Even before the 92nd Oscars aired this past Sunday Feb. 9, everyone knew there would be a lot to digest. With tensions running high since the Academy once again presented a nominee list comprised almost entirely of white, male filmmakers, this year’s Oscars were bound to deliver memorable moments. To catch up everyone who chose not to sit through three hours of ridiculously long acceptance speeches (we’re looking at you, Joaquin Phoenix), here are a few of the best and worst moments, along with the most memorable celebrity appearances of the night.
The Good: 1. Four-Win Sweep by “Parasite” The South Korean thriller “Parasite” was nominated for six Oscars — Best Picture, Best Director, Best International Feature, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design and Best Film Editing — and took home four of them. Though the film captivated audiences and impressed critics, many expected it to lose the Oscar for Best Picture to Sam Mendes’s “1917”, especially after the Golden Globes, where it took the Best Picture Title. Bong Joon Ho’s win for Best Director also elicited favorable reaction from the audience, as he continued the trend set by Mexico’s premier directors (Alejandro G. Iñarritu, Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón) of beating Academy favorites like Martin Scorsese and representing international talent in an American setting.
“Hair Love” wins Best Short Film “Parasite” and its successful win was not the only emotionally-charged celebration of non-white talent at this year’s Oscars. “Hair Love”, which captivated the hearts of many as a declaration of love for black culture and father-daughter relationships, took home the award for Best Animated Short. The unexpected win provoked shouts of joy from lovers and supporters of the film.
Martin Scorsese’s Reaction to Eminem Eminem’s presence at the Oscars was as confusing as it was outdated, and Martin Scorsese’s reaction to his performance perfectly captured that. While plenty of audience members seemed to be enjoying the moment, Scorsese looked as though he was ready for a nap or at the very least for the song to end. Regardless of how well or not people think Eminem did as a performer, the truth is that his performance was not relevant to this year’s Oscars — or this year in general, really — and like Scorsese, some of us were not here for it either.
Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig We can all appreciate the Academy’s attempt at minimizing problems by going host-less, yet Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig’s turn at presenting made us wish the Academy had instead chosen them as hosts. The two gave hilarious speeches while presenting the awards for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design, making everyone (including Scorsese) laugh multiple times, produced some of the best reactions of the night. Billie Eilish, in particular, reacted so viscerally to the comedians’ singing that she is sure to become a lasting meme. That said, with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey set to host the Golden Globes next year, it would definitely give 2021 a good start to have Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig host the Oscars. It’s what the people deserve.
Chris Rock and Steve Martin Speaking of hosts, Steve Martin and Chris Rock stepped up to deliver the monologue as non-hosts and did not fail to remind us of just how white and male-dominated the Oscars really are. In particular, their joke about Mahershala Ali’s two Oscar wins and the absence of female nominees spoke volumes not only about the environment within the Academy but the larger American society as well.
Cynthia Erivo’s Performance Though we all expected to be blown away by Idina Menzel’s performance of “Into the Unknown”, it was perhaps Cynthia Erivo who blew us away with her rendition of “Stand Up” from the movie “Harriet.” Erivo demonstrated that we have a lot to look forward to in her upcoming interpersonation of Aretha Franklin.
The Bad: 1. Shia LaBeouf’s Awkward Presenting Shia LaBeouf has come under some fire for seeming inpatient with co-star Zack Gottsagen on stage while presenting the award for Best Live-Action Short. Though much of the backlash has been regarding what many perceived to be mistreatment of Gottsagen, few have taken notice that LaBeouf, in his hurry, read the name of the film as “The Neighbor’s Widow” as opposed to “The Neighbor’s Window”, which only adds to the already awkward situation on stage.
Rebel Wilson and James Corden Relive Cats To present the award for Best Visual Effects, James Corden and Rebel Wilson decided to poke fun at their own disastrous movie, “Cats”, by dressing up as cats. Though the intention was clear in their dress and speech, the image of the two dressed as cats while on live TV is one we could have lived without. In any case, Maya Rudolph’s reaction to the two was priceless and almost made the moment worth it — almost.
Janelle Monáe’s Backup Dancers’ Costumes Choosing Janelle Monáe as the opening act of the awards was by far one of the best decisions the Academy has made. Not so great, however, was the choice of outfits for Monáe’s backup dancers. Though the creativity to represent films that had been snubbed by the Oscars (including “Midsommar” and “Us”) and those that were nominated can be applauded, the end result was a lot creepier than can be assumed to be intended and ultimately took some of the spotlight away from Monáe herself.
The Most Memorable Attendees: In a room full of A-list celebrities, sometimes it is hard to stand out. However, there were a few attendees who stole the show with just their presence.
- Julia Louis Dreyfus — Our comedy queen came through to remind us that even cancer can’t take away your shine.
- Diane Ladd — Though it was her daughter, Laura Dern, who won an Oscar, Diane Ladd won our hearts.
- Salma Hayek and Oscar Isaac — This dynamic duo looked spectacular while presenting two awards and even managed to take an ingenious stab at the lack of diversity in the Academy while doing so.
- Spike Lee — The renowned Knicks fan paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant with his purple and gold (adorned with Bryant’s #24), proving that there are some things only Spike Lee can pull off.
There are, of course, plenty more moments that erupted a variety of reactions on Twitter and have provided source material for the next great meme. So, while we wait for some genius troll to choose their weapon, how about we start drafting that petition letter to get Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig as next year’s hosts?