The Best, Worst, and Most Memorable Moments of the 2024 Oscars

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Beginning an hour earlier than usual, at 7 p.m. ET, the 96th Academy Awards kicked off with an opening monologue from four-time host Jimmy Kimmel that set the tone for the evening ahead: celebratory, politely humorous, and glam as usual. The show took off from there, with The Holdovers' Da'Vine Joy Randolph securing the first win of the night for Best Supporting Actress.

With 13 nominations, Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer went into the night with the potential to break the record of 11 wins by a single film held by 1959's Ben Hur, 1997's Titanic, and 2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. But after losing out on Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay (which went to American Fiction) early on, its chances of even tying the record dropped significantly. It still ended the night with an impressive seven awards, including the last prize of the night, Best Picture.

The night was filled with feel-good moments, from an appearance by Anatomy of a Fall's canine star Messi to Randolph's emotional acceptance speech (accompanied by a cutaway to her co-star Paul Giamatti weeping with joy). There was also a completely nude John Cena and a Kentastic Ryan Gosling performance.

Here were the best and worst moments of the 2024 Oscars.

Most Acceptable Opening Monologue

After acknowledging that the show was already running five minutes behind, Kimmel wasted no time diving into his lineup of prepared jokes. He began by calling out the controversy surrounding Greta Gerwig's perceived Best Director snub. "Thanks to Greta Gerwig, who many believe deserved to be nominated for Best Director tonight," he said as many in the room applauded. "Hold on a second. I know you’re clapping, but you’re the ones who didn’t vote for her, by the way."

He then launched into roasting a number of the night's biggest attendees, including Robert Downey Jr., Bradley Cooper, and Christopher Nolan. On X, the general buzz surrounding Kimmel's monologue was that it was somewhat "annoying."

But he struck a chord by praising the IATSE members who refused to cross the picket lines during last year's SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. "We were able to make the deals because of the people who rallied beside us," he said.

Most Heartfelt Speech 

After being introduced by Lupita Nyong’o, an emotional Da’Vine Joy Randolph took the stage to claim the first trophy of the night for Best Supporting Actress for her powerful breakout performance in The Holdovers. The win marked Randolph’s first Oscar, and prompted a teary speech about how far she had come and how hard she had worked to get there.

Randolph gave particular thanks to one of her drama teachers, Ron Van Lue. "When I was the only Black girl in that class. When you saw me and you told me I was enough, and when I told you, ‘I don’t see myself.’ You said, ‘That’s fine. We’re going to forge our own path. You are going to lay a trail for yourself,’” she said.

Best Music Supervision for an Award

When Anatomy of a Fall secured an early win for Best Original Screenplay, director and co-writer Justine Triet's walk to the stage to accept the award was accompanied by Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band's now-infamous cover of 50 Cent's P.I.M.P, which plays a major role in the movie. Talk about a needle drop.

Best Tradition Revived

For the first time since 2009, five past acting winners presented the award in their respective categories for Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, and Best Actor. The revival brought luminaries like Jamie Lee Curtis, Lupita N'yongo, Christoph Waltz, and Mahershala Ali to the stage, and added a sentimental and personal touch to the night's proceedings.

Most Passionate Plea

While accepting the Oscar for Best International Film, Zone of Interest filmmaker Jonathan Glazer drew connections between his movie—which centers on the family of a German commandant living in luxury right next door to the atrocities he's overseeing at the Auschwitz concentration camp—to Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

"Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst," he said. "Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people."

Read more: The Zone of Interest Oscar Winner Jonathan Glazer Said What No One Else Dared to Say

Other Most Passionate Plea

Stating that he might be the first person on the Oscars stage to ever say, “I wish I’d never made this film,” 20 Days in Mariupol director Mstyslav Chernov gave an impassioned speech about the war in Ukraine. 

“I wish I could exchange this for Russia never attacking Ukraine, never occupying our cities,” he said while accepting the award for Best Documentary Feature Film. “I cannot change history. I cannot change the past. But all together—among you, some of the most talented people in the world—we can make sure the record is set straight, and the truth will prevail…Cinema forms memories, and memories form history.”

Most Kenergy

Ryan Gosling delivered a much anticipated performance of “I’m Just Ken” that saw the actor, adorned a glittering pink suit, belting out his hit song from Barbie alongside the song's co-writer Mark Ronson, with his fellow Ken co-stars dancing around him. Gosling didn’t hold back—and the high-energy act brought the house down.

Most Genuinely Shocked Winner

After hearing Michelle Yeoh announce her name as the winner of the Oscar for Best Actress, Emma Stone appeared to be totally stunned. The Poor Things star took to the stage to accept the award for her acclaimed leading role as Bella Baxter, and seemed to be a bit flustered as she delivered a speech in which she credited all her fellow nominees.

Read more: Emma Stone’s Best Actress Oscar Win Brings Mixed Feelings About Lily Gladstone’s Loss

Stone’s win may have come as a surprise to some, as Lily Gladstone had emerged as a favorite in the category for her performance in Killers of the Flower Moon. Gladstone also would have been the first Native American actress to win the award.

Most Bizarre Award Presentation

While presenting the final award of the night, the legendary Al Pacino gave a brief, somewhat chaotic spiel about the category of Best Picture before declaring the winner with little to no preamble. Although clips from the nominated films had played throughout the night, Pacino declined to remind viewers about which 10 movies were in contention.

“Best Picture…uh, I have to go to the envelope for that, “ he said while unsealing the card. “And I will. Here it comes. And my eyes see Oppenheimer?”

Indeed, Oppenheimer's producers provided fitting closure to a night on which the movie dominated, ending its long run of box office and critical success since premiering back in July.

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