It’s Hollywood’s biggest night. The Oscars are where performances are praised, careers are acknowledged, Hollywood legends are remembered and dreams come true. All of this while Hollywood’s elite sit nervously, anticipating the possibility of winning big while wearing fashions that are too tight for them to breathe in. There’s tension in the room, the pressure of a live broadcast, the exhilaration of winning and the platform to be heard on a global level. All of these fuel the possibility for memorable moments.
In the past, the Oscars delivered many historic and memorable moments. These instances have included the history-making announcement of Kathryn Bigelow as the first female best director, the embarrassing moment in which John Travolta’s flubbed name of Idina Menzel, the bittersweet announcement of Best Supporting Actor for the deceased Heath Ledger and, of course, Ellen’s epic Oscar selfie. But this year’s Oscars were destined to have more than usual, in light of the controversy that has surrounded the ceremony this year. The #OscarSoWhite hashtag drew attention to this year’s Oscars which are the second in a row to nominate only white actors.
As Chris Rock said, “Well, I’m here at the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the White People’s Choice Awards. You realize if they nominated hosts I wouldn’t even get this job so y’all would be watching Neil Patrick Harris right now.”
So what constitutes a memorable moment worthy of an Oscar on our list during this year’s broadcast? Well, it is one that definitely evokes a strong reaction, whether it is gut wrenching laughter, cringeworthy awkwardness, tearful sadness or just a moment that is just too sweet to be ignored. So without further ado, we would like to thank Chris Rock, all the nominees, and, of course, the Academy for these most memorable moments. And the winners are:
Moment of Truth: Chris Rock Calls Hollywood Racist
Chris Rock wasted no time address the elephant in the room at the Oscars. He went right for the #OscarSoWhite controversy by taking the stage to a Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.”
His opening monologue include many jokes like “People are like ‘Chris you should boycott. Chris you should quit. You should quit.’ How come it is only unemployed people that tell you to quit something?… The last thing I need is to lose another job Kevin Hart, OK?”
Rock followed that great monologue up with a parody video later in the show that placed black actors like Whoopi Goldberg Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan in some of the biggest movies of the night, like a scene of Tracy Morgan eating a Danish and wearing a dress in the Danish girl. Rock even followed that up by going to a Compton movie theater to get some reactions to some of best picture nominations by the predominantly black residents of Compton.
But all kidding aside, one of the poignant moments of the night, apart from Oscar president Cheryl Boone Isaacs’ and Kevin Hart’s touching speeches on race and diversity, came from Chris Rock calling Hollywood out.
He boldly professed, “Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist, but it’s not the racism you’ve grown accustomed to. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like ‘We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’… It’s not about boycotting anything. Its just we want opportunity. We want the black actors to get the same opportunities as white actors. That’s It. Not just once. You know, Leo gets a great part every year… but what about the black actors?”
Cheers to Rock for not holding back from telling it the way it is with some bold words.
Funniest Presenter Moment: Louis C.K. Keeping It Real
There were a lot of funny presenters with great monologues during the show. From Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling bantering about Oscars being shared between the two of them to Jason Segel and Olivia Wilde reminding people that they were not invited to the technical Oscars, these presenters knew how to deliver a punchline. Sarah Silverman even recalled her “close encounter” with James Bond before presenting Sam Smith to sing “Writing’s On The Wall,” but the presenter who was the funniest of the night had to be comedian Louis CK.
The Oscars’ Documentary Short category normally comes with a brief sermon about why you should care about these films. This year, Louis C.K. found a way around that, riffing on the passion of the producers and directors, who do what everyone else in the audience does, except without all the fame and money. “This Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic,” C.K. joked, with all the ease of a great Oscars host. Sure, Louie’s probably happy to make his dark little web series, but the Academy has its eyes on him now.
WTF Moment: Stacey Dash is Our New Diversity Director
While most of Chris Rock’s jokes rocked, and his monologue might have been one of the best ever, others just fell flat (you can’t win every time!). However, the joke of that night that left people the most puzzled had to be Stacey Dash’s Oscar moment. The Clueless star took to the stage as the “director” of the Oscar’s “minority outreach program.”
“Let me tell you some good news, the Academy has taken steps to fix this problem,” Rock said after airing a parody montage that found Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Morgan, and other black actors inserted into some of this year’s lily-white nominated films. “That’s why it is my honor to introduce the new director of our minority outreach program.”
Appearing on Fox & Friends last month, Dash said she found the threats of an Oscar boycott “ludicrous” because it encouraged “segregation.”
“If we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black,” she told a baffled Steve Doocy. “If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard.”
CringeWorthy Moment: Chris Rock Throws Shade at The Smiths
Chris Rock did not hold back last night, meaning he threw shade at both Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who were boycotting the night after Will was snubbed for his role in Concussion.
In his first joke, he said “Jada going to boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties, I wasn’t invited.” He then followed it up by saying, “it’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It is also not fair that Will was paid 20 million for Wild Wild West, OK?”
Rock took another swing at Will Smith later on in the show with a video called Black History Month Minute: Oscar Edition. In the pre-taped video, Angela Bassett praises an unnamed actor for his roles in Enemy of the State, Shark Tale and as one half of a “fresh” musical duo. All of these things seem to suggest that the tribute is for Will Smith, who starred in both those movies and began his career as the Fresh Prince to DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Cutest Moment: Star Wars Droids Can’t Find Their Seats
It’s hard to keep a live audience going during a long award show like the Oscars, but leave it to the droids from Star Wars: The Force Awakens to wake up everyone. The crowd reacted to seeing BB-8, R2-D2 and C-3PO onstage. The droids argued as they tried to find their seat and C-3PO even joked that the Oscar statue seemed to resemble him.
The moment was made even sweeter by one fan in particular, nine-year-old Room star Jacob Tremblay. He jumped from his seat at the sight of the Droids and the cameras caught him do it. After the show, he of course took pictures with them reminding us all of the movie magic we loved as kids.
Biggest Political Moment: Veep in the House – Joe Biden
Vice President Joe Biden isn’t really a movie star, but he got a movie star’s welcome when he joined the stage last to the theme song from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The first sitting Vice President to attend the Academy Awards since Charles Curtis in 1931, the Veep got a standing ovation when he appeared on stage.
After close to 30 seconds of standing applause, Biden thanked the crowd. “I’m the least qualified man here tonight, thank you,” Biden said. Vice President Biden took the stage at tonight’s Oscars to introduce Lady Gaga and speak in support of the White House’s campaign to prevent campus sexual assault, called It’s On Us. While introducing Lady Gaga to sing her nominated song “Til It Happens To You” from the documentary The Hunting Ground, Biden asked the audience and those watching the show to visit the
History Making Moment: 1st Oscar for Chile
Sam Smith may thought he made history last night as the first openly gay man to win an Oscar, but, sorry Sam, Elton John took one home over two decades ago for his role in The Lion King soundtrack.
Nevertheless, there was one “first” in the Oscar wins last night. Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala seemed very surprised at winning for their animated short film, Bear Story. This is the first Oscar win and nomination for the filmmakers, but it’s also the first win for a Chilean movie.
“This is the first Oscar for our country so it is very important for us,” they told the audience before thanking “everybody in Chile that has supported us and trusts in our work.” In Spanish, they offered “a big hug to everyone,” adding “Viva Chile!”
Trying Too Hard For Moment: Rock Pushes Girl Scout Cookies
Unique Oscar moments are hard to create. Yes, Ellen had her epic selfie with the Hollywood elite, but she also tried awkwardly to serve pizza to the audience. This year it seemed as if Chris Rock was trying (a little too hard, maybe) to recapture some of Ellen’s selfie glory.
He chose an unusual stunt to lighten the mood using his daughter’s Girl Scout troop. In an attempt to beat back a tough opponent for most cookies, he enlisted his daughters to sell cookies to the actor and actresses in the audience, saying, “Reach into your millionaire pockets, and buy some of my daughter’s Girl Scout cookies.”
Most Unscripted Moment: Mad Max: Fury Road has the most enthusiastic winners
One of the more pleasant surprises of the night is the fact that Mad Max: Fury Road, a balls-to-the-wall action blockbuster set in the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, defeated a number of period dramas and Oscar-baity films to win six awards, mostly in the technical categories.
Nevertheless, those who won for Mad Max seemed to be having the most fun of the night. Mark Mangini and David White, who won for sound editing, took to the stage by exclaiming “F*** Yeah, Mad Max!” a sentiment that many in the audience can agree with.
“George Miller would tell us Mad Max is a film we see with our ears. I knew sound could tell my story, but nothing quite like this. Sound artists are storytellers. Thank you, George,” Mangini said. David White, a native of Australia, chimed in with: “I’m so proud to work on this loud, loud film that actually had silence in it…. For the Aussies!”
Mad Max also gets bonus points for Jenny Beavan, the costume designer who accepted her award in a leather jacket emblazoned with the skull from the movie.
Longest Moment We Have Waited For: Leo Finally Wins
Many actors won last night. From Brie Larson for lead actress (a first time nominee) to Mark Rylance for supporting actor (also a first time nominee) to Alicia Vikander for supporting actress (yet another first time nominee), there are few others that we have waited to see win other than Leonardo DiCaprio. After being nominated six previous times, DiCaprio nailed best leading actor for his role in The Revenant.
Like Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who won best director for The Revenant, DiCaprio delivered a powerful and political message during his speech. Iñárritu highlighted change needed in Hollywood for diversity, while DiCaprio called for change in the way we treat our planet.
Proving that the moment was less about him, and more on climate change and the world around us, DiCaprio questioned, “who speak[s] for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people who will be most affected by this, for our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”
Are there any other memorable moments that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!