The 88th Academy Awards aired Sunday, February 28, 2016 on ABC.
Sunday night, if you were at home like me, you probably saw the 88th Academy Awards. The Academy attempted to address the issue of racism in Hollywood except, it was weird. It’s like a man talking about how thievery is disgusting and needs to end after pulling the biggest heist known to man. Their push to be more racially inclusive seemed forced and was awkward in so many ways. However, there was a lot of good that came out of this awards show. The actual problem was spoken about as were other issues: sexual abuse, gay rights, and climate change. So if you missed the Oscars, here are the top moments.
Chris Rock’s hosting abilities
He’s funny and un-apologetically blunt. I liked it. If there’s anything the Academy did right, it was hiring Chris Rock to host. His monologue was fantastic. He called the Oscars the “White People’s Choice Awards” and likened Hollywood to a sorority. Here’s the full video:
Chris Rock just opened a blistering can of whoopass during his Academy Awards monologue! #OscarsSoWhite #AcademyAwards #Oscars2016 #Oscars
Posted by The Raw Story on Sunday, February 28, 2016
Rock didn’t ignore the elephant in the room but used his position to tell the millions watching what was up. The Academy made sure to include a number of racially diverse presenters which is definitely a step up but they’re still not getting nominated. Chris Rock joked about the increase in colored presenters when he welcomed the audience back from a commercial break by exclaiming “We’re black!”. Hopefully, next year we get a better range of nominees.
Also, there was a parody starring Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, and Leslie Jones. The black actors replaced white actors in riveting scenes from Joy, The Revenant, The Danish Girl, and The Martian. The best video can be found on the Oscars official page. Totally worth seeing.
Sam Smith’s acceptance speech
Sam Smith won for Best Original Song for “Writing’s On The Wall” and dedicated the award to the LGBT community. He may not be the first openly gay man to win an Academy Award (controversy info here), but his message is still strong.
— E! News (@enews) February 29, 2016
Lady Gaga’s performance
Vice President Biden was present at the Oscars to introduce Lady Gaga. They used the stage to advocate against sexual abuse and give support to the “It’s On Us” campaign. Sexual assault is all too real and it’s past time that we, as a country, stand up against such violence. Gaga was joined on stage by other victims who bravely stood up to help send a soul shaking message. Violence of this kind should not be tolerated, it is not the victim’s fault, and rape culture existing in the 21st century is unspeakably disgusting. Check out the “It’s On Us” campaign.
The crowd was on their feet and some in tears. The performance was chilling, meaningful, and wholly incredible. Diane Warren and Brie Larson (who won Best Actress for Room) hugged each survivor as they exited the stage. Chris Gardner caught the moment and posted it on Twitter.
Best Director Speech
Alejandro G Iñárritu won the Oscar for Best Director for The Revenant and his speech was powerful. I applaud him for continuing his speech even while the music was playing. Honestly, the Academy should stop music when they realize the person speaking is saying something of grave importance. Iñárritu spoke about the inability of many to receive such accolades as an Academy Award. His film targeted issues on race and he mentioned a scene in his speech. The most memorable quote was his hoping that “the color of the skin become as irrelevant as the length of our hair.” #Preach
Stacey Dash’s awkward announcement
Chris Rock introduced Stacey Dash as the Academy’s new director of the “Minority Outreach Program”. Apparently, it was a joke but no one was laughing. Dash is currently a controversial figure (US Weekly explains) but the biggest issue I have with her appearance was her role. According to her blog, Stacey Dash performed the stunt after the Academy added her to help increase their on-stage diversity. This goes with what everyone was thinking — The Academy was just throwing a bunch of colored men and women into the show to bypass the racial criticism. This elaborate “joke” was awkward and unnecessary. If they had apologized for the lack of diversity and pledged to change on the show, it would have been better. They did great with the ‘Black History Month Minute’ segment but should have expanded. Twitter users were not kind about her cameo:
— Joel Arthur (@joelcifer) February 29, 2016
Upon seeing Stacey Dash pic.twitter.com/TBXLOJZ4va
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) February 29, 2016
The next guy is definitely the glass half full kind:
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) February 29, 2016
If you were ever curious if the feeling of awkwardness could transfer through television, you have your answer. Now, let’s look at another moment from the 2016 Academy Awards that’s a whole lot more light-hearted.
Jacob Tremblay being Jacob Tremblay
Let’s be honest, no description necessary.
Impromptu Girl Scouts cookie sale
In a very crazy but amazing twist, Chris Rock opened the floor to his daughter’s Girl Scouts group and they sold some cookies. Now, when I say they sold some cookies, I actually mean $65,243.00 of Girl Scouts cookies. Bless us, Lord. I’m in shock at how quickly these girls were able to get people to cough up that kind of money. Yes, the room was full of millionaires but at $4 a box, that’s incredible. It’s nice to know that celebrities also have a weakness for Girl Scout cookies. The girls probably had twenty minutes to make that final total. Granted, I saw some celebrities throwing up green Benjamins and Chris Rock added the pressure with this quote, “Leo! You made $30 million! Come on!” All in all, it was a ridiculous and great moment. Plus, the internet did not disappoint:
I need someone at the #Oscars to give me a shoutout to donate to my upcoming GoFundMe to pay for these loans
— king of hearts (@yosoykingjoey) February 29, 2016
Yay, for Girl Scout cookies! P.S. if anyone wants to send me a box of Tagalongs, please do. Now, let’s talk about the most important win of the night.
Leo winning Best Actor … finally
After decades in show biz, Leonardo DiCaprio received his first Academy Award for Best Actor. Years of memes, upsets, close calls, and downright frustration have led to this moment. Leo, as classy as ever, used the spotlight to bring up the issue of climate change. He thanked his many friends *cough* Kate Winslet *cough* and everyone who helped him achieve this award (full speech here). Then, the internet exploded. Here’s my all time favorite video reaction:
The 2016 Academy Awards were long but the night had a lot of memorable moments. There were important messages being spread and thousands of dollars worth of cookies being sold. For a list of all the nominees and winners of the night, click here. Also, the internet is my favorite thing ever and my faith in humanity is always restored when I read/see how funny people can be.
Tell me about your favorite Oscars moment in the comments below or tweet me, @SuryaCherian.