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94th Academy Awards: ‘CODA’ wins big, Ariana DeBose makes history

The 94th Academy Awards brought funny gags, breakthrough wins, and some chaos. While news outlets continue reporting on that unscripted instance between Will Smith and Chris Rock, we at Hollywood.com want to focus on the positive moments of the award show that remind us why we love the Oscars and going to the movies.  

In honor of celebrating what makes the industry HollyGOOD, here are some heartfelt moments from the 94th Academy Awards.

CODA takes home the biggest awards of the night

CODA makes waves as the first film from a streaming service to win Best Picture. The movie also went on to win Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Tony Kotsur. Tony is the second Deaf actor to win an Academy Award. The actor delivered an emotional speech thanking director Sian Heder and Deaf theatre companies. 

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The most powerful moment of the speech was when Tony honored his father. While his father was an excellent signer, he was paralyzed from the waist down in an accident. “My dad, he was the best signer in our family, but he was in a car accident and he became paralyzed from the neck down, and he no longer was able to sign,” he said. “Dad, I learned so much from you. I’ll always love you. You are my hero.” 

Beyoncé opened and stole the show 

The Oscars began with Beyoncé performing her single “Be Alive” from King Richard, a Best Original Song nominee. Singing at the tennis courts where Venus and Serena Williams learned their tennis craft, Beyoncé wore a neon green dress and was surrounded by her back up dancers and singers. The Grammy-winning performer sang her heart out as her stage presence lit up the Oscar room. Plus, Venus and Serena Williams got to introduce Beyoncé, making the performance even more meaningful. 

Ariana DeBose makes history at the 94th Academy Awards

The first acting award of the night went to Ariana DeBose for supporting actor for her role as Anita in West Side Story. Making history as the first openly queer woman of color to win an Academy Award, Ariana delivered a tearful speech. She thanked co-star Rita Moreno, who originated the role of Anita, and director Steven Spielberg

At the end of her speech, she inspired many queer women of color to follow their dreams. “Lastly, imagine this little girl in the back seat of a white Ford Focus, look into her eyes: You see a queer, openly queer woman of color, an Afro Latina who found her strength in life through art. And that’s what I believe we’re here to celebrate,” she said. 

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The Oscars perform a beautiful “In Memorium” tribute

During the award show, the Academy Awards paid tribute to actors, filmmakers, and artists we lost this year. Tyler Perry honored the late Sidney Poitier while Jamie Lee Curtis celebrate the life of Betty White. The Samples Choir performed a medley of songs to honor those who have died; singer-songwriter and actress Jill Scott closed out the tribute with words of her own. 

“Friends, family, peers, people, we all know there will be loss,” she said. “Here is where we must honor the legacies, the moments that tickled us and reminded us of us. Here is where we celebrate the lights, where we say the names and where we clap our hands in gratitude.”

Jessica Chastain delivers meaningful acceptance speech

When Jessica Chastain accepted her Oscar for Best Leading Actress for her role as Tammy Faye, she called out the  “discriminatory and bigoted legislation” sweeping the nation. Inspired by Tammy Faye’s LGBTQ+ activism, Jessica shared her message of love to the thousands watching.

“I see it as a guiding principle that leads us forward, and it connects us all in the desire that we want to be accepted for who we are, accepted for who we love, and to live a life without the fear of violence or terror,” she explained. “And for any of you out there who do, in fact, feel hopeless or alone, I just want you to know that you are unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you.” 

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Lady Gaga shares the stage with Liza Minelli 

94th academy awards lady gaga liza minelli
Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli present the Oscar® for Best Picture during the live ABC telecast of the 94th Oscars® at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA, on Sunday, March 27, 2022. / PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Harbaugh / A.M.P.A.S.

Lady Gaga and Liza Minelli shared the stage to announce the last award of the night, Best Picture. Lady Gaga showed true adoration and love for the Cabaret star. “Good evening, you know how I love working with legends,” Lady Gaga said about Liza as the two shared a glance.

Before Liza announced the winner, Lady Gaga assured that she supports her, saying, “I got you.” Lady Gaga proves she is a class act who will always respect her elders, even when it’s unasked.

Did we miss any moments? Let us know on Twitter!

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