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The Oscars 2024 best moments: from Ryan Gosling's blockbuster I'm Just Ken to John Cena in the buff

A very good doggo  (Getty Images)
A very good doggo (Getty Images)

The biggest night of the showbiz year has come and gone in a flurry of sequins, dresses, skits and one liners. This year’s Oscars was relatively tame by the standards of previous years – lest we forget The Slap of 2022 – but Hollywood’s glitzy do still showed how an awards ceremony should be done with a consumate host, strong performances and actual good jokes. Here’s our roundup of the highlights.

He’s just Ken

Ryan Gosling’s Kenergy was off the charts last night. Clad in a hot pink sequined suit, he took to the stage for a one-off performance of his bonkers Barbie single that had Billie Eilish cracking up from the first line. The details read like a fever dream: there was a homage to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, a melee of dancing Kens, karate-chopped woodblocks, spinning Barbie face cutouts… and, bizarrely, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Slash.

Gosling gave it all he had: so much so, in fact, that Emma Stone’s (with whom Gosling duetted in the crowd) custom Louis Vuitton dress did not survive the performance – accepting her award later, Stone said she was “pretty sure” the zip had burst.

Prize-winning pooch

Cillian Murphy who? The award for best boy clearly has to go to Messi, the canine star of Anatomy of a Fall – who also happens to appear in one of the film’s most harrowing scenes.

“Messi has an overdose scene,” Kimmel joked, adding: “I haven’t seen a French actor eat vomit like that since Gérard Depardieu.” Messi, complete with bow tie, duly got his own seat on the big night. He was also spotted peeing on Matt Damon’s Walk of Fame star. Is this the start of a new rivalry?

John Cen-it all

We’ll take any opportunity to marvel at John Cena’s chiselled abs, but the wrestler gamely went the whole hog (as it were) to deliver an award stark naked… with nothing except an oversized envelope covering his manhood. And the former wrestler managed to pull it off, before pulling on a Roman emperor-style toga to deliver the award. For best costume, obviously.

Happy Mother’s Day…

…to all the mums, of course, but Yoko Ono got a shout-out from the Oscars, as son Sean picked up his award for best animated short. “My mother turned 91 this February and today is Mother's Day in the UK, so could everyone say Happy Mother's Day, Yoko,” he told the crowd, who duly obliged. Much better than a bunch of tired daffs from the local petrol station.

Putting Trump in his place

The big job of presenting went to veteran Jimmy Kimmel, who managed to keep things (more or less) on the rails. The jokes landed, the monologue was pleasingly quippy and he even managed to make a joke at Trump’s expense as the former US President criticised Kimmel’s performance on his Truth Social app. “Isn’t it past your jail time?” he responded. Zing.

Pink vs Black

Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling (REUTERS)
Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling (REUTERS)

The Barbenheimer rivalry clearly still burns bright: so bright that Emily Blunt and Ryan Gosling couldn’t resist a few jibes as they took to the stage together. I’m just happy that we can finally put this ‘Barbenheimer’ rivalry aside,” Gosling told Blunt, who quipped back, “it wasn’t that much of a rivalry.”

Things jokingly went downhill after Blunt then accused Gosling of “Ken-splaining” and called him “Mr. ‘I Need to Paint My Abs to Get Nominated.” A mic-drop if ever there was one.

Speeches

How could we forget the speeches? Robert Downey Jr thanked “my terrible childhood and the academy, in that order,” as he accepted the Oscar (his first) for best supporting actor, but the award for biggest tear-jerker surely goes to Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who won best supporting actress for her role in The Holdovers.

“I didn’t think I was supposed to be doing this as a career,” she told the crowd, opening weeping. “For so long I have always wanted to be different. And now I realise, I just have to be myself.”

Kate McKinnon’s ‘tasteful nudes’

Kate McKinnon and America Ferrera (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Kate McKinnon and America Ferrera (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Spare a thought for Kate McKinnon, who was the recipient of a few unpleasant surprises on the big night. Taking to the stage to present best documentary short (which McKinnon joked included Jurassic Park and its sequels), co-host America Ferrara had to break the news that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park “weren’t real.”

Even worse, when McKinnon checked whether “Jeff Goldblum is real”, the answer was a no. “Then to whom have I been sending my tasteful nudes?” she replied. Smash cut to Jurassic Park’s director Steven Spielberg in the audience. Well, then.

Godzilla’s first Oscar

From dinosaurs to the king of monsters: 2024 marked the year that Godzilla won its first Oscar, a full seven decades since the franchise actually began. The award, for best special effects, came for recent film Godzilla Minus One – and in a sweet shout-out, the Godzilla team all wore specially-themed shoes for the big night, with monster claws in place of heels.

“So far from Hollywood, even the possibility of standing on this stage seemed out of reach,” director Takashi Yamazaki said emotionally when the team won. “The moment we were nominated, we felt like Rocky Balboa welcomed into the ring as equals by our biggest rivals, which was already a miracle. But, here we stand!”

Batman villains (re)unite

What a treat to see Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito reunite on the big stage. Of all the surprises from this year’s Oscars, this must have been one of the sweetest, as the Twins stars appeared to a standing ovation to present the award for best visual effects.

"Arnold and I are presenting together for a very obvious reason," DeVito started, to which Schwarzenegger responded, "we both tried to kill Batman." Yes, they both played Batman villains: The Penguin and Mr Freeze, in fact. How did Batman kill their villainous alter-egos? For Mr Freeze it was with love, but for the Penguin it was the slightly more prosaic, “he threw me out a window.”

Then, spotting Michael Keaton, one of the great Batmen (Batmans?), in the audience Arnie said, “You’ve got a lot of nerve to show your face around here” while DeVito offered him out after the Governor’s Ball. Wonderful stuff.

Field of Dreams

Why did comedian John Mulaney decide to run through the entire plot of Kevin Costner’s 1989 film Field of Dreams while presenting an award? And more importantly, how did he manage to do it in a minute? The jury’s still out, but there’s no denying it was an impressive feat. “I love Field Of Dreams,” he finished after the fast-forward rundown. “That should win best picture.” Sure thing, John: just three decades late.