Award season in cinema is my favourite time of the year as I get to see some of the most amazing work done the previous year finally get the recognition it deserves. This morning I woke up to the 94th Academy Awards, and I must say while there were some much-deserved and obvious wins, there were some pleasant surprises as well. And what accompanied was some high-octane drama too. Let’s take a recap at who won what.

This year’s ceremony saw the return of assigned hosts after 2018 with Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes taking that place. The ceremony also celebrated the 50 years of the win of The Godfather and 60 years of the James Bond franchise. Eight technical categories were moved to pre-taping instead of being awarded in the live telecast so as to shorten the telecast time, but it created a lot of controversy. Another controversial matter was the leading actress of West Side Story not being invited to the ceremony until a week ago, but she was later invited and even asked to present an award.

Amongst the top honours, the coming-of-age family comedy-drama CODA took home the highest honour of the night as the Best Picture in a big and pleasant surprise. Jane Campion was adjudged the Best Director for The Power Of The Dog, marking a unique feat of back-to-back wins for female directors after Chloe Zhao won the award last year for Nomadland.

In the acting section, Jessica Chastain took home the Best Actress award for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, in the most nail-biting category of the night. In her acceptance speech she highlighted the issues faced by the LGBTQIA+ community, talking about the high suicide rates in America. The heavy favourite Will Smith won the Best Actor award for his stint as Richard Williams, father of tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams, in King Richard. The actor got emotional during his speech and spoke about being the protector of his family just like Richard was.

Smith even apologised to the academy for his earlier physical altercation with presenter Chris Rock, which became the most talked about incident of the night. The actor went on stage and punched Rock after he made a joke on Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith‘s hairstyle as she has been bald due to her alopecia. While I am still not sure if the incident was real or staged, even the internet is divided on the same. In any case, it made for some high-tension drama. Actors Denzel Washington and Tyler Perry were seen talking to Smith after the incident during the break and the latter revealed what the former said to him in his speech saying, “the devil strikes you at your highest.”

The Supporting Actors category saw the wins of some award season favourites as Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for CODA, while Ariana DeBose won Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story. The latter shared how proud she was to win as a ‘queer woman of colour’ in her acceptance speech.

In other categories, Dune emerged as the big winner taking home six golden statuettes including, Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects. Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connel took home the Best Original Song award for their title song in No Time To Die.

Encanto won the Best Animated Feature Film while Best International Feature Film honour went to the Japanese film Drive My Car. The lone Indian nomination at this year’s Oscars, the documentary feature Writing With Fire, lost the award to Summer Of Soul. And Best Documentary Short Subject went to The Queen Of Basketball.

Last year’s Best Actor nominee Riz Ahmed brought some Asian representation amidst the winner list as he won the Best Live Action Short Film award for The Long Goodbye. The Best Animated Short Film award went to The Windshield Wiper.

Amongst the other awards, Kenneth Branagh won Best Original Screenplay for Belfast, while Sian Heder won Best Adapted Screenplay for CODA. Best Makeup and Hairstyling award went to The Eyes Of Tammy Faye and Best Costume Design award went to Cruella.

It was an event full of celebration of cinema and some drama as well, and I feel it was the perfect start to my day. I wish all the winners a big congratulations and while I have watched a lot of films amongst these, I have surely added the rest to my watch list for the coming weekend.