There were plenty of references to the infamous moment Will Smith punched Chris Rock, including this year’s host Jimmy Kimmel, changing a sign that read “Number of Oscars aired without incident” from “000” to ” 001″. At the 95th Academy Awards, onstage confrontations gave way to triumphant comebacks, uplifting speeches and historic victories.
Here are more highlights from Sunday night:
EEAAO has won the main awards, a huge – and historic – triumph for the A24 studio
A24’s sci-fi extravaganza entered the night with the most nominations of any film and lived up to its potential with seven wins overall. Among his most notable wins were Best Picture, Best Director (the Daniels, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) and three of the four acting categories (Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan and Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis).
Because Brendan Fraser won Best Actor for “The Whale,” another A24 film, the studio snagged the top six awards of the night, making it the first to do so in Oscar history.
How A24 thrived while breaking Hollywood rules
Michelle Yeoh became the first winner of Best Asian Actress
Michelle Yeoh (EEAAO) and Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) essentially took turns winning lead actress awards throughout the season. But as the Oscars approach, Yeoh has established himself as the frontrunner. She ended up winning, becoming the first Asian performer to win the Best Actress Oscar.
She acknowledged the larger significance of her onstage accomplishment, beginning her speech with, “For all the little boys and girls like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibility. This is proof that dreams… come true.
“And ladies,” she added, “don’t let anyone tell you that you’re past your prime.”
‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ had a great night
The heartbreaking German World War I film won Best International Feature and nabbed a few other Oscars, including those for cinematography, music and production design. Those who have been paying close attention to the Oscar race in previous weeks may not have been surprised by the success of Edward Berger’s film, but it hasn’t garnered as much buzz as others in run.
Distributed by Netflix, the film is the third feature film adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel of the same name; the former won the Best Picture Oscar in 1930.
Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue (of course) was addressed to the Slap
Hosting the Oscars is usually a thankless job, but Kimmel managed to get a decent number of laughs, especially in his monologue as he ticked off hot topics with the efficiency of someone who reads a lot of Twitter.
He poked fun at this haunting AMC ad (“I’m glad to see that Nicole Kidman has finally been freed from this abandoned AMC where she’s been held captive for almost two years now”); Hollywood weight loss craze/Ozempic (“Everyone looks so good. When I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder: Is Ozempic made for me?”) and “Top Gun: Maverick” star Tom Cruise’s stature within Scientology (“His shirt in that beach soccer scene? L. Ron Hubba Hubba”).
And, of course, he went all-in on the Slap. He didn’t mention Smith or Rock by name, but made “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” and “Hitch” jokes.
“If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any time during the show … you will receive the Oscar for best actor and you will be allowed to give a 19-minute speech,” smiled Kimmel, in the one of his many jokes about the incident throughout the show. “But seriously! The academy has set up a crisis team. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: nothing. Sit there and do absolutely nothing, maybe even give the attacker a hug.
Ruth E. Carter made history
The costume designer became the first black woman to win two Oscars, winning best costume for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” (She also won the award in 2019 for the franchise’s first film.) “Nice to see you again,” Carter said as he accepted the trophy.
“Thank you to the academy for acknowledging this superhero who is a black woman. She endures. She loves. She overcomes. She is every woman in this movie. She is my mother,” Carter told the audience and said said his mother died last week.
“This movie prepared me for this moment. Chadwick, please take care of mum,” Carter said, referring to ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer. in 2020 at the age of 43.
Ke Huy Quan gave an emotional speech
The tears (on stage and in the audience) started early in the evening when Ke Huy Quan won the Best Supporting Actor award for EEAAO.
“Mom, I just won an Oscar!” Quan sobbed as he held the statuette and reflected on his long trip to Hollywood. His family fled Vietnam during the war when he was a child. After moving to Los Angeles and landing roles in ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ and ‘The Goonies’, he ended up leaving the acting world for about 20 years when he struggled to get roles.
“My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp. And somehow I ended up here on the biggest stage in Hollywood. They say stories like this only happen in movies. I can’t believe this is happening to me. It’s the American dream,” he said. “Dreams are something to be believed in. I almost gave up on mine. To all of you out there, please keep your dreams alive.
Jamie Lee Curtis has finally won an Oscar
It took his entire career, but Curtis — Hollywood’s favorite self-proclaimed baby nepo — finally got an Oscar nomination this year, for EEAAO. And she won! The crowd seemed thrilled and Curtis cried as he remembered that his mother (Janet Leigh) and father (Tony Curtis) were also both Oscar nominees.
“To all the people who have supported the genre films I’ve made for all these years, the thousands and hundreds of thousands of people – we just won an Oscar together!” she says.
Lady Gaga got her (extreme) close-up
For reasons no one knows except that it’s just Lady Gaga’s world and we live in it, she took off her makeup and swapped her dress for a T-shirt and ripped jeans as the camera zoomed in on her face as she sang an acoustic version of “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick.”
The trophy for Best Original Song went to Rahul Sipligunj and “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR” by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava after a wildly energetic performance. Earlier in the night, Rihanna sang “Lift Me Up” from “Wakanda Forever,” with an accompanying orchestra; actress Stephanie Hsu replaced Mitski and joined David Byrne to sing EEAAO’s “This Is a Life” with hot dog fingers; and Sofia Carson sang “Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” accompanied on piano by songwriter Diane Warren, who just lost her 14th Oscar nomination.
Diane Warren would love to win at the Oscars. But don’t feel sorry for his losing streak.
Malala had the perfect answer to a stupid joke
About 2 1/2 hours later, Kimmel decided it would be fun to annoy celebrities in the audience with “questions” sent in by “viewers” and first addressed the Nobel laureate of the 25-year-old peace Malala Yousafzai: Was she thinking about Harry Styles really spitting on Chris Pine during the whole ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ drama? !
Malala, of course, had a ready answer: “I only talk about peace.”
Hugh Grant offered an excruciating red carpet interview
Pandemic social awkwardness has come for the red carpet — or at least that’s one way to explain why there have been so many uncomfortable interviews this year. But Grant took home the award for most excruciating, as poor ABC red carpet co-host Ashley Graham desperately tried to get something, anything out of their one-minute interaction.
Grant refused to play ball, from his favorite thing about the Oscars (“Uh…well…that’s fascinating”); whom he was excited to see (“No one in particular”) and even who designed the suit he wore (“I don’t remember. My tailor.”) Graham once again tried to get him to talk about the filming “Glass Onion”, but he pointed out that he was only in the film for a few seconds.
“But still, you came and had fun, right?” Graham asked sharply.
“Almost,” Grant replied, and the interview happily ended.