The sound of the Oscars
28 March 2022-
Yesterday, a rather unorthodox edition of the Academy Awards ceremony took place. Not that the geopolitical context was the main topic, but rather a live incident... Nevertheless, it was a great night for music!
In a rather surprising turn of events, the 2022 Oscars’ most talked-about moment does not have anything to do with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which was projected to be a key topic, or the fact that several remarkable women were honoured last night, including the great Jane Campion, or that a black man won for Best actor, one of only 5 to ever do so. Well, that last part is indirectly linked to said stand-out moment: the 2022 recipient of the award for Best actor went to Will Smith (for King Richard), who had previously jumped on stage and hit presenter Chris Rock over a — poor — joke the comedian made about his wife. A rather perplexing moment, no matter how you choose to look at it.
The award Rock was here to present was one we at Sondz were most interested in: Best documentary. This is not a joke: the 2022 winner turned out to be Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), a film directed by legendary drummer ?uestlove about the equally legendary, although largely forgotten, festival that rocked Harlem in the summer of 1969. That festival, informally known as Black Woodstock, drew significant crowds and gathered up on stage some of the very best African-American musicians of all time: Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight, Sly and the Family Stone… A beautiful moment, then and now.
There were other noteworthy music-related moments in this year’s Oscars, to be sure. For one, Billie Eilish won Best song for her already classic James Bond soundtrack, “No Time to Die“, which many were predicting but the assurance that it did happen stills feels good. Meanwhile, Ariana DeBose (also predictably) won for Best supporting actress for her role as Anita in the Steven Spielberg-helmed remake of another classic, West Side Story. In the animated film category, Encanto won big as well: the hit Disney musical whose viral soundtrack topped the charts won over the hearts of the Academy the way it did everyone else’s. Finally, Hans Zimmer, whose music was recently heard in the streets of Lviv, won for Best soundtrack as part of a little film called Dune…
In other words, the 2022 Oscars may have unfolded in somewhat unpredictable fashion, but at least the music didn’t disappoint…