Maybe it was the way Brendan Gleeson pointed at Jenny the emotional support donkey, or how Julia Louis-Dreyfus jazzed up what could have been a sleepy introduction to the Costume Design category by saying how she was donning a dress from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Either way, the 95th Oscars served up plenty of delightful moments for awards show-weary viewers.
Here are (more than a few) from Sunday’s telecast on ABC.
SURPRISE that no one got overtly political in their speeches. Dominic Patten and Ted Johnson were right: Oscars definitely aimed for less conservative dings, though host Jimmy Kimmel did let a few slip about Tucker Carlson’s edit of the January 6 insurrection and George Santos, while Daniel Scheinert said dressing drag was “a threat to nobody” while accepting the prize for directing Everything Everywhere All at Once.
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GREAT MOMENT when producers Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner kept it delightfully old school at the top of the show by featuring behind-the-scenes moments from this year’s nominated films, before humorously tossing it to Kimmel riding shotgun with Tom Cruise in a fighter jet. Terrific job, Mr. Kimmel; even Guillermo was at his best.
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SNUB to poor Ashley Graham, who had the unenviable task of interviewing an uncooperative Hugh Grant on the champagne carpet before the show. We know these exchanges can be mind-numbing, Hugh, but if you want to avoid these awkward moments, don’t agree to go on camera.
GREAT MOMENT when Grant redeemed himself onstage by celebrating Andie MacDowell’s perfectly moisturized skin while comparing his mug to “basically a scrotum.”
SURPRISE that James Cameron and Tom Cruise stayed away from the Oscars, despite both having nominations in the Best Picture category. Their absences were immediately acknowledged in Kimmel’s monologue. “Two guys who insisted that we go to the theater, didn’t come to the theater,” he said.
GREAT (albeit bittersweet) MOMENT when the wife of Alexei Navalny said of her imprisoned husband, “I’m dreaming of the day you will be free” when Navalny won the Oscar for Best Documentary.
SURPRISE when a hoarse Elizabeth Banks was joined on stage by someone in a very large bear costume to present the Oscar for Visual Effects. “Without visual effects, this is what the bear would look like [in Cocaine Bear]. It’s terrifying.” But very effective in conveying your message, Lizzy!
SNUB to last year’s Film Academy brass and everyone who attended the 94th Oscars. Kimmel was expected to make a few cracks about Will Smith’s egregious behavior, but the host also made sure to call out how no one did anything to shut up the King Richard star. “If anything unpredictable or violent happens just do what you did last year – nothing,” Kimmel joked. “Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”
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GREAT MOMENT when Ke Huy Quan, who was expected to win, burst into tears when he took the stage and talked about how his journey started on a boat — and ended up on the Dolby stage, where he accepted his first Oscar.
SNUB to any advertiser who didn’t get a free, in-show spot like the one rewarded to The Little Mermaid, which doesn’t hit theaters until May 26. Nice to see star Halle Bailey in a sea foam gown, though!
Dug the SURPRISE birthday serenade for James Martin, the star of the short film An Irish Goodbye, which won an Oscar. More sweet moments like this, movie academy, less promotional spots for Disney-owned fare.
GREAT MOMENT when Jamie Lee Curtis reminded the audience that her parents, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, were nominated for Oscars but never won. But their daughter did! If you didn’t tear up over that, you’re a straight-up corpse.
SNUB to Elvis‘ Mandy Walker, who got passed over for cinematography after winning the ASC Award last week. It went to All Quiet on the Western Front‘s James Friend, instead.
SURPRISE! Less sexy categories like the previously booted Sound, Film Editing and Documentary Short Form were back in the show and not the least bit boring to watch. Speaking of which…
SNUB To My Year of Dicks, which was passed over for The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse instead. Dicks was considered a favorite, and not just because of its delightful title.
GREAT MOMENT when M.M. Keeravaani gently rewrote a Carpenters song to accept the Oscar for “Naatu Naatu” from RRR.
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GREAT MOMENT when Kimmel asked Malala if she thought Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine in a cute bit involving viewer questions for the stars. “I only talk about peace,” deadpanned Malala, aka queen.
SNUB to the poor ticket holder who had to sit behind this cumulus cloud.
And, THIS REUNION.