Hollywood’s biggest night (or as Chris Rock aptly referred to it, the White People’s Choice Awards) played out last night and, if you’re like most, you realised how deadly boring it was after 30 minutes and changed the channel.
But you don’t have to worry about missing out on watercooler gossip, these are the highlights from the 2016 Oscars that it’s actually worth catching up on.
Booked before the #OscarsSoWhite controversy broke, Chris Rock pulled no punches, spending his monologue discussing Hollywood’s race issues and doing his best to make Hollywood’s finest uncomfortable. Rock killed his opening, keeping it both hilarious and aggressive.
Some of the skewerings didn’t work so well, though. Asians, who are also massively under-represented in Hollywood, became the butt of the joke in a sketch featuring three Asian-American children. Rock also brought out Stacey Dash – Dionne from Clueless and current nutjob on Fox News – for a segment that was the height of cringe.
There were three musical performances of nominated songs. Sam Smith kicked it off with a subdued (and pretty boring) ‘Writing’s On The Wall’ from Spectre. The usually great singer sounded mostly fine but struggled a bit with his falsetto. Despite going home with the Oscar for Best Song, ‘Skyfall’ it is not.
With an aerial performer, S&M clad dancers and a fog machine set to high, The Weeknd’s performance of ‘Earned It’ from Fifty Shades of Grey was much like the film that inspired it: style over substance. Maybe he was nervous in front of so many celebs, but The Weeknd sounded like the stage was getting to him, never really losing a slight shake in his voice.
The musical highlight was definitely Lady Gaga, as she continued her tour of dominating every major entertainment event. Surrounded by survivors of sexual assault, Gaga was filled with passion as she sung ‘Till It Happens to You’ from The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault at universities. Bringing the music and the message.
The biggest shock of the night came when British board-treader Mark Rylance won Best Supporting actor for Bridge of Spies. There were audible gasps from the crowd when Rylance’s name was called. Sylvester Stallone, Mark Ruffalo and Christian Bale were all expected to win out over the British actor. But then, there’s a reason he’s been labelled the greatest thespian of his generation.
Costume designer Jenny Beavan shocked everyone not by winning – she’s won before and has been nominated an astounding ten times – but by what she was wearing. Beavan accepted her award in a leather jacket and slacks. She definitely lived up to her industry nickname of “bag lady”, but her IDGAF attitude made it work.
The Big Winners
The biggest win of the night was Leonardo Dicaprio, who finally won an Oscar on his fifth attempt (but by the way people responded, you’d think it was his fiftieth). It was an expected win, but the crowd and Dicaprio’s reaction made it special.
His speech about climate change stood in sharp contrast to Matthew McConaughey’s ridiculously self-indulgent acceptance speech last year.