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Oscars 2016: 20 Best, Worst and WTF Moments

Chris Rock; OScars; Opening; 2016; Academy AwardsChris Rock Takes No Prisoners With Oscars 2016 Monologue »

Best: Chris Rock addresses #OscarsSoWhite head on
There was no way that Rock wouldn't talk about the controversy over the lack of diversity at this year's Academy Awards — and of course, the comedian didn't pull any punches. "Is Hollywood racist?" he asked. "You're damn right it's racist!" Over the course of his fantastic opening speech, he cracked plenty of extremely cutting jokes ("This year the 'In Memoriam' package is just going to be black people who were shot by the cops on the way to the movies!") while also pointing out some deeply uncomfortable truths about diversity at the awards show. (As to why the firestorm over the lack of black nominees is only happening this year: "Cause we had real things to protest at the time. They were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won Best Cinematographer." Damn!) "We want opportunities, " he said towards the end, pounding his fist for emphasis. Maybe now, the Academy will listen.

Worst: The anti-Will and Jada Smith sentiment
Even if Chris Rock wanted to be fair by ribbing each side, why relentlessly mock two people who decided to take a stand? First of all, Rock's joke likening Jada's boycott of the ceremony to Rihanna's underwear was so tasteless that it didn't even make sense, and it was in keeping with other clueless remarks about asking women what they're wearing, Asian children's math skills, etc. Did the diversity argument just not apply when the host of the evening didn't want it to? Second of all, taking more shots at Will Smith by honoring Jack Black in the “Black History Month Minute" segment was straight-up dumb. If Rock had run out of ways to tackle the topic, he should have changed the subject. There was altogether more talk about diversity than actual diversity — an overcorrection or a mea culpa that rang hollow after so many hours.

Stacy Dash; Academy Awards; 2016Best: Rock interviewed Compton theatergoers about Oscar 2016 nominees
The monologue wasn't the only place where Rock addressed the #OscarsSoWhite firestorm: In a pre-taped bit, the host went to a movie theater in Compton to chat with black moviegoers about some of this year's Oscar-nominated films. The bit served to underscore the fact that what the Academy cares about isn't necessarily what audiences care about; to wit, not one person had heard of Trumbo, but everyone had seen Straight Outta Compton (which garnered only one nomination, for Best Original Screenplay). Our favorite moment, though, happened when Rock asked a woman if she had seen Bridge of Spies, and her incredulous reaction. Him: "These are real movies!" Her: "Like, in London?"

Worst: Stacey Dash made the night's most awkward appearance
Dash was once best-known for playing Dionne in Clueless, but these days, her right-wing views have been garnering more headlines. She's criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, and recently said that BET and Black History Month shouldn't exist, because "it's a double standard, " in her own words. That, presumably, was the impetus for her appearance at the Oscars, where she wished the audience a "Happy Black History Month!" If it was meant to be a joke, it fell flat, but if not … well, we'll let Chrissy Teigen's face during that moment speak for us.

Stacey Dash onstage at the 2016 Academy Awards Mark Ralston/Getty

Star Wars; Driods; Academy Awards; 2016; OscarsBest: Ryan Gosling's delightful rapport with Russell Crowe
This unlikely pair got things off to a great start when they took to the podium to present the second award of the evening (partially as a way to promote their upcoming movie The Nice Guys, we're assuming). Given that the banter between later presenters wasn't nearly as witty or effortless, and that Crowe has proven himself unwilling/unable to take a joke, we're going to assume all credit goes to Gosling here. He mansplained, he agreed to disagree about facts he was very wrong about, and this absurd little sendup of smugness even made Crowe seem more charming. Is Gosling perfect? Nobody's perfect. But, yes, probably. Let there soon be more Oscars between them for real.

Worst: Sarah Silverman's baffling Bond routine
What exactly was the punch line here? Silverman chose to announce Sam Smith's performance of "Writing's On the Wall" from Spectre by saying she hadn't seen the movie. For a second, it looked like she was about to lay into Bond films, or at least the latest installment, which could have been awkward or rude or something. Instead, she rambled on about having sex with 007 and finding his manhood wanting. It checked the box in terms of going blue, but the Bond girl joke didn't go far enough, or have any real edge; it was never clear what the audience was supposed to find funny. Even Silverman didn't seem committed to it when she admitted she was saying "whatever comes into [her] mind."

Best: Jacob Tremblay loves the Star Wars droids
Tremblay, the nine-year-old star of the devastating drama Room, has cemented his status as one of the most adorable young stars in the lead-up to the Oscars. (He especially shines on Instagram, which is full of snaps of him with other stars, and sweet shout-outs to his Room co-star, Brie Larson.) So of course he was responsible for one of the night's cutest moments: When the Star Wars droids — C-3P0, R2-D2, and BB8 — rolled onto the stage to honor prolific composer John Williams, Tremblay all but lept out of his chair to catch a glimpse of the trio. Say it with us: Awwww.

Kevin Winter/Getty

Worst: The animated presenters
Admittedly the droids were a tough act to follow, but if you're going to ask animated characters to present, then there are two who should definitely should have made the cut: Inside Out's Joy and Sadness — and maybe Bing Bong. Inside Out didn't really get the love it deserved with such formidable contenders in the Best Picture category, but nobody would have balked at getting more of these characters, especially from a movie that doesn't have built-in sequel potential. This might have been our last chance. Seriously, minions? At close to two hours into the ceremony, when even the most determined eight-year-old would have surely dozed off, the Academy made the wrong choice.

Best: The thank-you note ticker
For some, winning an Oscar is a once-in-a-lifetime experience — and yet those people had to hustle through their big moment last night, assisted by a ticker that preemptively acknowledged a complete list of thankable associates in the event the orchestra cut anyone off. Is it fair that Leonardo DiCaprio didn't have one of these and the directors of the short Stutterer did? Of course not: There are winners, and there are Winners. But we are so grateful — we only have bandwidth for so many names of people we don't know and kids watching at home who should be asleep. The ticker, while not entirely democratic, kept what felt like a brisk pace, and one everybody could feel okay about since the telecast still acknowledged the appreciated friends, families, coworkers, and preferred deities of the winners.

Lady Gaga; Oscars; Academy Awards; 2016 Joe Biden; Academy Awards Best Documentary; Amy; Academy Awards; 2016 Oscars; Winner List; Academy Awards 2016; Leonardo DiCaprio
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