Written by Daniel Montgomery

‘Company’ revival wins 5 Tony Awards
On November 26, 2021, director Marianne Elliott had the unenviable task of sharing the news of composer Stephen Sondheim’s passing with the audience at a preview performance of her revival of the composer’s “Company.” How lovely that seven months later, though, the production that star Patti LuPone dedicated in his honor took home five Tony Awards, including Scenic Design, Featured Actor and Actress (Matt Doyle, LuPone), Musical Director (Elliott), and Musical Revival. Each acceptance speech was more joyous and heartfelt than the last, as every win served to celebrate the enduring impact of the legend’s work. While Sondheim has the most Tonys of any composer with seven competitive wins, his revivals have infrequently taken home the top honor, so “Company’s” successes at the 2022 Tonys felt especially poignant. May that love and admiration continue at next year’s ceremony, too, where his “Into the Woods” and “Sweeney Todd” will also both likely vie for the top prize.
Written by David Buchanan

Michael Keaton wins Best Movie/Limited Series Actor at SAG
Perhaps he didn’t peruse the order of presentation or just underestimated everyone’s bladder control, but Michael Keaton pulled a Christine Lahti at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. After Salma Hayek announced him as the limited/TV movie actor winner for “Dopesick,” she was left hanging for an interminable 33 seconds until Keaton came running up to the foot of the stage and rolled onto it to the delight of the crowd. “Thank you very much. Sorry, quick trip to the men’s room. It’s packed, by the way,” he quipped before making some cracks about how “self-serving” and “narcissistic” awards shows are. Just when you thought he was only going to be slinging jokes, Keaton — fitting for a performer who excels at comedy and drama — pivoted into sincerity, speaking about how grateful he is to be part of a profession that can spark conversation and change. Then, through tears, the actor closed with an emotional dedication to his sister, Pam, and late nephew, also named Michael, who died of an overdose in 2016. Keaton’s bathroom break may have been ill-timed, but he made his time on stage count.
Written by Joyce Eng

Julia Garner achieving her three-peat at the Emmys
“If you wanna stop me, you’re gonna have to f*cking kill me!” Julia Garner’s Ruth Langmore bellows at Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde after making a gut-wrenching discovery in the fourth and final season of “Ozark.” Garner shouts the final two words from the depths of her soul and combines unbridled rage and grief into an unforgettable line reading – one that, I firmly believe, singlehandedly earned the actor her third consecutive Emmy for Best Drama Supporting Actress. Heading into Emmy night on Sept. 12, I had my doubts that Garner would be able to pull off a three-peat for the Netflix drama, not least because her competition was ridiculously stacked and no performer had won thrice for the same show under the popular vote system. But when someone’s work is as undeniable as Garner’s in “Ozark’s” farewell installment, it’s just impossible to look away. So, while I, like Ruth, obviously didn’t know sh*t about f*ck, Emmy voters apparently did, because they made the right choice by giving Garner her well-deserved flowers a third time.
Written by Luca Giliberti

Chris Rock maintaining his cool after the Will Smith Oscar slap
When Chris Rock joked about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head due to alopecia at the 2022 Oscars ceremony, no one could have predicted the viral moment that followed. (If you’ve been living under a rock, Google “Will Smith slap” to see how it all played out.) Despite being cursed at and assaulted live on stage in front of billions of viewers, Rock remained a class act as he tried to make light of the situation and move on to presenting the next category. The results? Rock’s nationwide stand-up tour sold out and Smith’s standing in the industry was forever tarnished. #Karma
Written by Marcus James Dixon

Troy Kotsur’s Best Supporting Actor Oscar victory
Troy Kotsur’s 2022 awards run was bound to culminate in an Oscar victory, but the predictable win proved much more memorable than most. As if hearing presenter Yuh-jung Youn announce the charming “CODA” star as the Best Supporting Actor recipient wouldn’t have been thrilling enough, she made the moment even more special by first flashing the “I love you” sign that had become closely associated with the film. As the audience stood and waved their hands in silent applause, Kotsur delivered his touching acceptance speech in sign language as Youn graciously held his well-earned trophy in view. The enraptured look on her face as she watched him said all there was to say about the love that had only begun to be showered on “CODA” that night.
Written by Matthew Stewart

Chris Stapleton and Patty Loveless performing at the CMA Awards
The year’s best musical performance didn’t come from the Tonys, the Oscars or even the Grammys. Nope, it was the pairing of Chris Stapleton and Patty Loveless at the 2022 CMA Awards. Stapleton– who earned his record-breaking sixth prize for Male Vocalist of the Year– teamed up with the legendary Loveless to deliver a stripped down and haunting performance of Darrell Scott’s 1997 song “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” It was Country Music at its most powerful– a brilliant song, stripped down instrumentation, and soaring vocals. By mid-song, the entire audience was on its feet. In an era where pop and hip-hop flavored songs dominate Country radio, Stapleton and Loveless brought Country back to its roots, and the results were the best televised music performance of 2022.
Written by Tony Ruiz

Matthew Macfadyen wins Drama Supporting Actor Emmy for ‘Succession’
If there was only going to be one “Succession” actor recognized during the Primetime Emmy Awards this year, it would have been hard to pick someone more deserving than Matthew Macfadyen. The English actor had his best year yet on the HBO prestige series, mining great depth and pathos from Tom, a character so often left as the Roy family punchline. In Season 3, Tom punched back – his finale double-crosses felt worthy of the Corleones – and Macfadyen was up for the task. So when he pulled off a relative upset on Emmys night over his flashy costar Kieran Culkin, it left real “Succession” fans vibrating and wound up being one of the most well-deserved wins of the entire ceremony. “I’m deeply flattered and thrilled to bits,” Macfadyen said during his acceptance speech. “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to play this bonkers gift of a role.” Backstage at the show, Macfadyen joked that he had to buy Culkin dinner. Maybe an ortolan would be appropriate.
Written by Christopher Rosen

Jane Campion claims Best Director for ‘Power of the Dog’ at the Oscars
My first Oscar obsession was back when I was 15 years old. The 64th Academy Awards, honoring the best of cinema in 1993 was, for me, the best slate of Best Picture contenders ever. As a young cinephile, I was so taken with Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” not only for its artistry but because it represented the very best of Australian and New Zealand filmmaking, a subject I care about deeply. I knew she wasn’t going to win Best Director against Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, but I still hoped and prayed she would triumph. A screenplay consolation Oscar would have to suffice that year. Fast forward decades later to 2022 and I’m much older but no less enamored with Campion’s articulate and refined skill as an artist, adapting Thomas Savage’s acclaimed novel “The Power of the Dog” into a profoundly moving and visually and aurally immersive cinematic masterpiece. Up against Spielberg again, this time for his brilliant take on the classic musical ”West Side Story,” I knew it was finally her turn for the spotlight. Finally, one of the greatest filmmakers of our time won Best Director and I was so thrilled not only for her and the legacy she’ll leave one day on the artform both in the US and in Australia, but also for that 15-year-old kid who cares about and loved films and filmmakers. What a moment I’ll never forget.
Written by Rob Licuria

‘Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers’ wins Emmy for Best TV Movie
It seems often at awards when comedies have to compete against dramas, they come up short. Animation usually needs to be relegated to their own categories to land golden statues. So, when “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers” was nominated for Best TV Movie at the Emmys, I did not have high hopes. I grew up watching “Rescue Rangers” on Saturday mornings and got a kick out of seeing a modern incarnation of a beloved ‘90s cartoon simply recognized with a nomination. The meta comedy mystery that combined live action with 2D and 3D animation (Dale had CGI surgery) was exciting, clever and funny. But I did not expect a win against a slate of nominees that included the acclaimed drama “The Survivor.” So, it was a thrill while covering the Creative Arts Emmys on our Gold Derby live show that I got the news that the crime solving chipmunks had pulled off the Emmy feat. I should have remembered the old theme song which says, “it never fails once their involved.” Accepting the award, producer Alexander Young admitted, “Honestly, when we started developing a script eight years ago called ‘Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers: The Movie Nobody Asked For’ this is not the place that I thought we would be.” For me it was the most refreshing award win of the year.
Written by Matt Noble

Deirdre O’Connell wins the Tony for Lead Actress in Play
Most pundits declared Mary Louise Parker as the Tony frontrunner early in the season for “How I Learned to Drive” and never wavered. So, one can understand the gasps heard from the audience in Radio City Music Hall when Deirdre O’Connell, the unofficial queen of Off-Broadway, was announced as the winner. O’Connell’s upset victory for “Dana H.” provided a rare moment for the Tonys to honor daring, experimental theater which isn’t often produced on the commercial stages of Broadway. Her entirely lip-synced performance remains one of the most highly specific and thrilling displays I’ve ever seen on a stage. I’d wager that I’ll never see anything like it again in my life. O’Connell fittingly closed her acceptance speech by encouraging other artists to follow their creative impulses, even if they are unconventional: “Please let me standing here be a little sign to you from the universe to make the weird art.”
Written by Sam Eckmann

Jennifer Coolidge wins Emmy gold for ‘The White Lotus’
It was immediately clear that Jennifer Coolidge, after winning the Limited/Anthology Supporting Actress Emmy for HBO’s “White Lotus,” was going to have trouble moving. Her off-the-shoulder green sequined gown was at least two sizes too small, essentially outlining her generous, curvy figure as if in a casing. “I just want to say,” she began, “I took a lavender bath tonight right before the show and it made me swell up inside my dress. And I’m having a hard time speaking.” At this point. Coolidge begins to unwrap a small piece of paper from her right hand and began reading off her thank-yous. Then the play-off music starts. “Wait hold on! No! This is a once in a lifetime thing and I’m full, I’m full!” As she utters the words, she motions around her midsection with her hands to indicate just how full she really is. She starts to read more names until the music grows louder, jazzier, more insistent. “Wait! Hold on! Wait, hold on. OK.” Coolidge finally surrenders to the music and begins to hilariously shimmy to it as the audience bursts into raucous cheers.
Written by Ray Richmond

Jon Batiste’s Grammy shocker for Album of the Year
Oscar winner Jon Batiste added five Grammys to his mantle at the 64th annual ceremony in April. None was more thrilling than his upset over Billie Eilish (“Happier Than Ever”) for Album of the Year. Gold Derby odds had Batiste ranked fifth going into the night and considering “We Are” lost Best R&B Album to Jazmine Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales,” nobody imagined he’d rebound for the evening’s biggest honor. Indeed, he did, and the look of genuine shock as Lenny Kravitz read his name was priceless. “This is for real artists, real musicians,” said the genreless virtuoso who has performed with everyone from Prince to Willie Nelson. He became the first Black artist to win the award in 14 years, following Herbie Hancock (“River: The Joni Letters”) in 2008.
Written by Denton Davidson

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