Biggest Moments of 2024 Oscars

Ryan Gosling slayed, Da’Vine Joy Randolph gave a knock-out speech and the Academy made peace with Christopher Nolan in a rather staid Oscars ceremony.

by | March 10, 2024 | Comments


Maybe even Jimmy Kimmel has concerns about Hollywood’s love affair with rebooting existing intellectual properties.

When Emma Stone accepted her lead actress Oscar for Poor Things on Mar. 10, the ceremony’s host referenced the last time she’d won the award: In 2017 for La La Land, when a backstage snafu caused her category’s envelope to make a second appearance on stage, confusing presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty into believing her musical comedy had also won for Best Picture (that honor actually went to writer-director Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight).

“Make sure you tear up that envelope so there’s no confusion with Best Picture,” Kimmel ad-libbed.

If another “Envelopegate” had happened, it would have been an exciting turn for an otherwise staid Oscars ceremony. Here are some of the biggest moments that did happen during the awards ceremony.

Ryan Gosling Brings the Kenergy

Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling, who were each nominated in their respective supporting categories and who star together in the upcoming cinematic take on the TV action-thriller The Fall Guy, mocked the supposed rivalry between their Oscar-nominated films Oppenheimer and Barbie while on stage promoting the work of stunt performers. And while Blunt’s Oppenheimer may have won enough Academy votes to take the top prize of the night (in addition to other awards), Gosling won our hearts with his performance of his song “I’m Just Ken” from his film. And to think he didn’t even have to say “hey girl.”

What Was I Made For? Winning an Oscar, Apparently

Still, it wasn’t Gosling’s power ballad that took the Original Song Oscar. That went to another meaningful number from Barbie: Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell’s “What Was I Made For?.” Their performance during the ceremony was equally a crowd-pleaser. And the win has double significance because it made the songwriters the youngest and second-youngest person ever to win a second Oscar. (They’d previously won for their work on the title track of the James Bond movie No Time to Die).

Batman and Beyond

Danny DeVito, Jennifer Lame and Arnold Schwarzenegger backstage with the Oscar® for Film Editing during the live ABC telecast of the 96th Oscars® at Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 10, 2024.

Jennifer Lame, the 2024 Oscar winner for film editing, with presenters Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Photo by Al Seib / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger joked that they’d been paired to present the Film Editing Oscar not because they’d starred together in the 1988 comedy Twins but because, as Schwarzenegger put it, “We both tried to kill Batman.” (DeVito was Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin in director Tim Burton’s Batman Returns and Schwarzenegger played Dr. Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze in director Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin).

The award they were presenting went to Oppenheimer’s Jennifer Lame, but one could argue that the two men weren’t the only Batman villains to get recognition that night. Cillian Murphy, who took home the lead actor trophy for starring in Oppenheimer, played the nefarious Scarecrow in 2008’s The Dark Knight — a film that, like Oppenheimer, was written and directed by Christopher Nolan and also one that was so notoriously snubbed from receiving a best picture nomination that the Academy changed its rules to allow for more nominees. (Nolan also made history at this year’s ceremony, winning his first-ever director and best picture Oscars for his biopic about the father of the atomic bomb).

That Speech was Da’Vine

The first Oscars speech of the night was also one of the best. In a tearful and clearly heartfelt moment while accepting her support actress Oscar, The Holdovers actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph told the audience that “for so long I’ve always wanted to be different, and now I realize I just need to be myself. And I thank you. I thank you for seeing me.”

The actress thanked her mother as well as a former teacher.

“I was the only black girl in that class, when you saw me and you told me I was enough,” she said of the latter. “And when I told you I don’t see myself, you said, ‘That’s fine. You’re going to forge our own path. You’re going to lay a trail for yourself.'”

Nothing to Ce-na Here

John Cena presents the Oscar® for Costume Design during the live ABC telecast of the 96th Oscars® at the Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 10, 2024.

John Cena presents the Oscar for costume design during the live ABC telecast of the 96th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (Photo by Trae Patton ©A.M.P.A.S.)

What better way to commemorate the power of Costume Design and an important moment of Oscar history (i.e. when a streaker crashed the 1974 ceremony) than to have John Cena present that category in the nude? (And yes, he was really naked).

So what if, as Kimmel teed up the joke, everyone assumed the anointed naked one would be the host’s frenemy Matt Damon?

Hi, Mum

Sean Lennon may have accepted an Oscar and the award for best son at the night’s ceremony. Lennon, along with Dave Mullins and Brad Booker, appeared on stage to accept the Animated Short Oscar for a film based on his parents’ work: War Is Over! Inspired By The Music Of John & Yoko. During his speech, he noted that it was Mother’s Day in the UK and asked the audience to wish his mum a happy one. They obliged.

Later that night, Oppenheimer producer Emma Thomas also paid respects to her (late) mother in honor of the holiday in England.

Making History in the Moment

Similar to some past ceremonies, the Oscar producers invited past recipients of the four acting categories on stage to offer thoughtful remarks about each of this year’s nominees. This was mostly charming, such as when Rita Moreno hummed a bit of her West Side Story song “America” in honor of Barbie Supporting Actress nominee America Ferrera. But it didn’t always go smoothly. Tim Robbins got a little trigger happy when spotlighting Supporting Actor nominee Robert De Niro by nearly calling his performance in Killers of the Flower Moon “Oscar-winning.” This caused a bit of confusion when the similarly named Robert Downey Jr. did win the award for his work in Oppenheimer.

“Thanks, fellas. It’s amazing. You only flubbed one line,” joked Downey Jr. when he got on stage.

A Call For Quality Films

One of the biggest commentaries on Hollywood itself came from relative newcomer Cord Jefferson. Upon accepting his Oscar for Adapted Screenplay, the American Fiction writer-director suggested that “instead of making one $200 million movie, try making twenty $10 million movies.” Downey Jr., whose work in the MCU movies has been uniquely lucrative, may have also been alluding to this when he said in his speech that “what we do is meaningful, and the stuff that we decide to make is important.”

Thumbnail image by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

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