oscars 2024

The Best Moments of the 2024 Oscars

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

Happy Oscars Sunday! This is Christmas for AMC A-listers, Regal Crown Club cardholders, and people who claim that the food at Alamo Drafthouse is “not that bad.” It’s our special night to gather around the TV, scold our loved ones for talking during acceptance speeches, and explain to everyone why Anatomy of a Fall wasn’t nominated for Best International Film even if they didn’t ask (the answer is politics, by the way).

This is true most years, but this ceremony feels particularly star studded. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling are there to rep Barbie; Robert Downey Jr. is there for Oppenheimer and picked up his first Oscar; someone even managed to talk Zendaya into showing up, even though Dune: Part Two missed the 2024 Oscars consideration deadline. Jimmy Kimmel returned to host for the fourth time and — would you believe it? — he thought Killers of the Flower Moon was too long. In a more touching moment, he brought out the crew and took a moment to show solidarity with all of the below-the-line unions that keep this industry running.

Here are our favorite (and most surprising) moments from the Oscars:

An early start!

Who doesn’t want to go to bed a little earlier? A 7 p.m. start time is a great idea for a show that consistently runs for three-and-a-half hours. Unfortunately for the producers, things actually got started around 7:05, leaving those of us at home to watch commercials and wonder if something was wrong with our streams. While yet to be officially confirmed, it seems that the delay might have had something to do with protestors calling for a cease-fire in Gaza as they blocked the entrance for some of the ceremony’s biggest stars.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph takes her victory lap

The Holdovers actress had been the lock for months, but that didn’t make her win for Best Supporting Actress any less exciting. Escorted up to the stage by co-star Paul Giamatti, Randolph was in tears before she even started talking.

“For so long, I’ve always wanted to be different, and now I realize I just have to be myself,” Randolph said. It’s always nice to kick off the show with a teary moment.

Messi made it in

Earlier this week, there was a report that Anatomy of a Fall’s canine star Messi wasn’t going to be attending the Oscars. Thankfully, someone came to their senses, and Messi had a prime seat for the opening monologue. He was one of the best dressed of the evening, wearing an oversize bow tie that was both stately and playful.

Writers gave great speeches

Speaking of Anatomy of a Fall, Justine Triet and Arthur Harari took home the award for Best Original Screenplay, and they even played that steel-drum cover of “P.I.M.P.” as their walk-up music! Triet — wearing what looked like an homage to Nicole Kidman’s AMC-ad pantsuit — said that the award would “help me through my midlife crisis.”

Cord Jefferson won in Best Adapted Screenplay for American Fiction, which counts as a win for bloggers everywhere. In his speech, the former Watchmen writer used his time to implore Hollywood to bring back the mid-budget movie. “Instead of making one $200 million movie, try making 20 $10 million movies, or 50 $4 million movies,” Jefferson said, to rapturous applause from the audience. We have to agree.

We could really see John Cena

Blessedly, this has not been a very bit-heavy show. However, we did get a good one when Jimmy Kimmel told the crowd that 50 years ago a streaker ran across the Oscars stage. Cut to John Cena, nude behind a piece of scenery, too nervous to streak. He waddled out anyway, with the envelope in front of his crotch. It could have been a great ad for Birkenstocks.

Jonathan Glazer acknowledged the crisis in Gaza

In his acceptance speech for Best International Film for The Zone of Interest, Jonathan Glazer took the time to make explicit the connection between his film and the present day. “All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present. Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst,” Glazer said. “Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation that has lead to conflict for so many innocent people, whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack in Gaza.”

Robert Downey Jr. won his career Oscar

Whether or not you think he was actually the best-supporting actor in Oppenheimer (Matt Damon, robbed!), this was inevitable. Much like Da’Vine Joy Randolph, RDJ has been steamrolling through this awards season. More than anything, his peers are acknowledging both a career full of good work and him breaking out of the chrome cage Marvel has kept him in for the past 15 years.

Ryan Gosling brought down the house

Those of us who believe that “I’m Just Ken” should have taken home the Oscar were vindicated by Ryan Gosling’s performance of the Barbie banger. In homage to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Gosling took on the Marilyn Monroe role — dressed in a hot-pink suit and flanked by an army of strapping young dancers. Fellow Kens Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Scott Evans joined Gosling onstage, as did Mark Ronson and … Slash? From Guns N’ Roses? Why not!

But we still celebrate Billie and Finneas

At 22 and 26, respectively, Billie Eilish and Finneas are the first people to ever win two Oscars before 30. The only person allowed to be upset about that is Diane Warren, who lost for the 15th time. Although, I don’t know that the song from the Hot Cheetos movie was going to be the one that finally got her to the finish line.

Oppenheimer went Return of the King mode

Christopher Nolan’s massive biopic was the star of the evening, cleaning up with wins in Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Score, Best Director, and Best Picture. While you might think that Greta Gerwig was snubbed of a nom for directing, you have to admit that it was nice to see Nolan win his first-ever statue. And, of course, we love to see an Irish guy winning.

This story has been updated.

The Best Moments of the 2024 Oscars