Oscars 2024: The Biggest Moments, Snubs And Surprises

From Billie Eilish’s heartrending performance to John Cena’s beefcake cameo, the 96th Academy Awards served up some pretty terrific moments and more than a few surprises (welcome to the party, Slash! Where you at, Wes Anderson?).

Here were the highlights — and lowlights — from Sunday’s telecast on ABC.

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Great Moment when members of Osage Nation walked the red carpet. Like the costumes we saw in Killers of the Flower Moon, their Indigenous attire was both extravagant and gorgeous.

Surprise how the show started five minutes late because some attendees still hadn’t made it into the theater. Arrivals has been complicated by the security measures meant to keep pro-Palestinian protesters at a distance, and that led to “hundreds of people” getting stuck outside the entrance.

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Hollywood CA ahead of 96th Oscars
Pro-Palestinian protesters in Hollywood, CA ahead of 96th Oscars

Snub delayed for Greta Gerwig and how she didn’t get a nomination for Best Director. It took all of four minutes at the top of the show before host Jimmy Kimmel addressed that elephant in the room. When the clapping began, Kimmel quipped, “I know you are clapping but you are the ones who didn’t vote for her, by the way. Don’t act like you had nothing to do with this.”

Great Moment when Kimmel called out all of Oscars below-the-line workers to take the stage — a not so gentle reminder that they are currently negotiating their contract that’s up in June.

Surprise for many, no doubt, to learn that Sean Ono Lennon made an Oscar-winning animated short film. He used his time on stage to lead everyone in a big happy birthday for his mom, Yoko, who just turned 91.

Snub to Gerwig, again, who lost to Cord Jefferson for adapted screenplay for American Fiction. No slight to the terrific Jefferson, but this category would have been the ONLY way Academy voters could made up for the fact they ignored her for Best Director.

Great Moment when the audience rose to their feet after Billie Eilish performed “What Was I Made For?” Eilish was visibly moved by the gesture; even Barbie’s Kate McKinnon couldn’t hold back the attagirls.

Surprise to see a very naked John Cena giving away the award for Costume Design. It started out as a flashback to the time a streaker took the stage during the 46th annual Oscars. Next thing we know, Cena peeks from behind the set and says he doesn’t want to do the streaker bit, but still takes center stage with only the winners envelope covering his little winner.

For those too young to remember when David Niven’s introduction of Elizabeth Taylor was interrupted by a dashing nude (and a pox on your damn youth), here it is:

Great Moment when Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling paid tribute to this year’s stunt work. Their introduction, however, was all about the Barbenheimer rivalry, with Gosling explaining that Blunt’s film got the tail end of that nickname because “Oppenheimer was riding Barbie’s coattails all summer.” Blunt fired back by saying “thanks for Ken-splaining that to me, Mr. I Need To Paint My Abs On to Get Nominated.” Ouch.

Surprise that the Twins reunion of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito got a standing ovation!

Snub to Masaki Takahashi, one of the Visual Effects designers behind Godzilla Minus One who didn’t get a chance to finish her speech. I wanted to hear more about the man whose picture you were holding.

Great Moment when the entire stage turned pink and Gosling performed his show-stopping “I’m Just Ken.” Surprise that Slash came along for the fun (he played guitar on the record). This may have been Oppenheimer‘s night but it was most definitely Barbie‘s show.

Awkward Moment when the camera showed how everyone but Da’Vine Joy Randolph gave 20 Days in Maruipol a standing ovation for Best Documentary Feature. She probably had a perfectly good reason for staying put in her front row chair (she was MIA later in the show), but I have to wonder, in that moment, if she wished that she wasn’t wearing such a standout color.

Surprise that Wes Anderson was a no-show for his first ever Oscar win. Bruh.

Great Moment when director Hamish Hamilton made sure to split the screen whenever it came time to present the actor categories. The technique was especially effective in the supporting categories, when Lupito Nyong’o made Da’Vine Joy Randolph choke up with her heartfelt introduction and when Tim Robbins flubbed his line and said “Oscar-winning” instead of “Oscar-worthy” performance while introducing Robert De Niro. I’m also burying the lede here; of all the great moments of the 96th Annual Academy Awards, these were the absolute best. Screw the clock, movie academy; make this a permanent fixture at the Oscars.

Snub to all those who died this year. The (unusually short) In Memoriam segment is supposed to pay tribute to all the greats we lost, but their names and images were completely upstaged by the orchestra, way too many contemporary dancers and a performance by the Bocellis. Why?

Kick in the pants to Emma Stone’s seamstress.

Surprise! Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell now have two Oscars. Gerwig has none.

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