Academy Awards go WWF
Will Smith hit Chris Rock on stage after the comedian attempted a joke about Smith's wife, followed by an expletive-laden tirade after returning to his chair. The incident overshadowed - or shot into the spotlight - an Academy Awards that gave the Best Picture nod to the first ever streaming film to win, CODA.
He may not be 'the' Rock but early cynics felt there was a staged wrestling feel to an incident between Bad Boys star & 'King Richard' winner Smith and Madagascar's Rock on Monday night (US time).
Before winning best actor for his role as control-freak father of the Williams tennis sisters, Smith lashed out at Rock's attempted joke about wife Jada Pinkett-Smith's close cropped hair style.
Smith's tearful moment in his best actor acceptance speech later in the night implied the incident was more real than some thought:
As expected in the early running, sci-fi director Dennis Villeneuve's passion project and opening foray into the Dune universe earned best production design, visual effects, cinematography, sound and best score for perennial winner, composer Hans Zimmer.
Jessica Chastain won best actress in her third attempt for her role in 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye', pipping past Oscar winner and Australian Nicole Kidman, who was in the running for best actress in 'Being the Ricardos':
Popular film Encanto won best animated picture, while Ariana deBose won best actress in a supporting role for her part in West Side Story.
Sydney resident and New Zealand born Jane Campion won Best Director for 'The Power of the Dog' while in the same film Australia's Kodi Smit-McPhee was nominated for best supporting actor. All up, the film led the number of nominations with 12, ahead of Dune's 10. Dune had the last laugh, however, coming away with 6 awards to Campion's sole win for the Netflix film.
The Power of the Dog was pipped for best film by Apple+ TV's CODA, a sign of the times - the first film on a streaming service to win Best Picture. The movie from writer-director Sian Heder refers to the acronym 'Child of Deaf Adults' and is about the hearing child of deaf parents who nurtures her secret love of singing. Smit-McPhee also lost out to Troy Kotsur for his role in CODA.