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Oscars 2024: The 14 Best, Worst and Weirdest Moments

There were no slaps, streakers (though John Cena came close!) or Adele Dazeem-level name butcherings, but the Oscars still shocked us in one way this year: by ending at a reasonable time!

Sunday’s broadcast, which began an hour early at 7/6c, achieved the rare awards show feat of sending the East Coasters to bed before midnight; take note, Grammys! And perhaps we’re just getting soft as another awards season comes to an end, but we found this year’s Oscars to be… kinda great? Even our annual round-up of the ceremony’s best and worst moments, which you can find in full below, leans heavily toward the evening’s highlights — a delightful way to close out these few months of accolades, if you ask us.

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Among our favorite moments from the night: stirring speeches from winners Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Cord Jefferson; the cutaways (of which there weren’t enough, frankly!) to Anatomy of a Fall‘s canine cast member Messi; and not one, but two memorable appearances from Ryan Gosling. But it wasn’t a totally flawless night, and we think Ke Huy Quan might agree.

Keep scrolling for our complete recap of the Oscars’ best and worst moments, then hit the comments with your own picks!

BEST: The Perfect Pooch-line

BEST: The Perfect Pooch-line
BEST: The Perfect Pooch-line

Including a sweet dog in your monologue is almost too easy a way to get on our “Best” list, but hey, it worked for Jimmy Kimmel on Sunday! While reminiscing about Robert Downey Jr.’s past work in 2006’s The Shaggy Dog, Kimmel offered up a casting suggestion for a hypothetical present-day remake of the movie: precious Anatomy of a Fall pup Messi, who stole our hearts with a sweet head tilt and the most fashionable bow tie in the whole auditorium. Later in the broadcast, he even clapped his paws like the best, most respectful boy. — Rebecca Iannucci

BEST: Standing O for Hollywood’s Real Superheroes

BEST: Standing O for Hollywood’s Real Superheroes
BEST: Standing O for Hollywood’s Real Superheroes

Before wrapping his monologue, Kimmel brought out the “teamsters, truck drivers, lighting crew, sound, camera, gaffers, grips” — all the folks who refused to cross the picket line during Hollywood’s dual writers’ and actors’ strikes. “Thank you for standing with us,” Kimmel said as the audience rose to its feet. “We want you to know that in your upcoming negotiation, we will stand with you, too.” — Ryan Schwartz

BEST: Most Gracious Acceptance Speech

BEST: Most Gracious Acceptance Speech
BEST: Most Gracious Acceptance Speech

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Da’Vine Joy Randolph took center stage to accept the Oscar for Actress in a Supporting Role — just look at her Holdovers co-star, Paul Giamatti! What followed was one of the most inspiring speeches of the night: “I’ve always wanted to be different,” Randolph said. “Now I realize that I just need to be myself.” — R.S.

BEST: Cord Jefferson Makes a Plea

BEST: Cord Jefferson Makes a Plea
BEST: Cord Jefferson Makes a Plea

While accepting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay, American Fiction scribe Cord Jefferson eloquently emphasized the importance of investing in independent films, noting that Hollywood’s risk-averse tendencies often prioritize big-budget projects instead. “But $200 million movies are also a risk, you know? It doesn’t always work out, but you take the risk anyway,” he pointed out to enthusiastic applause. “Instead of making one $200 million movie, try making 20 $10 million movies, or 50 $4 million movies… [Up-and-coming filmmakers] just want a shot, and we can give them one.” Hear, hear! — R.I.

BEST: John Cena Grins and Bares It

BEST: John Cena Grins and Bares It
BEST: John Cena Grins and Bares It

Orchestrated as a nod to the streaker that crashed the Oscars ceremony 50 years ago, Barbie merman John Cena had second thoughts about presenting the award for Costuming in the buff. Kimmel eventually coaxed him on-stage, where the super-buff Cena seemingly wore nothing but the envelope containing the winner. — Matt Webb Mitovich

BEST: A Most Original Performance

BEST: A Most Original Performance
BEST: A Most Original Performance

Having Osage Nation dancers perform during Scott George’s “Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People),” which was nominated for Best Original Song, took what was already one of the most unique and powerful performances in Oscar history and elevated it to a whole other level. — M.W.M.

BEST: #Barbenheimer Feud

BEST: #Barbenheimer Feud
BEST: #Barbenheimer Feud

If The Fall Guy is even half as entertaining as Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling’s Oscar interplay — Gosling suggested that Oppenheimer rode Barbie’s coattails all summer; Blunt referred to Gosling as “Mr. I Have to Paint My Abs On to Get Nominated” — then we’re all in for a great time at the movies come this summer. — R.S.

WORST: RDJ’s Surprising Snub

WORST: RDJ’s Surprising Snub
WORST: RDJ’s Surprising Snub

Ke Huy Quan was extremely enthusiastic when announcing Oppenheimer‘s Robert Downey Jr. as this year’s Best Supporting Actor winner — enthusiasm that was, perhaps unwittingly yet still noticeably, not reciprocated by Downey Jr. when he got on stage to accept his award. Upon grabbing the trophy from Quan, Downey Jr. barely made eye contact with him, instead shaking hands with Tim Robbins and fist-bumping Sam Rockwell. Quan then made an attempt to hand Downey Jr. the winning envelope with his name on it, but Downey Jr. turned away and headed to the mic. We can’t speak to the intention behind Downey Jr.’s snub, of course, but we can say it was an awkward and disappointing moment for viewers. — R.I.

BEST: Batman (Animosity) Returns

BEST: Batman (Animosity) Returns
BEST: Batman (Animosity) Returns

When Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito walked out on stage to present, our first reaction was a shrug. Hadn’t the former “twins” just reunited for a Super Bowl spot? But when they zagged by latching onto their shared past as Batman villains — and then took shots at Michael Keaton, seated in the audience (and gamely playing along with the bit) — the result was comedically Bat-tastic. — M.W.M.

BEST: Audition for 2025 Oscars Host

BEST: Audition for 2025 Oscars Host
BEST: Audition for 2025 Oscars Host

After killing it at the Governors Awards, John Mulaney appeared at Sunday’s main event to present Achievement in Sound and had the audience doubled over in no time. “For years, movies didn’t have sound… and then they figured it out,” he began. “Without sound, we wouldn’t have been able to hear such classic lines as ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat,’ ’I’ll have what she’s having’ and ‘He was in the Amazon with my mother when she was researching spiders just before she died.’” From there, the comedian made the case for why 1989’s Field of Dreams should win the 2024 Oscar for Best Picture. Suffice it to say, if Kimmel needs a break next year, the Academy should know just who to call. — R.S.

BEST: He’s Kenough!

BEST: He’s Kenough!
BEST: He’s Kenough!

We’ll be honest: We had no idea what to expect from Ryan Gosling’s performance of Barbie‘s “I’m Just Ken.” Would it be weirdly solemn and self-serious? Campy, but in a cringey way? In the end — much like Barbie the film did — Gosling struck the perfect balance of light-hearted humor, over-the-top theatrics and necessary self-awareness, making way for a massive dance number that featured Barbie‘s other Kens and lively audience participation from Barbie star Margot Robbie, director Greta Gerwig and Gosling’s frequent co-star Emma Stone. (And Slash! What?!) Here in the Dolby Theatre and anywhere else, this performance was a 10. — R.I.

WORST: In Memoriam’s Odd Dance Moves

WORST: In Memoriam’s Odd Dance Moves
WORST: In Memoriam’s Odd Dance Moves

While the vocals by Andrea and Matteo Bocelli during the In Memoriam montage were beautiful, the accompanying dancers felt unnecessary and distracting. What’s worse is they made it even more difficult to see the names of those we lost in what was already an oddly distant camera shot. — Vlada Gelman

BEST: ‘I Am in Awe of You’

BEST: ‘I Am in Awe of You’
BEST: ‘I Am in Awe of You’

Emma Stone could barely hold herself (or her dress!) together as she accepted her second Oscar for Lead Actress (following a previous win for La La Land). And while she was quick to acknowledge all of her fellow nominees — including Annette Bening, Sandra Hüller and Carey Mulligan — she took a moment to speak directly to the odds-on favorite in the category, Lily Gladstone. She turned to the Killers of the Flower Moon star and said, “I share this with you. I am in awe of you. It has been such an honor to do all of this together. I hope we get to do more together.” And now we wait for Hollywood to cast Stone and Gladstone in the movie we all deserve. — R.S.

WORST: Al Pacino Gets Anticlimactic

WORST: Al Pacino Gets Anticlimactic
WORST: Al Pacino Gets Anticlimactic

We mean no disrespect to a Hollywood GOAT like Al Pacino. But he was tasked with the most important announcement of the night — the reveal of this year’s Best Picture winner — and delivered the news of Oppenheimer‘s victory with a mumbled card reading that had us saying, “So… what won?” — R.I.

What did you think of this year’s Oscars ceremony? Grade it in our poll below, then hit the comments!

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