Coda has been named this year’s best picture at an Oscars ceremony that featured an unusual confrontation between Will Smith and Chris Rock.
“Thank you to the Academy for letting us make history,” said Coda producer Philippe Rousselet. Producer Patrick Wachsberger thanked the Academy for “recognising a movie of love and family in this difficult time”.
The Apple TV+ drama, bought from 2021’s Sundance film festival for a record-breaking $25m, became the first film from a streamer to win the award. It’s a remake of French film La Famille Bélier, focusing on the only hearing member of a deaf family.
Will Smith secured his first Oscar, winning best actor for playing the father of Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard.
Smith had the night’s most viral moment with Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett’s shaved head, saying he was looking forward to GI Jane 2. A footage later showed that Rock said “Will Smith just smacked the shit out of me” before Smith shouted “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth”.
Smith said: “I wanna apologise to the Academy, I wanna apologise to all my fellow nominees … art imitates life, I look like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams but love will make you do crazy things.”
Jessica Chastain was named best actress for televangelist biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye, her third nomination and first win.
The award for best director went to Jane Campion for queer psychodrama The Power of the Dog, the only win for a film that had led the pack with the most nominations. Campion is only the third female director to ever win the Oscar for best director, following in the footsteps of Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker and last year, Chloé Zhao for Nomadland.
Troy Kotsur won best supporting actor for his role in the film Coda, making him the second deaf actor to bring home an Oscar, joining his co-star Marlee Matlin who won for Children of a Lesser God in 1987.
“This is dedicated to the deaf community, the Coda community and the disabled community. This is our moment,” he said.
Ariana DeBose was named best supporting actress for her performance in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. She become the first openly queer woman of colour and only the second latina actor to ever win an Oscar.
Coda’s writer-director Sian Heder won best adapted screenplay becoming the first woman to bring home the award by herself since Emma Thompson in 1995.
Kenneth Branagh picked up best original screenplay for his semi-autobiographical drama Belfast.
This year also saw the introduction of two Twitter-voted special awards for fans. The fan favourite film was won by Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie thriller Army of the Dead while the all-time most cheer-worthy moment was won by Zack Snyder’s Justice League for the scene where Ezra Miller’s The Flash enters speed force.
Actor Riz Ahmed became the first muslim and first person of Asian descent to win live action short for The Long Goodbye.
“This is for everyone who feels like they don’t belong,” he said in his speech.