The 94th Academy Awards took place on March 27th, 2022. The awards show was full of inspirational moments, glamor and some unexpected drama, too. The 2022 Oscars are notable for a few reasons: it’s the first time the awards show was hosted by three women. Ariana Debose became the first openly queer actor of color to win an Oscar. Troy Kotsur became the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar. The Oscars paid tribute to Ukraine with a moment of silence, and several celebrities showed solidarity with the people of Ukraine on the red carpet. All of these moments made for a memorable night.
5 Inspirational Moments from the 2022 Oscars
Here are five of the most inspirational moments from Hollywood’s biggest night:
1. A Trio of Funny Ladies Hosted the 2022 Oscars
Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall were the hosts of this year’s ceremony. The trio of funny ladies tackled hot button issues in their opening monologue, addressing the gender pay gap right off the bat. “This year, the Academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring one man,” Schumer quipped. The hosts also addressed race, with Regina Hall stating, “I’m still excited to be hosting, representing black women who are standing proud,” which Schumer followed up with, “And I am representing unbearable white women who call the cops when you get a little too loud.”
The power trio ribbed Hollywood’s best and brightest at the 2022 Oscars, including Timothée Chalamet and his shirtless red carpet look, and Schumer referenced Don’t Look Up star Leonardo DiCaprio’s work to fight climate change, joking that he’s done so much to “leave behind a cleaner, greener planet for his girlfriends”. The hosts also made light of the Academy’s decision to cut technical awards from the live show. “It was a controversial and difficult decision, but I think we’ve moved on,” Hall said, right before the stage lights behind them flickered, alluding to the importance of all the work done behind-the-scenes.
2. Celebrities Showed Their Support for Ukraine on the Red Carpet
Jamie Lee Curtis, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Warren and Youn Yuh-jung were among the celebrities that wore blue ribbons on the carpet for the 2022 Oscars. The ribbons read “#WithRefugees and showed support for people forced to flee Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. The ribbons were distributed in advance of the event by the UN Refugee Agency. Other celebrities who showed solidarity with the people of Ukraine included Jason Momoa, who wore a Ukraine-inspired pocket square, and Benedict Cumberbatch, who paid tribute to the people of Ukraine with a dual-colored pin.
3. The 2022 Oscars Held a Moment of Silence for Ukraine
Reba McEntire gave an emotional performance of Best Original Song nominee Somehow You Do at the 2022 Oscars. The inspirational power ballad is about resilience, and McEntire was introduced by Mila Kunis, who fled Ukraine with her family as a child, and recently raised $30 million to help Ukrainian refugees. Kunis didn’t directly name Ukraine, but it’s clear she was referring to the refugee crisis: “Recent global events have left many of us feeling gutted, yet when you witness the strength and dignity of those facing such devastation, it’s impossible to not be moved by their resilience – one cannot help but be in awe of those who find strength to keep fighting through unimaginable darkness.”
McEntire’s performance was followed by a moment of silence for Ukraine. Graphics shown at the ceremony read: “We’d like to have a moment of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders. While film is an important avenue for us to express our humanity in times of conflict, the reality is millions of families in Ukraine need food, medical care, clean water and emergency services. Resources are scarce, and we – collectively as a global community – can do more. We ask you to support Ukraine in any way you are able.”
4. Ariana DeBose Became the First Openly Queer Actor of Color to Win an Oscar
Ariana DeBose won the best supporting actress award at the 2022 Oscars for her role as Anita in West Side Story, becoming the first openly queer Afro-Latina to win an acting Oscar. In her acceptance speech, she said: “Imagine this little girl in the backseat of a white Ford Focus. Look into her eyes. You see an openly queer woman of color and Afro-Latina who found her strength in life through arts. And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate.”
“To anybody who has ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever or find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us,” she added.
5. Troy Kotsur Became the First Deaf Man to Win an Acting Oscar
Troy Kotsur took home the best supporting actor award from the 2022 Oscars for his role in CODA, becoming the first deaf actor and second deaf performer to win an Oscar. During his acceptance speech, he thanked the deaf theatre community: “I want to thank all the wonderful deaf theater stages where I was allowed and given the opportunity to develop my craft as an actor.” He concluded his speech with a touching message: “This is dedicated to the deaf community… this is our moment.”