From Lady Gaga’s emotional performance to Chris Rock’s tone-deaf Asian joke, ABC’s live broadcast of the 88th Academy Awards ran the gamut
WORST: The introduction clip for the show — you know, the one that sets the tone for the show and gets viewers into the mood — started with a cheesy clip of all the ingredients that go into an Oscar, like heart, passion and inspiration. And just so viewers get the idea, the ingredients were then funneled into the Oscar statutes in pixie-dust form.
BEST: Chris Rock”s opening monologue. The host of the evening wasted no time in addressing the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, or as he dubbed this year”s Oscars, “the white People”s Choice Awards.” Rock then took a jab at actress Jada Pinkett Smith for boycotting the event, saying that “Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna”s panties. I wasn”t invited.”
BEST: Skit spoofing how hard it is for black actors to land a role in white Hollywood. The clip started with Whoopi Goldberg lending her two cents to the mop scene from “Joy.” Leslie Jones took on the role of the bear in “The Revenant,” Tracy Morgan played a danish-eating “Danish Girl,” while “The Martian”s” Jeff Daniels and Kristen Wiig discussed whether or not to spend “white dollars” to save a black astronaut, played by Chris Rock.
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WORST: Everyone”s favorite Fox News correspondent Stacey Dash made what can only be described as the most uncomfortable appearances of the night. The “Clueless” actress waved at the audience as she wished everyone a happy Black History Month. Dash raised eyebrows last month when she stated that Black History Month, BET and other institutions that celebrate racial differences should be eliminated.
BEST: If you hate the music the Oscars orchestra plays when a winner”s acceptance speech runs on too long, producers of this year’s event may have found a solution to the problem: A scroll at the bottom of the screen with the winners” thank-yous. Hallelujah!
WORST: Cate Blanchett, one of Hollywood’s most stylish actors, presented the Oscar for best costume design… makes sense. What didn’t make sense was having her struggle her way through a bunch of mannequins as she did her bit, making for a less than seamless moment.
BEST: Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe reminded us that banter between presenters doesn”t always have to be stiff or boring. As they presented the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, Gosling bragged about how he and Crowe have “two Oscars between the two of us.” But Crowe only won a single Oscar for Best Actor in 2000″s “Gladiator;” Gosling himself has yet to win.
BEST: For another pre-taped skit, Rock recruited actress Angela Basset to celebrate an Academy legend who was in films like “Enemy of State” and “Shark Tale” — Jack Black. This potshot to lack of Academy diversity joins other highlights like montages starring Leslie Jones and Whoopi Goldberg.
BEST: C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 took the stage to give a shout out to “Star Wars” composer John Williams who received his 50th Oscar nomination for this year”s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The moment was so awesome it had “Room” star Jacob Tremblay jumping out of his seat for a closer look.
BEST: Chris Rock isn’t only trying to dazzle as an Oscar host — he’s going after Father of the Year. Rock demand the millionaires in the audience help his daughter’s Girl Scouts of America troop sell the most cookies this year. Buyers included Kate Winslet, Sam Smith and Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell.
BEST: Kevin”s Hart showed his serious side as he addressed this year’s lack of diversity in Hollywood. The comedian put a positive spin on the issue as he addressed actors of color, saying, “Let”s not let this issue of diversity beat us.”
BEST: Chris Rock tackled the #OscarsSoWhite Controversy in a taped “man on the street” clip outside a movie theater in Compton, California. Rock then asked moviegoers whether they”d seen any of this year”s Best Picture nominees. After getting mostly blank stares, Rock then asked one movie-goer whether she’s seen “Straight Out of Compton,” to which she replied, “Oh, hell yeah!”
BEST: Louis C.K. took a light-hearted jab at documentary filmmakers as he presented the Oscar for best documentary feature. While feature filmmakers who win an Oscar go on to make millions, documentary filmmakers “will never be rich as long as they live,” adding that “this Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic.”
WORST: Sarah Silverman’s introduction for this year”s Best Song nominee “Writing”s On the Wall” from “Spectre” took a bizarre turn when the comedian went on a rant about James Bond, saying the iconic British spy is “a grower not a shower.” We’ll file this one under “TMI.”
BEST: With an incredibly heavy subject matter, Lady Gaga brought home another fabulous Oscar performance with her Diane Warren co-penned “Til It Happens To You,” from rape documentary “The Hunting Ground.” Survivors joined the singer on stage for a triumphant statement of support, which brought tears to the eyes of audience members like Rachel McAdams.
BEST: Dave Grohl gave everyone goosebumps with a touching rendition of The Beatles” classic “Blackbird” as the In Memoriam tribute played behind him. Interestingly, the song touches on race relations in America in the 1960s.
WORST: In a completely unexpected upset win, Sam Smith won the Oscar for Best Original Song over Lady Gaga”s “Till It Happens to You.” Even worse, Diane Warren has lost for the eighth time in that category.
BEST: Sacha Baron Cohen had probably one of the funniest lines of the night. Arriving in full Ali G gear Cohen described the film “Room” as “a movie about a room full of white people.”
WORST: On a night all about diversity, Rock trotted out three Asian children for a tone-deaf segment, joking they were accountants and were like other Asian children responsible for making iPhones in slave-like conditions.
BEST: Leonardo DiCaprio, winning his first Oscar on his fifth nomination, gave a heartfelt acceptance speech and even included a plug for his pet political issue, climate change.
BEST: The closing credits were played over a soundtrack of Public Enemy”s “Fight the Power,” which was featured in the 1989 Spike Lee film “Do the Right Thing.” It was the final nod of many to the Oscars diversity issue that occurred throughout the night. It”s just a shame that Lee, who boycotted this year”s ceremony, wasn”t there to hear it.