Reflecting on 2022 award shows: Oscars and Grammys


March 27 and April 3 were two momentous days in the world of pop culture. The Oscars kicked off this year’s award show season. By the time the night was over, history had been made numerous times. Ariana Deboes became the first queer women of color to take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her brilliant portrayal of Anita in West Side Story. As an openly queer and Afro-Latino woman, Deboes encouraged others to keep making history. During her acceptance speech, she said, “to anybody who has ever questioned your identity ever, ever, ever, or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is, indeed, a place for us.” 

Disney’s Encanto offered another moment of representation, in this case toward the Latinx community, at the awards. Encanto received the award for Best Animated Feature film, and with that Yvett Merino, Encanto co-producer, became the first Latina to win that award. 

With regard to history for women at the Oscars, director Jane Campion left the show with the Oscar for The Power of the Dog, as well as becoming the first woman to be nominated for Best Director twice. Campion was first nominated almost 30 years ago, in 1994 for her movie The Piano. 

Meanwhile, CODA, a heartfelt movie surrounding the day to day life of a child of deaf adults, took home the big prize of Best Picture. Along with that, Troy Kotsur won Best Supporting Actor for his role in CODA, making history as the first deaf man to win in this category. 

Despite certain controversies that may have overshadowed anything else that night, those groundbreaking representational moments will be remembered for years to come. 

Just a week later, the Grammys aired, awarding those in the music industry for their outstanding works over the last year.  

The show opened with a performance by Silk Sonic, who later went on to receive Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, Song of the Year and Record of the Year for their 70’s themed song, Leave the Door Open. 

“We are really trying our hardest to remain humble at this point, but in the industry, we call that a clean sweep,” Anderson Paak, one half of the Silk Sonic duo said in his fourth and final Grammy acceptance speech of the night.  The other half, Bruno Mars, became a three-time Record of Year Winner—only the second person to do so.  

At 19 years old, Olivia Rodrigo went to win three Grammy awards for her debut album, “Sour”. “Sour” details a breakup and heartbreak through the relatable lens of pop music and teenhood, so it’s no wonder Rodrigo received the award for Best New Artist- the third youngest to do so, as well as Best Pop Album and Best Pop Performance. 

The Grammys illustrated the intersection between art and current events. Between musical performances and awards, John Legend, accompanied by recent Ukrainian refugees Mika Newton and Lyuba Yakimchuk, sang Free. Their performance followed a speech from President Zelensky.  

Throughout their histories, the Grammys and the Oscars have continuously shown the power of creativity. Whether it is representation of groups often not given a voice, or a political stance, award shows use their platforms to emphasize the humanity at the core of all art.