The 94th Academy Awards aired on Sunday, March 27 on ABC live from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. For the first time in four years, the festivities featured not just one host, but three: Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall, and Amy Schumer, each of whom brought her unique style and sense of humor to the job.
The stars were out in full force to celebrate the best in cinema from 2021, with movies like Power of the Dog, Dune, Belfast, and West Side Story dominating the nominations. Eight awards were handed out and accepted prior to the live telecast in order to streamline the process (which was still three hours long!), mostly for behind-the-scenes roles like film editing, makeup and hairstyling, and production design. This year also added a new category: Fan favorite movie, which was voted on by viewers via Twitter using the hashtag #OscarsFanFavorite or by creating a virtual ballot on the Oscars Fan Favorite website. But the big winners walked up to the podium live.
Who were those big winners? Here’s a list of the winners from the most talked-about categories.
Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)
Andrew Garfield (tick, tick…BOOM!)
Will Smith (King Richard)
Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)
Winner: Among one of the most talented actors to have never won an Academy Award, not to mention an actor with one of the biggest box office hauls, it was time for Will Smith to finally take home the trophy. Smith was nominated twice before, for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness, but King Richard was finally the film to bring it home for the former rapper and sitcom star. He beautifully captures the essence and struggle as Richard Williams, a father and coach who only wanted the best for his talented daughters, tennis players Venus and Serena Williams. Buoyed by the tennis stars’ involvement in the making of the movie and worthy supporting performances by the child actors who play them as young girls, Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton, 2022 was finally Smith’s year.
Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)
Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)
Kristen Stewart (Spencer)
Prediction: Nominated for a third time Jessica Chastain finally took home the statue for her convincing performance as televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, from her early beginnings growing up in a religious community to meeting and marrying Jim Bakker to preaching across America, which involved everything from songs to puppetry. Chastain was first nominated in 2011 for The Help and in 2013 for Zero Dark Thirty. She used her acceptance speech to shed light on suicide, the LGBTQ community, violence, and hate crimes.
Ciaran Hinds (Belfast)
Troy Kotsur (CODA)
Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog)
J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)
Winner: Troy Kotsur became the second-ever deaf actor to take home an Academy Award, with the first being his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin, who won in 1986 for Children of a Lesser God. CODA, which stands for “child of deaf adults,” is a coming-of-age story about a young woman who struggles with having to manage her obligations to her family and their fishing business with her own personal life desires. Kotsur dedicated his award to the deaf, CODA, and disabled communities. “This is our moment.”
Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)
Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
Judi Dench (Belfast)
Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)
Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)
Winner: The combination of acting, singing, and dancing is what led the Academy to award relative movie newcomer, Ariana DeBose in this category. As an original cast member in Hamilton and trained theater actor, this marks the up-and-coming movie actor’s first Academy Award nomination and win. “Even in this weary world we live in,” she said during his emotional acceptance speech,” dreams do come true.” DeBose also made a point to thank actor and EGOT winner Rita Moreno, who had a small role in West Side Story and originated the film adaptation of Anita in the 1961 film.
Belfast (Kenneth Branagh)
Drive My Car (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion)
West Side Story (Steven Spielberg)
Winner: The Piano‘s Jane Campion delivered a movie based on powerful source material and featuring an incredible cast and beautiful cinematography and score. The movie earned the distinction of being the first film directed by a woman to receive more than 10 Academy Award nominations. With her win, Campion makes it two years in a row that the category has honored a female director, with Chloe Zhao having won in 2021 for Nomadland.
No Time To Die
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Winner: Dune has mesmerized viewers with its cinematic visual effects, and, as expected, it brought home the win in the category. The future-set sci-fi epic directed by Denis Villeneuve covers the first half of the Frank Herbert novel of the same name, following the noble Atreides family through a deadly war on an inhospitable planet. Digital Trends‘ own Rick Marshall praised how the visual effects made an “unfilmable epic possible” in his interview with visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert. who detailed the lengths they went to achieve some of the most captivating scenes. Clearly, all of that hard work paid off.
The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon
Winner: Encanto took home the award this year, thanks in large part to the original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda that had every child under the age of 12 declaring “we don’t talk about Bruno” over and over and over again. The musical fantasy story provides a wondrous look at a young girl who is desperate to save her family and their magical house when she learns the magic that has been bestowed on the family for generations is beginning to disappear. With themes of love, loss, and acceptance, the film was a shoo-in to win.
Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story
Winner: The crowd erupted in a loud cheer and a silent waving hands cheer for the movie Coda, a coming-of-age drama about a young woman dealing with the typical trial and tribulations of adolescent life along with her responsibilities to her two parents who are deaf and run a fishing business. The movie has made the acronym “CODA,” which means “child of deaf parents,” a widely recognized term and shed light on unique stories that aren’t often told on screen. It was one of the most surprising, but also feel-good awards of the night. The win also makes Apple TV+ the first streaming service to win the Best Picture award at the Oscars.
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