The Best and Worst Moments of the 2022 Academy Awards

There was more than one slap in the face

BY Allie GregoryPublished Mar 28, 2022

Last night's Oscars ceremony, the first to take place in full form since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, was predictably awkward — but no one could have expected all the nonsense and drama that unfolded on- and off-stage. From Youn Yuh-jung and Troy Kotsur's wholesome moment to The Slap, here are all the best and worst moments of the 2022 Academy Awards. (For context, you can see the full list of winners here.)

Best Moments

Possibly the best moment from the night didn't actually take place at the ceremony: Hans Zimmer was absent from the awards show, but he still managed to make his own wholesome entry into a night of many viral moments — specifically, his Amsterdam nightgown stunt, which saw him taking home the Oscar for Best Original Score for Dune.

Zendaya and Andrew Garfield checking their phones during the ceremony is just about the only relatable thing that happened all night.

Ariana DeBose winning Best Actress in a Supporting Role for West Side Story marked a first for openly queer women of colour. Rita Moreno — who won the same award for the same role in 1961 — watching from the audience was the cherry on top.

Last year's Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Youn Yuh-jung (Minari), presenting Troy Kotsur with Best Actor in a Supporting Role (CODA) saw two of the most humble people to ever grace the Academy Awards stage together at the same time.

Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli shared a heartwarming moment onstage before presenting the Best Picture award to CODA.

Lupita Nyong'o's reaction to that moment is going to be a meme for years to come.

Which brings us to...

Worst Moments

The slap. Was Chris Rock's joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith's alopecia in poor taste? Yes, obviously. Was Will Smith's reaction to the joke completely overblown (not to mention delayed)? Absolutely! No one wins here. Not even Denzel Washington, who apparently gave Smith a comforting chat post-slap and inspired that weird, teary acceptance speech about being a "protector." (For what it's worth, the pair have apparently squashed the beef since.) 

As we're seeing this morning, the firestorm of hot takes and think-pieces about the slap will surely haunt us for days, if not weeks, to come. Unfortunately, Judd Apatow offered up one of the hottest takes of the night in a since-deleted tweet suggesting that Smith could have "killed" Rock with that smack. Okay, Judd...

Amy Schumer not only rubbed salt in the fresh wounds of Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons — who both lost their noms for their respective supporting roles in The Power of the Dog — she also took the disrespect further by unseating Dunst and referring to her as a "seat filler" in a sad attempt at a joke.

Amy Schumer's Spider-Man stunt was cringe-y enough as is, but did she also have to be barefoot?
Amy Schumer in general.

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi getting cut off during his acceptance speech for Best International Feature — when almost no one else suffered the same consequences for running a little long — was arguably offensive. Do better!

Latest Coverage