With so much controversy surrounding the 91st Academy Awards, all eyes were on the telecast to see how the host-less show would turn out. Casual viewers probably didn't notice too much of a difference without a host, outside of the unconventional opening featuring Queen and Adam Lambert. Who knew an awards show could start without a monologue?
But the break with tradition didn't stop the usual string of social media controversies, meme-able moments, iconic speeches, and goofy reaction shots from livening up the night. On an evening that saw a movie in which Viggo Mortensen folds up an entire pizza and eats it win Best Picture, there were plenty of other moments that are worth enshrining in internet history forever.
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Marie Kondo sparked joy on the red carpet.
If you were looking for yet another sign of Netflix's power in pop culture, the star of the streaming site's mega-popular Tidying Up with Marie Kondo scored an invite to the Oscars and was spotted on the red carpet. Did she spark joy? At the very least, it looked like she was enjoying herself, which is all you need to do at the Oscars. Maybe she was the one who inspired Billy Porter to trim down his red carpet outfit for pre-show hosting duties.
Glenn Close stared down Melissa McCarthy.
Glenn Close had a wild Oscars weekend. At the Independent Spirit Awards, which took place Saturday, she took her dog Pip (a.k.a. Sir Pippin of Beanfield) as a date, bringing him up onstage when she won for Best Female Lead. Then, when she stepped on the Oscars red carpet in a gold gown, she immediately created a viral moment. While waiting to speak to POSE star Billy Porter, who was hosting the ABC pre-show, she contorted her face brilliantly at fellow Best Actress nominee Melissa McCarthy. Close has quietly been emerging this awards season as a social media star, Instagramming Pip, posing with her fellow nominees, and taking selfies with Timothée Chalamet. Not every social media influencer has to be a twentysomething you've never heard of.
Did you know that there was no host of the Oscars this year? Well, there wasn't, and that was only one of several controversies swirling around the show. Without a verified famous person to tell a few jokes and heap praise on Hollywood, how would the show start? With the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody poised for a big night, the remaining members of Queen played portions of "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" as Lambert proved, yet again, that Freddie Mercury was indeed a singular talent.
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph became the latest to roast Fyre Festival.
The Oscars may not have had a host this year, but we got a small taste of what could have been when Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph stepped out onto the stage to deliver the first award. They did a few impressions of the nominees, including one inspired impersonation of the deep-voiced Sam Elliott, and Rudolph took her shot to flirt with Chadwick Boseman. Then, Tina Fey threw her arms in the air: "Hey everyone! Look under your seats! You're all getting one of those cheese sandwiches from the Fyre Festival!" Three hours in, the attendees were probably wishing that part of the bit had been true.
Chris Evans helped Regina King up the stairs.
He may be on the verge of hanging up his shield as Captain America, but Chris Evans is always looking for chances to act super-heroic -- or, in this case, helpful and polite. As Regina King made her way up the precarious stairs to collect the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her excellent work in If Beale Street Could Talk, Evans sprung into action and made sure she made it. Thank you for your service, Chris.
Melissa McCarthy and Brian Tyree Henry struggled with their costumes.
Costume designing a film isn't an easy task. You want your work to be noticed without distracting from the actual movie, and you want to strike the appropriate tone while also being, in some cases, historically accurate. When Melissa McCarthy (nominated for Best Actress for Can You Ever Forgive Me?) and Brian Tyree Henry walked onstage to deliver their award, they opted for… every costume. Henry had on Black Panther-esque face paint and a blue silk gown, and McCarthy opted for a royal mink cape with all the rabbits from The Favourite stapled on. She even had one as a hand puppet -- which made opening the envelope a little bit tricky.
The CIA posted an ill-advised Black Panther Twitter thread.
Listen, lots of individuals and brands make bad Tweets during the Oscars -- it's part of the experience. But, for some bizarre reason, the social media director for the CIA decided it was time to get some #engagement by firing off a few posts about Black Panther, specifically the movie's fictional metal vibranium. It was like a lame Neil deGrasse Tyson joke, but delivered by a shady government Twitter account. The dystopian levels were high with this one.
Keegan Michael Key entered in dramatic fashion.
In a night light on stunts and social-media-friendly bits, Keegan Michael Key decided to mix it up a bit by dropping in from the ceiling. Ahead of introducing the Bette Midler performance of Best Song Original song nominee "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns, the comedian pulled a Mary Poppins himself and descended from the roof of the Dolby Theatre via umbrella. Once he safely landed and it came to closing the umbrella, though, he wasn’t quite as graceful as the Disney character. He ended up whacking it against the wires attached to his tux, but hey, not everyone has the touch of a magical nanny.
Trevor Noah made a good joke about Mel Gibson...
Most Best Picture intros are fairly rote, but Trevor Noah's speech for Black Panther managed to fit in a heartfelt tribute to the film and a dig at Mel Gibson. He began by explaining how popular the phrase "Wakanda Forever" became after the film was released. "Even backstage, Mel Gibson came up to me like, 'Wakanda Forever.' He said another word after that, but the Wakanda part was nice." It's a reference to the racist comments in Gibson's past, and how he was more recently welcomed back into the Hollywood fold. Don't forget: Gibson was nominated for an Oscar for directing as just two years ago.
...but made an even better one at the expense of white people who don't speak Xhosa.
You know how Noah joked that "Growing up in Wakanda, I would see T'Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase" -- Xhosa being one of South Africa's official languages -- and most people thought it was a solidly banal inspirational moment? When Noah translated the phrase, "Abelungu abazi' uba ndiyaxoka,'" as "In times like these, we are stronger when we try to fight together than when we try to fight apart," most American viewers took him at face value. But on Twitter, Xhosa speakers were cracking up because the phrase apparently means "white people don't know I'm lying." There are no Xhosa speakers on the Thrillist Entertainment team who can confirm this translation with absolute certainty, but when in doubt, it's always wise to trust strangers on Twitter.
Spike Lee wasn't a fan of Awkwafina's joke.
The legendary director doesn't hide how he feels. When the star of Crazy Rich Asians presented with comedian John Mulaney, they each had a bit about how they were freaking out because it was their first time presenting an award at the Oscars. Like most bits, it was awkward and forced, but when Awkwafina said she was star-struck in Spike Lee's presence, barely able to squeak out, "Spike Lee!" Lee himself decidedly did not find it funny.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's performance of their hit "Shallow" from A Star Is Born was inevitably going to be one of the night's biggest moments. But Jackson and Ally Maine did not need any bells and whistles to create magic -- all it took was a piano and a couple of microphones. With Gaga taking to the piano, they sang while smoldering, all building to a finale where Cooper joined her on the bench. They ended staring deeply into each other's eyes, nearly kissing. (Honestly, they should have kissed!) It was sexy. It was uncomfortable. It was instantly iconic.
Sam Jackson told Spike Lee the score of the New York Knicks game.
While presenting both the awards for Best Original Screenplay, which went to Green Book, and Best Adapted Screenplay, which went to BlacKkKlansman, Captain Marvel co-stars Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson did some standard banter about the importance of good writing for actors. But at the start, Jackson did his best ESPN ticker impression by letting his longtime collaborator (and long-suffering New York basketball fan) Spike Lee know that the Knicks won tonight, breaking an 18-game home losing streak. What are friends for? At least Lee knows how to look on the bright side.
Lee also gave the best acceptance speech of the night.
The director was nominated for more Academy Awards tonight than in the entirety of his storied career (his 2015 Honorary Oscar doesn't count!), and when he won Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, he made the most of it. In a speech referencing America's 400-year history of genocide and racism, Lee received his Oscar from Samuel L. Jackson, who also starred in the movie Spike referenced at the end of his politically fiery speech: Do the Right Thing. Lee even jumped into Jackson's arms in a moment of unrestrained giddiness. And for those wondering what Lee said to get an extended bleep at the beginning of his time on stage, it was apparently, "Do not turn that motherfucking clock on!" We're glad the Academy listened.
Olivia Colman's speech -- complete with fart noise -- was a close second place.
Glenn Close was the preordained winner for Best Actress, so when Olivia Colman usurped her, winning the prize for her work as the addled Queen Anne in The Favourite, it was a surprise not just to the audience, but to Colman herself. The British actress was delightfully in shock throughout the entirety of her speech, even stopping at one point to make a fart noise with her mouth. By the end she was just shouting names of her fellow nominees. "Lady Gaga!" she said, and Gaga blew kisses from the audience.
Rami Malek fell off the stage.
After the ceremony had ended, the Bohemain Rhapsody actor fell off the stage at the Dolby Theater and had to be treated by paramedics, according to People. Thank god for Chelsea Peretti's Instagram, who summed up how it actually went down in her replies: "there was a hole in the stairs w like a 20 foot drop to the orchestra and homeduder almost fell down but caught himself on his arms and was dangling." Malek made sure to keep his statue safe, first and foremost, holding it in the air as he took a tumble. He's fine, by the way.
Green Book somehow took home Best Picture.
Heading into Oscar night, Best Picture was one of the toughest categories to predict. Of the eight nominees, a handful of films -- including Bohemian Rhapsody, Black Panther, BlackKklansman, The Favourite, and Roma -- looked like plausible winners depending on how you thought the voting might go down. By most metrics, it was a close race. But in the end, the self-congratulatory message of Green Book, director Peter Farrelley's bumbling and cloying road movie about race and friendship, was apparently too tempting for the Academy. They had to give the trophy to the movie where Viggo Mortensen folds a whole pizza and eats it like a sandwich.
After winning awards earlier in the night for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, Green Book's Best Picture win solidified its status as the Crash (or Driving Miss Daisy) of this decade. Neither of those movies have many vocal admirers today -- Crash is routinely cited as one of the worst Best Picture winners ever -- and it will likely be tough to find many people proudly flying the flag for Green Book in the coming years. The film's producers slapped each other's backs on stage in celebration, but even in the moment it felt like a win on which history won't look kindly.
Spike Lee left when Green Book was announced Best Picture winner.
Spike Lee's good night ended when, yet again, the director was snubbed by the Academy in the Best Picture category, this time losing out to Green Book. (Do the Right Thing was roundly ignored during the 62nd Oscars in 1990, when Driving Miss Daisy, another particularly unsubtle film, won Best Picture. "Every time somebody is driving somebody, I lose," Lee quipped backstage.) Likely less out of personal vendetta than the grim social and political tenor around Green Book, Lee apparently "stormed out" of the theater when the Peter Farrelly film was announced the winner. After some pacing and a tense-looking conversation with BlacKkKlansman producer Jordan Peele, Lee returned, but turned his back to the stage in protest during the crew's acceptance speech.
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