Hollywood loves a comeback. This year, it was the Oscars' turn.
After a bummer of a mid-pandemic show last year, one that was too dour in all the wrong places, way too self-congratulatory and uncomfortably divided between venues, what's supposed to be the movies' biggest night was back in a big way Sunday.
It all started on the right note with Beyoncé performing Best Original Song nominee "Be Alive" from a Compton tennis court, her gown the same shade as the countless balls Venus and Serena Williams smacked on their way to biopic-level greatness, and ended with a heartwarming win for the little film that could, the Best Picture category back where it belongs.
And in between those moments...
Well, let's just say, people will still be talking about the show tomorrow.
The Oscars were also back home at the Dolby Theater, part of which was cordoned off into cabaret-style seating as opposed to the usual rows-upon-rows, but that was as far as the social distancing went. Especially once Regina Hall started patting the hunky male presenters down for COVID "protocol."
Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes also marked the much-needed return of Oscar hosts, the trio comporting themselves admirably—aka hilariously—both together and on their own. Schumer delivered a top-of-the-show monologue that appropriately skewered the nominees and poked fun where it was due without going off the "actually, we're ridiculous so why are we doing this again?" cliff. Or the equally precarious, "we know we're a little frivolous so we'll overcompensate by reminding you constantly of the bad stuff" promontory.
Attention was paid, of course, to issues beyond the walls of the Dolby, often with humor (promising Floridians that the night would be "gay, gay, gay"; offering a pre-shredded Texas voting ballot as a consolation prize), but also more directly, the broadcast included a moment of silence for the people of Ukraine. A number of attendees also wore blue ribbons in support of refugees from the now war-torn nation.
But the show worked because this ceremony was undeniably a celebration, not a scolding—and it had enough laughs, emotion, epic fashion, heartfelt speeches and pugilism to last us till next year.
Here are the biggest jaw-droppers from the 2022 Oscars:
Well, we don't know if all that did the trick for fickle at-home watchers of telecasts about movies, but we do know that the Oscars felt like the Oscars again. And kinda like a bar fight for a minute.
But the show was pretty darn entertaining from start to finish, and that's all we can ever hope for.