It’s not an easy thing to bring up at what is meant to be a celebratory evening, but it would be quite disappointing to see the 2022 Oscars skirt the situation entirely.
Will CODA be this year’s Green Book?
There’s not a ton of consensus about who will take home the high profile awards this year, butCODA, Sian Heder’s film about the hearing daughter of a deaf family, has the most momentum. Gold Derby gives it the strongest Best Picture odds, and it has picked up major wins at Oscar bellwethers like the SAG and PGA Awards.
But a CODA win would probably come with backlash: It’s been heralded for its representation of the deaf community, but it’s also been criticized by both film writers and the deaf for its depiction of how hearing-impaired and CODA (children of deaf adults) live. And its feel-good sentimentality has also generated comparisons to past, much-derided Oscar winners like Green Book and Crash.
If CODA does not end up with Best Picture, the next most likely winners seem to be The Power of the Dog or Belfast, which received 12 and seven nominations, respectively.
Will Rachel Zegler show up?
It seems not an Academy Awards show goes by without Hollywood’s foremost body managing to put its foot in its mouth. This year, the primary controversy hinged around Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria in the new West Side Story adaptation that netted seven nominations, including Best Picture.
Zegler revealed via her Instagram on Sunday that she had not been invited to the Oscars, despite playing a lead role in one of the year’s most visible nominees. “I hope some last minute miracle occurs and I can celebrate our film in person but hey, that’s how it goes sometimes, I guess,” she wrote.
That led to a significant outpouring of support for Zegler–and anger at the Oscars, too. And it seems like things may end up working out, as The Hollywood Reporter noted that Zegler has now been asked to be a presenter at the show.
As of now, it’s unclear if Zegler will make it since she’s currently shooting a film in London, but hopefully the talented young actor will get the moment that she…should have simply been given in the first place.
Will Kristen Stewart and Ariana DeBose be the first out LGBTQ+ actors to win?
As noted by the BBC, the Academy Awards have been better about recognizing the great LGBTQ+ centric films of the 21st century (Moonlight, Brokeback Mountain, The Favourite), but the same can’t be said for queer actors themselves. In the history of the Oscars, only a small number of actors, including Jodie Foster and Tilda Swinton have taken home the awards, and none have done it since publicly coming out.
That could change this year, with Kristen Stewart up for Best Actress for Spencer and Ariana DeBose up for Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story. Stewart is bisexual, while DeBose is queer. This is the first time two publicly LGBTQ+ actors have been nominated in the same year, and either (or both) winning (Gold Derby has DeBose as the favorite, while Stewart clocks in at third), would be historic.
Will Beyoncé play?
It’s been a while since the Academy Awards have had a show-stopping performance, but that could change in a big way this year. Per reporting in Variety, Beyoncé is in talks to play during the Oscars, where she would be broadcast live.
She’d be performing her Best Original Song nominee “Be Alive” from King Richard and, fittingly, would reportedly be doing so from the Compton tennis courts where the Williams sisters learned the game from their father.
Beyoncé is no stranger to Oscar performances: she sang a powerful medley in 2005 including “Vois Sur Ton Chemin” in French and “Learn to be Lonely” from Phantom of the Opera. She also participated in a Dreamgirls performance with co-star Jennifer Hudson, and as part of a Baz Luhrmann-recruited ensemble in 2009.
If this “Be Alive” show comes together as it has been rumored, it could be her crowning Oscars moment—that is, until she eventually wins one of her own.