Column: Reflecting on Oscar night lessons

The cast and crew of "CODA" accept the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
The cast and crew of "CODA" accept the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

What an Oscar night.

Celebrating a year filled with memorable movies – no matter if experienced in theaters or at home – the Academy Awards for 2021 remind us what matters at the movies and awards shows.

Here are six lessons from Oscar night 2022.

Movies matter

No matter where we watch movies, in a theater or at home, the experience of absorbing a story in one sitting remains relevant as an art form. While a “streaming” movie winning the Best Picture award may blur the lines of how movies must be seen, a film as strong as “CODA” tells us that, when movies tell meaningful stories, screen size becomes incidental.

Moments matter

No matter what we remember from this year’s Oscars, two moments will summarize the evening. Who could resist the joy on stage and the audience when “CODA” was named Best Picture? And who could ignore the spontaneous combustion of Will Smith’s reaction to presenter Chris Rock? In one moment, we shared the good movies can bring; in the other, we realized how hurt, anger and surprise can interrupt any moment, on or off screen.

Oscars matter

No matter the controversies, the essence of Oscar remains as strong as when the Academy began almost 100 years. From the start, the awards were always about peers honoring peers, not film critics, not audiences, but people who make the movies. That dynamic, as it changes with the times, keeps Oscars as current as a day’s headlines.

All categories matter

No matter the choices made to tighten the show, the pre-recorded technical presentations remind us how essential these crafts are to the movies. As well, the creators of short films deserve moments in the spotlight to encourage next steps. (And, despite the pre-recorded announcements, this was the longest Oscar show in four years!)

Inclusion matters

No matter what motivates a voter’s choice, “CODA” is an ideal movie for this moment, a tribute to the love that people bring to challenges that can divide. No matter what words Jessica Chastain wanted to share, after being named Best Actress, her celebration of Tammy Faye Bakker’s commitment to inclusion was inspiring. And, as Ariana Debose celebrated her Oscar win for “West Side Story,” we share the significance of Oscar’s welcome.

Family matters

No matter how cynical our world can become, movies remind us how good it can feel when families support each other, mothers and fathers challenge and nurture children, and people discover their dreams. The movies Oscar honored for 2021 celebrate the good we share when we focus on what’s good. Thank you, Academy, for that essential lesson.

Now, the wait begins for next year! In the meantime, see you at the movies.