The stars were shining bright on Sunday! This year’s Academy Awards brought out the biggest names in Hollywood for a night of fun and celebration.
Coming together at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, this year’s Oscars was a musical performance-filled gala that also served as a celebration of cinema greatness and delivered some truly unexpected surprises and category upsets.
Hosted once again by Jimmy Kimmel — serving as emcee for the third time — this year’s show expertly navigated the potentially choppy waters of the first show since the infamous slap heard ’round the world.
From some long-awaited wins to some truly touching acceptance speeches, here are all the best, biggest and most memorable highlights from Sunday’s 95th Oscars ceremony!
Jimmy Kimmel Opens the Show
After parachuting into the Dolby Theatre (literally dropping down from the rafters), Kimmel delivered a monologue that was gently playful, poking fun at some of the nominees but with a loving and considerate tone — for the most part.
After ribbing Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Tom Cruise, he addressed last year’s infamous slap toward the end of his monologue, explaining, “We want you to have fun, feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So, we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech.”
Ke Huy Quan Brings on the Waterworks
After dominating much of the 2023 awards season, Ke Huy Quan closed it out with his first, historic Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor. The 51-year-old star took home the prize for Everything Everywhere All at Once, closing a nearly 40-year gap since Haing S. Ngor became the first performer of Asian descent to win the category in 1985.
“My mom is 84 years old and she’s at home watching. Mom, I just won an Oscar!” he proudly said through his tears as he held up his Oscar. “My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp. And somehow, I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage. They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This — this is the American dream.”
Jamie Lee Curtis Wins Her First Oscar
The screen legend won her first Oscar on Sunday — after getting her first-ever nomination in her 45-year-long career — for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once. It was the first surprise upset of the night, as Angela Bassett was the odds-on favorite to win the category. “I know it looks like I’m standing up here by myself, but I am not. I am hundreds of people,” she said before mentioning her fellow cast and crew, her “dream team,” her family, the supporters of the “genre movies” she’s made, and her late parents, emotionally telling them all, “We just won an Oscar.”
“Naatu Naatu” Makes History
Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava rocked the Dolby Theatre on Sunday night with their epic performance of the hit sensation “Naatu Naatu.” The singers and a throng of dancers had the entire crowd on their feet after belting out their vocals from the Indian film RRR. The performance, which undoubtedly had all eyes in India glued to their TV sets early Monday morning, earned a rousing ovation following the thrilling dance number.
Later in the evening, “Naatu Naatu” scored an Academy Award for Best Original Song, becoming the first song from an Indian film to win in the category.
Rihanna Shows Off Baby Bump During ‘Lift Me Up’ Performance
Rihanna took to the stage and gave viewers a show-stopping rendition of her Oscar-nominated single, “Lift Me Up,” from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack. Wearing a gorgeous, shimmering shirt and trouser pants set, Rihanna sang the ballad penned by herself, singer Tems, Oscar winner Ludwig G?ransson and Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler. The song serves as a tribute to Chadwick Boseman.
The Oscars audience was in awe as Rihanna belted out her ballad, hitting every high note with power and grace. Standing on a feathered platform, Rihanna looked emotional as she was met with a standing ovation. At the end of her performance, the camera panned to Rihanna’s partner and the father of her son and baby-on-the-way, A$AP Rocky, who appeared to be filled with pride as he cheered her on. Rocky also was celebrating Hollywood’s biggest night with a glass of champagne in his hand.
Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors Show Angela Bassett Some Love
Despite Bassett not winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, she still felt the love from Jordan and Majors, who gave her a special shout-out when they took the stage to present the award for Best Cinematography.
The handsome co-stars subtly gave Bassett a shout-out before getting to their scripted material, with Jordan nodding toward Bassett in the audience, and quietly sharing, “Hey, Auntie,” the line his character, Erik Killmonger, famously delivered to Bassett’s Queen Ramonda in the first Black Panther film. “We love you,” Majors added, with a supportive smile, before they got to the planned presentation.
John Travolta Gets Choked Up Introducing ‘In Memoriam’ Tribute
One of the most emotional and heartbreaking moments of the night came, as one might expect, from the “In Memoriam” segment, which was introduced by John Travolta. “In this industry, we have the rare luxury of getting to do what we love for a living, and sometimes getting to do it with people that we come to love,” shared Travolta. “And since tonight is a celebration of the work and the accomplishments of our community in this past year, it is only fitting then that we celebrate those we’ve lost, who dedicated their lives to their craft, both in front of and behind the camera.”
“Through their immeasurable contributions, each of them left an individual and indelible mark that shared and informed us. They’ve touched our hearts, they’ve made us smile, and became dear friends,” he continued, as his voice cracked and tears welled up in his eyes, “who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to.”
Travolta’s introduction paid special tribute to Olivia-Newton John, who sang “Hopelessly Devoted to You” in their 1978 musical, Grease. Travolta then introduced Lenny Kravitz, who sat at a piano and performed a moving rendition of his song, “Calling All Angels.”
Everything Everywhere All At Once Won Everything, All Night Long
The beloved sci-fi dramedy about family, pain, generational trauma, multiverses and hotdog fingers won over the hearts and minds of the Academy in a big way. The small, independent movie that could went into Sunday’s show with a total of 11 nominations — and wound up earning seven in total — including all of the major categories, except Best Actor, where it wasn’t nominated.
Ultimately, EEAAO took home the Oscar for Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Best Directing, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and the biggest category of all, Best Picture!
The 2023 Academy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel aired live on Sunday, March 12 starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. In the meantime, stay tuned to ETonline.com for complete Oscars coverage and the full list of winners.
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