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HOLLYWOOD: A sober cry for help for Ukraine, a few birthdays, but above all the incident between comedian Chris Rock and actor Will Smith that ruined the evening: The 94th Academy Awards had some strong moments on Sunday night.

Will Smith, blow, Oscar and tears

The ceremony was going perfectly until comedian Chris Rock took the stage to present the Oscar for best documentary. He cracks a joke or two, then jokes about the shaved head of Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s wife, who has alopecia, severe hair loss. Suddenly, Will Smith, who played Mohamed Ali in his career, comes on stage and gets slapped. “Don’t say my wife’s name with your fucking mouth!”

“Love makes you do crazy things,” the actor apologized with tears in his eyes as he received the Oscar for Best Actor for The Williams Method. “Did I miss something?” Then comedian Amy Schumer, one of the hosts of the evening, came out in a deceitfully ingenuous intervention, making the whole room laugh. After the evening, the LAPD clarified that Chris Rock did not file a complaint.

A sober call for help for Ukraine
This was one of the questions facing the organizers: how not to ignore the drama of the war in Ukraine? Amy Schumer invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak in the evening. But, obviously, it was decided not to do too much. In the middle of the ceremony, a minute of sober silence was announced, and messages were broadcast calling on viewers to get involved in humanitarian assistance.

“President Biden Bring Britney Griner Home,” the American basketball star detained for more than a month in Russia, also launched producer Ben Proudfoot, winning an Oscar for Best Short Documentary “Queen of Basketball.”

The evening had little to do with politics, despite a few ironic lines about the place of women in films thrown by Amy Schumer at the opening. “This year, the Academy hired three women to host the evening because it’s always cheaper than a man,” she joked, surrounded by two of her friends, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes.

Musical evening completed by Liza Minnelli
A true symbol: it was sisters and American tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, the protagonists of the film The Williams Method, who introduced Beyoncé to open the evening. The megastar then performed the song from the movie “Be Alive” in a 100% apple green environment on tennis courts in Compton, a suburb of Los Angeles, the city where the Williams sisters coached youth.

A week before the Grammy Awards, this evening featured the music of Beyoncé, Billie Eilish and Megan T Stallion, which ignited the hall with Encanto’s viral hit “We’re Not Talking About Bruno.”

And it was another legendary voice, the voice of actress and singer Liza Minnelli, who ended the evening with Lady Gaga to present CODA with the highest Academy Award for Best Picture. Touching sequence: scaled down and in a wheelchair, Minnelli, 76, appeared all smiling: “I’m so happy to be here.”

The second statuette of Anita from West Side Story.
Sixty years ago, the legendary Rita Moreno won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of the explosive Anita in the musical film West Side Story. It’s rare that on Sunday night Ariana DeBose won an Oscar in the same category for the same role in Steven Spielberg’s remake.

The 31-year-old actress, originally from Puerto Rico, like Rita Moreno, paid tribute to her 90-year-old predecessor, who applauded her in the hall. “Your Anita paved the way for thousands of Anitas like me,” she said, referring to the Puerto Rican immigrant they both played.

James Bond is 60, The Godfather is 50.
The ceremony provided an opportunity to blow out candles at some cinema monuments. First, the 60th anniversary of the very first James Bond film, Dr. No, which was released in 1962. And what could be a better gift than an Oscar? Billie Eilish took on this task and received a statuette for the best song for the film No Time to Die. Black hair, black dress, a far cry from the green streaks of her debut or the platinum blonde Marilyn Monroe most recently, Billie Eilish has just sang the title on the Hollywood stage.

A little younger, at the age of fifty, The Godfather, the first opus of the legendary trilogy about the Italian-American mafia, also became famous, just like “White people can’t jump”, only thirty.

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