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    Here are the 8 best Oscars highlights

    Here+are+the+8+best+Oscars+highlights

    The 88th Academy Awards aired Sunday night amid great controversy — a handful of actors boycotted the awards show because of the lack of nominee diversity (see: #OscarsSoWhite on Twitter).

    Nevertheless, the show must always go on, and here are all the best parts of film’s most prestigious night.

    1. Host Chris Rock cleared up the elephant in the room — #OscarsSoWhite — right away

    Rock spent just about his entire opening monologue refusing to let go of the hotly debated subject. Some moments spawned genuine laughter, such as his suggestion for fixing the race problem with the academy by merely adding a black category, like best black friend.

    Rock comically pointed out that they already divide the men and women into two different categories, even though “this isn’t track and field,” and said awards shows lack any suitable reason to have gender specific categories.

    Rock also took on more serious tones, as when he mentioned that in the 1960s, no one protested or caused an uproar over the lack of racial diversity at the Academy Awards because black people were “too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematography.” He also said it’s really hard to care about best documentary short film “when your grandmother’s swinging from a tree.”

    Rock’s monologue premiered as the first of many #OscarsSoWhite references throughout the night, which included a satirical video featuring comedians such as Whoopi Goldberg, Leslie Jones and Rock himself being superimposed into select nominated films.

    The effort tried to demonstrate the difficulty African Americans face merely getting good roles in feature films.

    Later in the night, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also graced the stage to talk about racial diversity and the need for change.

    2. The effort to control time limits on acceptance speeches has finally crossed the border into straight-up ridiculous

    The academy now runs the names of the people that each winner(s) would like to thank at the bottom of the screen as they walk up to the stage. The winners still had the usual allotted time to thank whomever they would like themselves, as well in their speech — that is, however much they can say before that ever-so-subtle music begins to play.

    3. Character cameos were cool 

    Some fun cameos by beloved characters C-3PO, R2-D2, and BB-8 made a stylish, slightly confused entrance onto the stage to honor Star Wars composer John Williams, for his jaw-dropping 50th nomination.

    Minions (yes, the yellow ones from “Despicable Me”) presented the award for best animated short film, which went to Chile’s “Bear Story,” marking the first Academy Award win for the country.

    Saving the best for last, Woody and Buzz graced the stage to celebrate “Toy Story’s” 20th anniversary. They also presented the award for best animated feature film, which went to Disney Pixar’s “Inside Out.”

    4. Louis C.K. presented the award for best documentary short, and stole the show.

    C.K.’s presentation of the highly overlooked award was hilarious, and he reminded the audience with emphasis that documentary filmmakers “cannot make a dime” off their work. … So this Oscar means something, because all they do is tell stories that are important.”

    5. Girl Scout cookies 

    Rock brought out the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles to help his daughters sell Girl Scout cookies. Bringing back memories from when Ellen DeGeneres had pizza delivered to the Oscars a few years ago, awards attendees waved bills in the air and dug into the delicious cookies.

    6. Joe Biden showed up

    The vice president made a surprise appearance to talk about the problem of sexual abuse on college campuses, and urge viewers and attendees to pledge and change the culture by going to ItsOnUs.org. Biden then introduced “my friend and a courageous lady herself” Lady Gaga, who performed “Till It Happens To You,” nominated for best original song. Gaga delivered a heartfelt and emotional performance, as survivors of sexual abuse joined the singer onstage at the end, and defiantly raised their arms in solidarity to show their own labels written there in thick black print.

    Sam Smith and fellow nominee The Weeknd performed earlier at the ceremony, as well, and Smith won the award for best original song later with Jimmy Napes for “Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre.” In his acceptance speech, Smith dedicated his award to the LGBTQ community, saying he stands there “as a proud gay man.”

    7. “Mad Max: Fury Road” won big

    “Mad Max,” as expected, cleaned up. The Best Picture nominated film took home six total awards for the night, more than any other film.

    8. And Leo finally won big, too 

    Last, but not least, Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his first Oscar for best actor in a leading role. After five previous nominations and more than 20 years, DiCaprio finally stood up and accepted possibly the most long-awaited Academy Award in Hollywood. After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd, DiCaprio delivered a semi-standard acceptance speech, thanking everyone involved in the movie, as well as past directors he has worked with. At the end of his speech he took an interesting turn and gave a little PSA about climate change — actually, a pretty lengthy PSA about climate change, ending with a call to action to “stop procrastinating.”

    The academy didn’t even try to play him off however, even though he clearly went over his time limit. Some people get to talk about climate change for as long as they want, because they have waited 20 years to do it. You do you, Leo — just know that we never lost faith in you. We never let go, Jack.

    For a complete list of the Oscar winners, visit the Oscar’s website here.


    Follow Casey Aldava on Twitter


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