Oscars 2022: Academy Awards to Break Barriers with Series of Historic Firsts

LOS ANGELES — This year’s Academy Awards will break down barriers in more ways than one with a series of historic firsts.

If the past is any guide, “CODA” is now the firm favorite to take home the top prize of the Oscar and be named Best Picture on Sunday, March 27.

That’s because the coming-of-age movie won the top prize from the Producers Guild of America, and last year “Nomadland” first won the PGA Award, before being named Best Picture of the Year on Oscar night.

It’s fitting that a film about a child of deaf adults is among the top contenders, because this year’s Academy Awards are all about breaking down barriers.

ALSO READ | Why Lin-Manuel Miranda spent his whole life preparing to make the story of ‘Encanto’ a reality

To consider this year of “firsts,” let’s start with the three Oscar hosts.

Never before have three women presided over the show, so the trio of Regina Hall, Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer are poised to make history.

“I’m so excited about the Oscars,” Amy told Eyewitness News entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon during the New York City premiere of her new Hulu series, “Life & Beth.” “I’m just going to do some kind of indemnity, like going for it, you know, but within the law.”

You may remember that Hall was so funny on the big screen in “Girl’s Trip,” and she was recruited by that movie’s producer, Will Packer, who is in charge of this year’s Oscar show alongside producer Shayla Cowan, who explained to Kenyon via Zoom that, “To be able to see women on stage together on March 27th and literally do what people know them from is so rewarding.”

Behind the scenes, Cowan and Packer break barriers themselves.

“Will and I are the first African-American production partners to produce this show in Oscars history,” Cowan said.

Writing history is also a diverse group of nominees. Ariana DeBose is the first Latina actress to identify as LGBTQ+ to be recognized, and her nod to playing Anita in “West Side Story” comes half a century after Rita Moreno’s historic win for the same role!

“Classics are meant to be retold,” DeBose said at the film’s premiere. “That’s what makes them classic, and you make them tangible by putting faces in front of an audience that they can relate to.”

Oscar recognition for “CODA” makes Troy Kotsur the first deaf performer to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and he spoke movingly about his long struggle to make it as an artist before winning in that category at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

He spoke to ‘On The Red Carpet’ through an interpreter.

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“I felt this gut feeling was pulling me forward that I couldn’t ignore, so I persisted and over the years I finally got to this point,” Kotsur said.

Sitting with Kotsur and co-star Marlee Matlin at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon in Los Angeles, Kenyon said it felt like a date with fate because, after all, Matlin was the first deaf person to win an Oscar for “Children of a Lesser God.” “

Back in Manhattan, the National Board of Review Awards also seemed like a historic occasion, especially given the recognition for “Encanto” as the best animated film.

Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Mirabel, marveled: “When I graduated from college, I don’t think I could have imagined that the world would have a Disney movie starring someone who looked like me from where I’m from. , and yet it exists now, and it is real, and we’re not going back.”

“Encanto” earned Lin-Manuel Miranda and an Oscar nomination in the Best Song category, giving him the opportunity to achieve what is sometimes referred to as “show business’s grand slam.” If he won, he would be one of the few to earn an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (known as EGOT)!

Mark your calendar: March 27 is Oscar Sunday. Special “On The Red Carpet” coverage begins at 1:00 PM ET 10:00 AM PT and continues throughout the day leading up to the 94th Academy Awards ceremony. After the final award is presented, stick with “On The Red Carpet” for ongoing coverage. Follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information. Click here to download our CTV apps to watch “On The Red Carpet” wherever you stream.

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