Taking a break from the 30 Day Film Challenge to write a post about the Oscars! After all, the Oscars is one of the biggest nights in film, so instead of watching a movie today, I decided to watch the 88th Academy Awards hosted by Chris Rock. There were many memorable moments throughout the ceremony, and below are my top ten moments of the biggest night in Hollywood in no particular order.
1. SPOTLIGHT WINS BEST PICTURE
Hearing Spotlight named Best Picture was definitely the highlight of my night. A lot of critics had predicted The Revenant as the winner for this category, and while The Revenant definitely has its own cinematic merits, I wanted Spotlight to take home the award because it was my personal favorite out of all the nominees. It was also by far one of the most compelling films I had watched last year. It had a story that was not only interesting, but also powerful, as it highlighted the importance of investigative journalism and humanity’s responsibility in bringing justice for victims who can’t speak for themselves. The movie also had an incredible acting ensemble that really brought life and authenticity to their characters, and the nuanced cinematography showed the detailed thought and effort put into making this masterpiece film. The screenplay was also finely crafted and rightfully deserved its award for best original screenplay. Basically, I loved Spotlight, so although critics had predicted The Revenant as the potential winner, I kept rooting for Spotlight, and I’m ecstatic it ultimately took home the big prize. Can’t wait to watch this wonderful film again when it hits DVD and online streaming!
2. MARK RYLANCE WINS BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Like my desire for Spotlight to win best picture, I really wanted Mark Rylance from Bridge of Spies to win best supporting actor, despite critics’ predictions that Sylvester Stallone would take home the award for his performance in Creed. Stallone is a great actor, but there was something about Rylance’s performance that was so mesmerizing. It was so natural, and there was beauty in his character’s subtlety. I loved Rylance in Bridge of Spies, and I’m glad the Academy felt the same.
3. ANIMATED PRESENTERS
A pleasant addition to the Oscars this year was animated award presenters. Yup, you read that right. Included in today’s list of award presenters were the minions and Buzz and Woody. The minions presented in their typical slapstick fashion the winner for the best animated short category, while Buzz and Woody celebrated the 20th anniversary of Toy Story by presenting the award for best animated feature to another Pixar film Inside Out. Maybe we’ll see Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust present an award sometime in the future?
4. LADY GAGA’S PERFORMANCE
Every year, the Academy invites some of the nominees for best original song to perform live during the ceremony. This year, Lady Gaga was one of those performers, singing “Till It Happens to You” from the documentary The Hunting Ground, which examines the issue of rape on US college campuses. This was actually my first time hearing the song, and Lady Gaga delivered an emotional and moving performance. She wasn’t just simply singing notes on a sheet, but using her voice to powerfully tell the painful story of those who must deal with the aftermath of sexual abuse, herself included. Her performance concludes with rape survivors standing together on the stage in solidarity, which was one of the most emotionally powerful moments of the night.
5. LEO FINALLY WINS AN OSCAR
Leo finally wins his first Oscar and delivers a great acceptance speech. After five nominations and no wins, Leo finally nabs an Oscar on his sixth nomination for his role in The Revenant. Thanking not just the cast and crew of The Revenant, Leo also thanked all those who have made him who he is today, from the first person to cast him in a film, to his mentors like Scorsese, and to his mother, who accompanied him to the Oscars today. You can definitely tell Leo is a great guy, not forgetting to thank all those who have helped him, regardless of when they helped. He also used his speech to give a quick talk about the importance and gravity of climate change. He not only thanked the people that matter, but also talked about the issues that truly matter. Talk about a well-written, delivered, and succinct speech! I don’t think the Oscars music even started to play during his speech – seems like the man was good on time!
6. LEE BYUNG HUN
For those of you who know me, I love watching Korean movies and dramas, and for anyone who knows about Korean entertainment, they’d definitely know the name Lee Byung Hun, who has not only starred in many popular and acclaimed Korean films and TV series, but also in Hollywood films like Red 2 and Terminator Genisys. Thus, I was super excited to see him at this year’s Oscars, helping present the award for best foreign film. Needless to say, my mom was swooning, too.
7. GIRL SCOUT COOKIES
Yup, you read that right. Girl Scout cookies were not just a part, but an essential and delicious part, of the Oscars ceremony. Host Chris Rock wanted to help his Girl Scout daughters sell cookies and hilariously asked everyone to dig into their “millionaire pockets” to buy some and called out DiCaprio: “Leo, you made $30 million. Come on! Come on!” Many celebs waved dollar bills in the air and eagerly stocked up on the likes of thin mints and Samoas, as the camera captured stars like Matt Damon and Christian Bale digging into their cookies and sharing them with those around them. Ultimately, the Girl Scouts were able to sell an impressive $65,243 worth of cookies. Dang, that’s a lot of good sweets.
8. CHRIS ROCK TACKLES #OSCARSSOWHITE CONTROVERSY
Anyone who has been paying attention to the news knows that this year’s Oscars has been shrouded in controversy. This is the second year in a row where there were no Black nominees, raising questions as to whether the Academy is too White. The lack of racial diversity in the nominations has fomented heated discussions on the topic and even led some stars such as Jada Smith to boycott the awards. Chris Rock tackled the diversity issue head on throughout the evening and made humorous and occasionally biting commentary on all aspects of the issue. Most of his memorable commentary came in his opening monologue for the night where he implied his disagreement with Jada’s boycott: “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. You weren’t invited!” His description of racism in Hollywood was also on point: “Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. But it’s not the racism you know. Hollywood is sorority racist. ‘We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.'”
9. FASHION, FASHION, FASHION
One of my favorite parts of the Oscars is of course the red carpet where beautiful fashion, and occasionally not-so-fabulous wardrobe choices, abound. A few of my favorite looks come from Best Supporting Actress winner Alicia Vikander, who wore a lovely Belle-inspired dress from Louis Vuitton; Best Actress winner Brie Larson, who wore a striking blue Gucci gown; and Cate Blanchett, who wore an elegant dress from Armani.
10. JACOB TREMBLAY
This nine-year-old star is cute, and he knows it. Just look at him smiling and showing off his Darth Vader socks! Definitely one of the cutest attendees tonight!