The 94th Academy Awards kicked off with a bang today, with a trio of history-making hosts, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall showing how it’s done. (Take note, Billy Crystal).
Amy Schumer began the opening address with a zinger when she told the audience, “This year, the Academy hired three women to host because it’s cheaper than hiring one man.”
When Hall quipped in, “I’m still excited to be hosting, representing black women who are standing proud,” Schumer responded: “I’m representing unbearable white women who call the cops on you when you get a little too loud.”
Later, when Schumer returned to the stage solo, she referred to herself as the person who is hired “…when Melissa McCarthy says no.”
“I’m not just here as a model…” she added.
And after congratulating the audience for making films during the pandemic, she added, “Not all of them were good…I didn’t see all of them. I have a toddler, so I just watched Encanto a hundred and ninety times.”
The all-female hosting squad was announced in February with the women delivering a joint statement, saying: “We want people to get ready to have a good time. It’s been a while.”
And only part way into the ceremony, they’re more than executing on the promise.
Of course, there’s set to be memorable moments aplenty at this year’s ceremony after two years of stalled celebrations following COVID-19.
Disney’s beautiful Encanto has already picked up ‘Best Animated Feature’. A film lauded for its defiance of traditional gender stereotypes, its protagonist Mirabel, is a freckled teenage girl with short curls and green glasses. She’s no princess, but she’s got courage, wilfulness and determination in spades.
Jenny Beavan also took out the gong for Best Costume Design for ‘Cruella’.
Meanwhile, New Zealand born Jane Campion is touted as a front runner for Best Director for her film ‘The Power of the Dog’, which would make her only the third woman in history to pick up the accolade, after Kathryn Bigelow and Chloe Zhao.
And tennis legends, Serena and Venus Williams are also the talk of Tinsel Town, after ‘King Richard’, a film depicting their young life and the role of their coaching father, was placed in the running for Best Picture.
Will Smith, who plays Richard Williams in the film is also a hot favourite for Best Actor.
“Inspirational, isn’t it?” Schumer continued. “After years of Hollywood ignoring the stories of women, this year, we finally got a movie about the incredible Williams’ sisters…dad.”