It was the nights of nights yesterday, with all the top film stars and Hollywood celebrities descending on Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre for the 88th Annual Academy Awards. Also known as the Oscars, it’s the biggest awards show for film celebrating the best movies from last. So naturally, in between host Chris Rock’s funny bits and unforgettable speeches, there was a ceremony not to be missed. But if you did miss the telecast, we’ve rounded up the best moments of this year’s Oscars.
Chris Rock’s opening monologue
Amidst all the controversy of #OscarsSoWhite, Rock wasn’t scared to tackle the elephant in the room: the lack of cultural diversity. His opening monologue reminded us that black people were protesting real issues in the 1950s and 1960s, when he stated that the African-American community were “too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer”. Speaking more specifically on the actors protesting, he said that Jada Pinkett-Smith boycotting the Oscars is like Rock “boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited”.
‘Black Actors in White Roles’ skit
‘Diversity’ was the buzzword on everyone’s lips, and the ‘Black Actors in White Roles’ sketch was a smart and original turn on the topic. Here, Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Morgan and many others were injected into The Danish Girl, The Martian, Joy and other nominated films. It’s effortless and funny, so definitely take a look.
Lady Gaga’s incredible performance
Introduced by Vice President of the USA Joe Biden, Lady Gaga took to the stage to perform her Best Original Song-nominated tune, ‘Til It Happens To You’. Written for the documentary The Hunting Ground, which looks at the widespread issue of rape on university campuses, the song explores the pain and heartache of sexual abuse. Towards the end of the performance, Lady Gaga was joined on stage by a group of women and men who are all survivors of sexual abuse.
Alicia Vikander wins Best Supporting Actress
One of the most anticipated awards of the night, Best Supporting Actress, was awarded to Alicia Vikander for her leading actress role in The Danish Girl, beating favourite Kate Winslet for her turn in Steve Jobs. It was refreshing to see a relatively new face among all the old-time favourites winning awards, but secretly we were all pretending she won for her far better role in Ex Machina.
Chris Rock sells Girl Scouts cookies
Claiming he’d been neglecting his daughter’s Girl Scouts cookie-selling back at home, Chris Rock asked audience members to buy some cookies before counting how much had been raised at the end. While it was a bit done after Ellen DeGeneres ordered pizza for the Oscar audience two years ago, it was still a very nice gesture and showed how the awards can actually do something, collecting US$65,243 over the duration of the show.
Real talk at the Oscars
After Louis C.K. did a brief comedic introduction, he awarded the statue for Best Documentary Short (a very underappreciated category) to A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness. Taking to the stage, the film’s producer, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, took to the stage and said, “This is what happens when determined women get together.”
With her short documentary telling the story of a woman who survives an honor killing in Pakistan after being sentenced to death for falling in love, Obaid-Chinoy said that things were changing and that film is an important medium. “This week the Pakistani Prime Minister has said that he will change the law on honour killings after watching this film,” she said. “That is the power of film”.
LEO FINALLY WINS
After playing dozens of interesting and engaging characters over the years, everyone’s favourite actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, finally won an Academy Award for his role in The Revenant. Naturally, the audience got to its feet to congratulate him. More importantly, he took the moment to make an impassioned plea for the world to take action against the growing issue of climate change and asked us all to make a stand. You go, Leo!
Originally published on Junkee, March 1, 2016.